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Just as with any other door, the everyday purpose of a fire door is to separate areas; however, if a fire breaks out, these doors protect the lives of those inside and offer protection to the other sections of the structure. All public and some domestic structures in the U.K. are required to have fire closures.
A fire door is used as part of a building’s passive fire protection system. They slow the spread of smoke and fire between the rooms or the compartments of a structure. The ability to limit the spread of fire and smoke reduces the amount of damage a structure sustains. The additional time these fire-resistant closures allow increases the possibility that automatic or manual firefighting can begin while the fire is still contained within a particular area. Furthermore, by slowing fire propagation, that inside may find a safe escape route and, if the fire is extinguished before it has the opportunity to spread, the contents in the areas left untouched by fire and smoke will remain unharmed.
While some fire closures remain open under normal circumstances, the majority of them are designed to stay closed. Should a fire break out, those that do remain open typically close automatically: This automatic closure occurs when the electromagnet that holds it open is triggered by a fire alarm, once triggered, the coil de-energises, causing the door to close.
Domestic structures that are required to have fire-resistant closures include certain flats (determined by the layout), any dwelling with a second-floor room that is habitable (i.e., houses that have loft conversions) and any door leading to a garage that is connected to a dwelling.
Whether for a dwelling or business, several factors must be taken into consideration when choosing the correct fire door to meet the government's minimum requirements, these factors include the:
For example, in a flat where not all of the habitable rooms have direct access to an entrance hall, a 30-minute fire-resisting construction is required between the living area and the bedrooms. Whether or not the structure has sprinklers also affects the minimum fire-door rating required. To learn more about the regulation set forth by the HM Government, please click here.