How often should fire doors be inspected?

What is a fire door?

Fire doors are a vital element of a building’s passive fire protection system and fire safety strategy. Fire resisting doors delay the spread of fire from one area to another, thus providing occupants with additional time to escape in the event of a fire. They act as a barrier for fire and smoke and create safe exit routes for those in the building. Fire doors, along with fire resistant compartmentation, can also protect high-risk or high-value parts of a building by slowing down the spread of fire to these areas. A fire door should never be left in the open position or held open with a door stop or any other object that may reduce its effectiveness.

It is absolutely essential that the maintenance of fire doors is carried out on a regular basis as incorrect maintenance can lead to poor performance or extensive losses in the event of a fire. Fire door inspections need to be carried out regularly to ensure that fire doorsets are functioning correctly. Ineffective fire doors endanger lives and property and are in breach of fire safety laws. The responsible person should ensure that a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment has been undertaken and this will typically involve a review of the condition of existing fire doorsets. Regular fire door inspections will notify the responsible person of any obvious signs of damage to the door frame or door assemblies, missing features such as intumescent seals, or incorrectly fitted doors.

What is a fire door inspection survey?

A fire door inspection survey will check your fire doors are compliant with the law. Article 17 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 makes it a legal requirement to ensure that fire resisting doors are correctly installed and adequately maintained so they are fit for purpose. It states that the responsible person for non-domestic buildings must ensure fire doors and frames are correctly installed so they can effectively prevent the spread of fire. The integrity of a fire door is also affected by its hardware (e.g. hinges, self-closing device, handles/locks) so regular maintenance of these elements is crucial. According to the BWF-CERTFIRE Best Practice Guide, as a building owner or responsible person you should check your fire door once every 6 months. 

A comprehensive fire door inspection looks at all elements of the door system, including an inspection of the vision panels, glazing, cold smoke seals, gaps between the leaf and frame (including the threshold for suitability), the condition, fitting, and operation of the hinges and hardware, and checking for relevant markings, for example from the British Woodworking Federation to identify the fire rating of the doorset. This check must be carried out by a certified fire door specialist who can advise on appropriate action if the fire doorset is not compliant with fire safety laws.

How to obtain a fire door inspection

The FPA’s fire door inspectors conduct comprehensive, non-destructive fire door surveys and deliver detailed reports on the condition of the entire doorset. The report will outline their existing condition and adequacy of the fire doorsets, and where necessary, recommend improvements that should be undertaken in order to make your buildings compliant with statutory requirements and best practice guidance, or to meet a specific business resilience objective.

Find out more about the FPA’s Fire Door Inspection Surveys. If have you have any questions, please email or call 01608 812 500.

Please be aware that considerable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained within this article at the time of publication, however any legislative (or other) changes that come into effect after this may render the information out of date until it is reviewed and updated as part of the FPA’s content review cycle.