The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Facilities Management Personnel – Structural Fire Protection – Part 159

July 18, 2022 9:38 am

Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF) is a specialist fire engineering and fire risk management consultancy whose aim is to give information on best practice in fire safety for facilities management personnel through this blog series. In part 158, LWF discussed the self-closing mechanisms of fire resisting doors. In part 159, we continue to discuss self-closing mechanisms of fire doors.

Release mechanisms on fire doors should be checked on a weekly basis, along with ensuring that the door continues to operate correctly, and fits well into the frame. This helps to avoid situations where a slight warping of the door has taken place over time and it is not noticed until the door fails to close properly. If a problem with the fire door was ignored or not noticed, it would mean it was unable to work effectively in a fire situation and may lead to fire and smoke spread in the means of escape route.

Most enforcing authorities recommend that fire doors are closed at night, whether or not the building contains sleeping occupants. Exceptions to this rule are possible where the closing of the doors might severely impact the health and wellbeing of the building occupants, but in all cases, the automatic fire alarm system and its connection to the self-closing doors must be checked on a regular basis to ensure they will work as intended in a fire situation.

Given the importance of fire-resisting doors to a building’s fire protection provision, the utmost care should be taken in the specification and fitting of hardware for fire-resisting doors. If any element was inappropriate or incorrectly fitted, it could compromise the effectiveness of fire resistance. Inappropriate ironmongery, for instance, could result in a melting point of the metal which is disastrously low. For this reason, steel hinges are recommended. Aluminium hinges and some types of brass hinge are unsuitable. The minimum temperature for the ironmongery on a fire-resisting door should be at least 800 ºC.

All fire-resisting doors should be fitted with at least three hinges, unless definitive test evidence is available indicating that a single pair of hinges are sufficient to support the door in a fire situation.

Incorrect fitting of ironmongery, locks and self-closing devices can result in a compromised door. If sufficient wood is removed during fitting to reduce fire resistance, this can mean the door is unsuitable for the purpose it was intended. Over-mortising is one way in which a door may be ruined, as the thickness of timber that remains may be inadequate.

BS 8214 contains useful guidance on maintaining the fire-resistance of timber fire-resisting doorsets.

In part 160 of this series, LWF will continue to discuss fire doors and look at what checks should be made on a regular basis. In the meantime, if you have any queries about your own facilities or wish to discuss this blog series, please contact LWF on freephone 0800 410 1130.


Lawrence Webster Forrest is a fire engineering consultancy based in Surrey with over 25 years’ experience, which provides a wide range of consultancy services to professionals involved in the design, development and construction and operation of buildings.


While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF’s publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.

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