The Crucial Role of Fire Door Inspections in Building Safety

26 February 2024

In the world of fire safety, fire doors are the unsung heroes: keeping people and properties safe. These unassuming barriers play a pivotal role in preventing the spread of flames, smoke and harmful gases during a fire incident. They also give first responders crucial extra time to save lives and stop fires. However, their effectiveness relies upon regular inspections. In this blog, we delve into the significance of fire door inspections and why they are indispensable for overall building safety.

What Do Fire Door Inspections Entail?

Fire door inspections involve a thorough examination of the whole of a door to ensure its optimal functionality and effectiveness in the event of a fire. Inspectors meticulously check various elements, including the door structure, hardware, seals, signage, and overall condition. The inspection process is designed to identify any issues that might compromise the door’s ability to contain the spread of fire and smoke. 

Why Are Fire Door Inspections Important?

To make sure that fire doors can continue to function, they need to be checked. In public-facing buildings like care homes, hospitals and schools, doors face a lot of wear and tear. So, to ensure they can keep protecting people and property, they might need to be repaired or replaced. After an inspection, the responsible person can assign jobs to contractors to make the necessary changes.

The core reason for maintaining any aspect of your fire protection arsenal is safety. Protecting building users and property is your focus as a fire safety professional, and fire doors provide that protection. However, there are other reasons to ensure you have regular inspections scheduled for your property. 

Meeting Fire Door Regulations

In the UK, the law states that inspections must ensure that any wear and tear a fire door has sustained doesn’t “affect the ability to resist the spread of fire or smoke”. For example, if a door had a split in the leaf or damage to its glazing or hardware.

Another part of a door that has to be checked is the gap around it, which can increase with wear and tear to the hinge, but in the event of a fire could let in smoke or harmful gases. Elements like signage and self-closing devices are also regulated by law. These standards both ensure doors can do their job and help building users protect themselves and others by closing them or finding them in an emergency. 

If these standards aren’t met, the fire doors can’t reach their full potential when mitigating the spread of fire. This can lead to injuries, a devastating loss of property and even a loss of lives. If those responsible are found to have not maintained the fire doors properly, they will likely face legal consequences.

Increasing the Lifespan of Fire Doors

Like with many things, regular checks on fire doors can avoid problems festering. For example, a small misalignment in a hinge is cheap and easy to fix when caught early. But when it is left to drop, it can become a more costly problem to fix later on. 

Fire door inspections aren’t just about passing or failing. They give an insight into the state of the door with actions on how to improve it so it doesn’t fail its next one. In 2019 it was found that 76% of fire doors failed their inspections. Some of those doors would have had severe damage, but most would have failed over small issues that festered over time. Regular inspections not only ensure long-term cost-effectiveness but also guarantee that the building consistently maintains reliable fire protection.

Record Keeping

After fire safety disasters, such as the Grenfell Tower fire, we remember the importance of maintaining clear and comprehensive record-keeping. One area where this is vital is fire doors. As fire safety professionals, you know the importance of maintaining a ‘golden thread’ of information, showing the lifespan of your fire safety measures. Regularly conducting fire door inspections and proper documentation provides a comprehensive understanding of a door’s lifespan from installation to obsolescence. This is also why it’s important to embrace modern digital systems for inspections and use trusted fire door inspectors.

In conclusion, fire doors are a key part of any building’s fire safety arsenal. They mitigate the spread of fires and keep smoke and harmful gases away from building users. They also give first responders extra time to save lives. So, it’s important to have them regularly inspected so they can continue to work effectively. There are also laws to regulate the wear and tear fire doors can sustain whilst still being fit for purpose. 

At Total Fire Group, we have over 20 years of experience in the fire safety industry. Our risk-based approach to fire door assessments means you can extend the life of your fire doors without compromising on safety. 

We also use our very own fire door inspection software to complete checks and manage the output. Developed by our team with efficiency and usability in mind, it is a revolutionary tool in the fire safety sector. To learn more about our services and software, contact us today.

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