Research reveals confusion over fire door laws

A fire-rated door set manufactured by West Port, built using Rapierstar fasteners
A fire rated door set manufactured by West Port, built using Rapierstar fasteners

30% of people responsible for fire door safety do not fully understand their responsibilities under the Building Safety Act, new research has revealed. The survey of 1,000 people with responsibility for fire door specification, installation and maintenance across the UK was commissioned by the British Woodworking Federation (BWF)’s Fire Door Alliance and published in July.

The survey also found that 8% were unaware how new laws will affect how fire doors are specified. Four in five respondents reported that end clients do not require third-party-certified fire doors to be specified. More positively though, 55% reported specifying or using third-party-certified fire doors, and a similar proportion said they would now ask for more information about product traceability and seek more proof of performance.

Helen Hewitt, chief executive of the BWF’s Fire Door Alliance, said: “Our findings clearly show that while the new legislation appears to have had a positive initial impact, there is still some work to be done in disseminating the detail and building an understanding of how compliance with the law can be met. This must be made an urgent priority for all those responsible for fire safety.”

The research was published as part of the BWF Fire Door Alliance’s ‘Be Certain, Be Certified‘ campaign. Helen added: “Third-party certification provides robust proof of performance and traceability of a fire door’s components, its manufacture and journey through the supply chain. Despite this, there is still no mandatory requirement under building regulations for the use of third-party-certified fire doors, despite the essential role that fire doors play in protecting building occupants from the spread of smoke and fire.

“Our latest report, which we’re proud to launch as part of our ‘Be Certain, Be Certified’ campaign, calls for those ultimately responsible for building fire safety to specify third-party certified fire doors as a requirement throughout all UK buildings. Not only will this raise the standard of fire door safety but crucially, it will help protect lives.”

The research highlighted major barriers to the adoption of third-party-certified fire doors. Over a third of respondents (35%) cited cost as the primary reason for not specifying or using third-party-certified fire doors. 33% reported a lack of end client demand.

The overwhelming majority of respondents (88%) agreed that the traceability of a complete fire door assembly is important. But less than a third (28%) were willing to specify third-party-certified fire doors to meet their obligations.