Fire protection is a crucial part of every commercial property’s health and safety setup, reducing the danger to people, possessions and structural elements that fire poses. Consequently, it comes as no surprise that fire safety is an area that is heavily regulated at workplaces across the country, in order to ensure best practice is carried out at all times.
Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, 2005
The main piece of legislation that governs fire safety on premises in the UK is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order. Introduced almost 10 years ago as a way to tie together the 70-or-so previous bits of disparate fire law that were then in existence, the reform details the responsibility of employers, business owners, building managers and other culpable persons in carrying out fire safety measures throughout the property.
This includes performing a thorough and detailed fire risk assessment, ensuring that all staff are fully trained in how they should act during a fire, and checking that all relevant fire safety equipment is installed and correctly maintained.
Fire Door Regulations
, as part of a building’s passive fire resistance, play an important role in the overall fire safety of any commercial property.
Designed to be fire resistant so as to stop smoke and flames from spreading from room to room during a blaze, fire doors also provide safe evacuation points for staff and visitors to exit through in an emergency.
The parts of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order that relate to fire doors apply to all existing commercial buildings, while new builds are subject to Building Regulations.
As with all fire safety equipment, fire doors fall under the remit of the fire risk assessment, and should be a major part of the safety plan for every property. The ‘responsible person’ charged with carrying out the assessment should check for damage to the door, its frame, the intumescent seal and that it closes automatically when opened.
Checks should also be carried out on the area surrounding the door: is it clear of obstruction? Is the gap between door and floor sufficient to allow it to swing closed?
No fire doors should be installed unless they meet fire rating standards.
For any new properties, or for significant alterations to existing properties, Building Regulations come into play.
All fire doors that are installed in a commercial property must meet product standard requirements set out by the local authorities, ensuring that it complies with the building code and fire code of that area. Generally, this means that every product should pass one of the accepted fire tests independently of the manufacturer, receiving certification to prove that it has been subjected to such inspections.
Information regarding the specific fire test, as well as which regulations are required for which type of commercial property, can be found in the government-issued Building Regulations Approved Document B.
It’s not just fire safety standards that these doors are expected to meet, however. Sound insulation, ventilation, safety glazing and accessibility are all considerations that have to be made.