Fire doors is a collective term used to describe different types of fire-resistant doors. It is important to know the function of each fire door type, in order to ensure the door performs effectively when required. Fire doors are robust and can withstand high volumes of traffic, therefore they are often installed in commercial property as a high-spec door and in areas where they are not necessarily required to be fire resistant. This leads to confusion in identifying necessary fire doors during a standard fire risk assessment. More often than not a partial or wholesale fire door upgrade or replacement is based on a blanket decision-making process (usually based on the number of fire doors within a building) and can be an extremely costly exercise for any business.
Whilst there is no argument that fire doors do make the difference between life and death as well as mitigating catastrophic building damage, we believe that an upgrade programme should be undertaken using a risk-based assessment. This assessment should take into consideration compensatory features, the design and complexity of the property, occupancy and usage (risk profile). The ultimate goal is to ensure your people and property are best protected, whilst saving you time and money.
During our fire door surveys, we assess the structure, suitability and operation of each fire door within a building. We can help identify whether the fire door is in place to maintain the escape routes (life safety) or forms part of the general compartmentation of the building (property protection and/or business continuity). Our assessments also take into consideration operational activity and any method(s) used to hold open self-closing fire doors.
Fire compartmentation refers to the subdivision of property into manageable areas of risk in order to prevent the spread of fire and smoke, and to provide adequate means of escape.
Ensuring appropriate fire compartmentation throughout the property is the most effective, but often least considered option in protecting means of escape and occupants. Correctly managed compartmentation prevents the rapid spread of fire and limits the damage caused to the building and contents.
We recommend a compartmentation survey be carried out if the property has been reconfigured during refurbishment, if replacement or new services have been installed, or if significant contractual work has been undertaken. A survey can demonstrate that the above changes have not compromised the fire resistance of the building.
Bennett Associates was an integral part of the property project team. They worked alongside our architects and assisted in liaising with the Approved Building Inspector.