Fire doors are an essential fire safety measure. If they are kept in good working order, fire doors stop the spread of fire and smoke, while giving people enough time to evacuate the building. They also allow emergency services to get in.
Every non-domestic property and any property that has more than two domestic dwellings or is over five storeys must be fitted with fire doors. If you are a business owner, a landlord or a property manager, then you have a legal duty to regularly inspect all fire doors in your buildings. To help you stay safe and meet your legal obligations, we’ve put together a quick and easy fire door inspection checklist.
Why You Need to Inspect and Maintain Your Fire Doors
Fire doors can be invaluable if a fire breaks out in a building. The dense smoke and intense heat produced by a fire can cause confusion and panic, even amongst well-trained staff. Fire doors give people valuable time to act – saving lives and preventing damage.
However, if fire doors are damaged or not functioning correctly, they will fail to provide any protection in a fire.
Whether it’s a business premises or a multi-occupied domestic building, if you’re responsible for a building then by law you must conduct regular fire door surveys. Article 17 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 stipulates that all fire doors must be periodically inspected and tested, and maintenance carried out if necessary.
Quarterly checks of fire doors are also mandated by the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022. While not as involved as an actual fire door inspection, if you are a landlord or property manager you need to be aware of this obligation.
Failure to comply with fire safety regulations can have devastating consequences. As well as the risk to human life, breaches of health and safety laws can also result in unlimited fines or a prison sentence of up to two years.
What is a Fire Door Inspection Survey?
Any alteration to the shape of a fire door, its mechanisms, or the area around it can stop the door from performing as it should. In an emergency, this can be fatal. Fire door surveys or inspections, are designed to ensure that all the aspects of a fire door are functioning correctly.
Who Can Conduct Fire Door Inspections?
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that a ‘responsible person’ has the legal duty to ensure that a building is safe from the risk of fire. This obligation includes the requirement to perform regular fire door surveys.
A ‘responsible person’ is defined as either an employer, a landlord, a property manager, or another person who has ‘some degree of control over the premises.’
While fire door inspections can be carried out by a ‘responsible person’, it is also possible to use the services of professional fire door inspectors who have the knowledge, skills and experience to carry out fire door inspections.
Professional fire door inspectors can ensure that your fire doors are in good working order and that your premises are fully compliant with all relevant health and safety legislation.
How Often Do You Have to Inspect Fire Doors?
Fire doors in non-domestic premises should be inspected at least once every six months, according to the BWF-CERTIFIRE Best Practice Guide. However, fire safety experts recommend that fire door surveys should be done every quarter in newly occupied buildings. For buildings where the fire doors are constantly in use, it’s recommended that weekly fire door surveys are conducted.
Also worth noting is that as of January 2023, all fire doors in buildings with more than five stories or two domestic dwellings must be checked once every three months. This is mandated by the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 which were brought in to amend the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. This amendment was introduced as a response to the Grenfell Tower fire of 2017 and moves the responsibility for fire safety from the authorities to the person who has daily control over a multi-storey dwelling.
Accounting for Design Variance
It’s important that anyone inspecting a fire door is aware of how they vary. Fire doors vary by classification, type, design and components. This allows them to ensure that they suit the fire protection needs of the building, are suitably accessible and fulfil aesthetic requirements.
Classifications: Fire doors are classified based on the length of time they are able to withstand in a fire. Classifications you may see on a fire door may include FD30, FD60, FD90 and FD120 – the number corresponds to the number of minutes that type of fire door was able to withstand under test conditions.
Fire doors also may be designed to withstand smoke. This means that they have special seals around a door to keep smoke out. A door with a smoke seal will have an “S” after its rating – for instance “FD60S”
Types: Fire doors can be made from a variety of materials. Timber fire doors are very common in commercial and residential properties. But there are also steel fire doors which can often be found in industrial environments, as well as composite doors made of materials like glass and aluminium.
Designs: Fire doors can be double doors or single. They can also swing inwards or outwards.
Components: Fire doors can also come with a range of components, such as glazing (glass), post mail slots, air grille vents and eye hole viewers.
Design variance of fire doors makes each one unique and uniquely designed for where it is located in a building. While the principles of inspection are largely the same for every door, keep in mind that the specifications – requirements for that door – are going to be different. So, you must be aware of what these are to do the job suitably.
A Fast and Easy Fire Door Inspection Checklist
Fire Door Inspection Checklist
|Certification||• Label affixed to the top of door or along the hinged edge indicating the fire door certification and manufacturer|
|Door Closer||• Fire door is not stuck closed or wedged open
• Door closer smoothly closes the door automatically within 6 seconds
• Door closer is properly installed and that there is no leaking fluid or loose components
|Hinges||• Minimum of 3 hinges for a wood fire door/4 hinges for a steel fire door
• Hinges are suitable quality and condition
• All screws should be firmly in place
• No signs of wear, or oil stains
|Latches||• Latches keep the door firmly shut without any movement or rattling|
|Frame||• Fire door and frame are intact, secure, and fit together tightly
• No noticeable damage or breaches
|Gaps||• Gaps around top and edges between door and frame are no greater than 3-4mm
• Gaps at the threshold are no greater than 10mm for a regular door/3mm for a smoke seal door
|Glazing||• Any glass and beading have no cracks or damage
• Seals firmly attached to the beading
|Seals||• If seals visible, they are uniform and undamaged (intumescent seals, smoke seals, acoustic seals)|
|Signage||• Signage such as an ‘automatic fire door’ sign or a ‘fire door - keep shut’ sign is visible
• Signage and labels firmly affixed to the door
How Fire Door Inspection Training Can Help You
Approximately 75 % of fire doors in the UK would not pass an inspection by a professional fire door inspector, according to recent data from the Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FDIS).
Completing a fire door inspection training course will give you the knowledge to ensure that your fire doors are safe and up to the required legal standard. Since an employer or a landlord cannot always be physically present, providing your staff with fire door inspection training will make certain there is a competent person who can perform a survey on your behalf.
You can sign up for our Fire Door Inspection training course and receive a free digital fire door inspection checklist. The e-checklist can be used for future inspections and provide a record for compliance as well as a report regarding any maintenance issues that need to be carried out afterwards.
Learn what you need to know to keep your property safe and comply with the law.
Where to Find Fire Door Safety Training
We provide online Fire Door Inspection training that gives supervisors and managers the skills to conduct inspections according to the RRO. Trainees will learn what is the purpose of a fire door, how to check a fire door for faults, and when to arrange fire door maintenance.
The course runs for approximately three hours and can be taken in segments to fit around work schedules. Successful participants will receive a downloadable certificate assured by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).
Our Fire Door Inspection training course includes a free fire door inspection e-Checklist that can be used for future fire door inspections, as a record of compliance and a record of any maintenance requirements. Sign up today and make sure your business stays fire safe.