DOORS & COMMERCIAL ENTRANCES
When is a re door
not a re door?
Michele Wietscher, MD at West Sussex installer, Newview, discusses re doors, and what
can be done to ensure excellence and inspire condence in the post-Grenfell landscape.
www.ggpmag.com January 2019
At the time of writing, fire
door manufacturers are still
under massive scrutiny,
and councils are shelling
out millions to replace installed
products that have been shown to
dangerously underperform during
As a sector, we’ve got a lot of work
to do to restore confidence – and in
my view, the best way to start is to
go right back to basics.
A fire door is a highly specialised
product designed to save lives. It’s
not built like an ordinary door, and
it’s not installed like an ordinary
If it’s not installed correctly – like
thousands of fire doors across the
UK – it won’t offer anywhere near
the level of performance it’s been
designed to provide.
A badly-fitted FD30 door might
only offer ten minutes of reliable
fire protection – which, in many
cases, could mean the difference
between life and death. And that’s
why attention to detail during the
installation is critically important.
First, start with the door itself. Is
it certified? Look for a label or plug
which should have all the details. If
you can’t find any evidence that it’s
certified, don’t install it.
Check the frame. Find its
specification and make sure it’s
designed to offer the same level of
fire protection that the door is.
Check the ironmongery – locks,
hinges and handles all have to be
certified. Be on the lookout for CE
markings too. They ensure every
component can be traced.
Ensure the closer is designed
to handle the weight of a fire
door – they’re much heavier than
conventional door products. Check
it’s CE marked, and that it shuts the
Another crucial consideration
– make sure you’re using the
correct intumescent seals. Some
specifications demand seals that
hold back fire, others fire and smoke.
Ensure the grooves are the right size
to accommodate them.
Inspect the voids between the
door and the frame. They have to be
packed with suitable fire-resistant
material like glass wool, rock wool
or mineral wool.
And once you’ve hung the door in
the frame, there are other key things
to keep a lookout for.
When the door is closed, the gaps
between it and the frame can be
no more than 3-4mm in size – any
more, and it’s liable to let smoke
through. You can use a pound coin
as a rough guide, but it’s much better
to source a more precise measuring
Check the bottom of the door,
too. If you can see light coming
through from the other side, refer to
the door’s documentation, and make
sure its maximum clearance hasn’t
If you find any issues with the
door you were planning to install,
it’s vitally important you don’t try
and make any alterations on-site. In
doing so, you’re potentially voiding
whatever rating the door has been
given and rendering it unusable.
They’re simple steps. All in all,
they shouldn’t add more than a few
minutes to each install you carry
out. But if more installers followed
them, the impact would be huge. A
tiny investment of time and effort
has the potential to save lives and
make millions of homes across the
UK much safer places to be.
“A badly-tted FD30 door might only
oer ten minutes of reliable re protection
– which, in many cases, could mean the
dierence between life and death”