Friday 29 September 2017

Best Practice when Specifying Fire Doors

As we pass the halfway point during this year’s Fire Door Safety Week, Alison Aston, Category Manager at ASSA ABLOY Security Solutions, outlines a number of essential guidelines to follow when specifying fire doors and associated hardware.

Writing tender documents
As early on as the tender process, mistakes and misunderstandings can occur, sometimes resulting in specifications being broken. We recommend ensuring any tender documents feature the following details as a baseline for fire safety:

  • BWF-Certifire approval should feature on all doors, frames, and other components, as well as associated ironmongery where possible
  • Any compatible fire doors, frames, ironmongery and other components must be CE marked and tested for fire performance where applicable
  • All doorset components must be compatible and included on the fire certificate
  • All fire doors and related products must be installed following installation instructions and fire certification

Prove it
Making sure all stated products are fit for intended use is another major hurdle when specifying fire doors and hardware. Though some organisations may claim their doors, frames and ironmongery are certified for use as fire protection products, this is not always the case.

When sourcing products for specification, always check the method of certification. Major insurance companies will usually insist that any fire protection products be accredited by an independent third party.

Indeed, the RISCAuthority specifically mentions this in its paper, BDM1-Fire Protection of Buildings. It states: “As a minimum, all fire protection products shall be third party certified to an appropriate product – or performance-based standard.” Asking about this before purchase could help avoid potentially difficult situations that might arise in a fire’s aftermath.

Don’t allow modifications 
A certified door is accredited to perform ‘as delivered’. Modifying the door puts this status at risk and is highly discouraged, especially on-site.

Consequently, no customisation should be made to the fire door, including glazing or cutting in apertures. These are specialist processes and should be carried out by trained professionals. Circumventing this for the sake of convenience will invalidate any certification.

If any modifications or apertures are required, they must be specified during the order, carried out by a BWF Certifire-licensed door processor and carry the scheme label.

Choosing intumescent and smoke seals
There is a huge choice of intumescent seals for fire doors based on size, material type, resistance level and even colour. You can also specify them to be supplied as one seal or as separate items for placing in the door edge or within the frame.

It is absolutely vital these seals are correctly fire rated and compatible with the door and frame, otherwise there is a risk of compartmentalisation failure. Seal failure will allow cold smoke and flames to break through, putting the building’s occupants at risk.

Choosing hardware
As well as CE marking, Certifire approval of locks, hinges, closers and PED can give specifiers, installers and users additional peace of mind.

The Certifire certificate details for which fire doors the hardware has been approved. Surface items such as cylinders, handles and signage cannot be CE Marked or Certifire approved.

For further information on essential guidelines to follow when specifying fire doors and associated hardware, the British Woodworking Federation’s Best Practice Guide is invaluable. Please visit

For more information on ASSA ABLOY UK, please visit

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