It’s all in the installation

Published:  26 September, 2017

A video comparing the performance of two fire-rated doors – with one crucial difference.

The video compares two almost-identical fire doors with the same fire rating. However, while one door has been correctly installed  the other has a series of faults that are frequently encountered.

The fire door test, which has been released by the BWF-Certifire Scheme as part of Fire Door Safety Week 2017, replicates the seven most common defects spotted in social housing flats and apartments. It shows just how quickly those doors will fail if incorrectly specified and installed.

The two doors have fire rating FD30, meaning they should provide at least 30 minutes of protection. This is the most common integrity rating for UK fire doors.

The incorrectly installed door has the following common faults:

  • The door is secured with only two, non-fire rated, standard hinges (For a standard height fire door, a minimum of three hinges should be installed to prevent the door from warping in a fire.)
  • There are excessive gaps between the side of the door and the frame. (The gaps around the door should be less than 4mm once the door is shut.)
  • Intumescent and smoke seals are missing. (These are vital to the fire door’s performance as they fill the gap between the door and frame when the door is closed.)
  • The door has a non-fire rated letter plate. (Letter plates must be suitable for use on the specific fire door and detailed on the fire door certificate as a compatible component. Letter plates must also be fitted in the correct location within the fire door leaf and fitted with the correct intumescent protection and fixings.)
  • The air transfer grille does not have an intumescent block fitted inside.
  • Intumescent edge protection is missing around the glazing bead.
  • A non-fire rated panel was installed above the door. 

The video shows the incorrectly specified fire door failing long before the 30 minutes it should last, highlighting the importance of correct fire door installation and maintenance. Without the protection of intumescent interlayer and intumescent seals, the faulty door allows smoke to pour through the gaps after just four and a half minutes.

Hannah Mansell, BWF technical manager and spokesperson for Fire Door Safety Week, commented: “Fire doors are in almost every building where we work, live and sleep and they are often never given a second thought. But they must be specified, fitted and maintained correctly with compatible components that have been third-party certificated. This is the only way to ensure that the fire door performs to its intended fire rating. Every tiny detail and every split-second counts.”

This year’s Fire Door Safety Week campaign is raising awareness of the critical role of third-party certificated fire doors in high-rise buildings, houses of multiple occupancy and other types of shared accommodation. To find out more visit:

All BWF-Certifire members offer third-party certificated fire doors and components that have been rigorously assessed and audited. Through the scheme approximately 2.5 million fire doors are tested and certified each year.

  • Operation Florian

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