Unmaintained manual doors can stick, become noisy, slam shut, operate too slowly or fail to close fully. If this happens to an ordinary door, it is unsafe or at best annoying, on a fire door it is potentially deadly.
Door closers are fitted to doors not just for fire safety reasons but also for reasons such as privacy, noise reduction and security. They require regular checks to ensure they are closing correctly in order to meet Fire Safety legislation requirements whilst also providing ease of access for all building users.
Accessibility & Manual Doors
The Equality Act places a duty of care upon service providers to remove the physical barriers that prevent people from accessing a service. The specific performance of door closers in meeting this requirement is detailed within the Building Regulations which state that: “…a doorset must have an opening force of below 30N between 0º and 30º degrees and below 22.5N between 30º and 60º degrees…”.
Not all door closers available in the market can help doorsets meet the criteria; DORMA door closers carry third party test evidence to demonstrate their ability to produce low opening forces and help doorsets meet the requirements of BS8300 and the building regulations.Without regular maintenance of all door fittings the resistances to opening and closing can increase to an extent that the ability of people to pass through the door may be affected. The opening force should therefore be checked at regular intervals.
Internal fire doors are an integral part of the fire resistance of the building. They are subject to wear and tear through constant opening and closing and may deteriorate faster than other fire resisting elements of the building if not maintained.
Periodic inspection should be carried out by the responsible person (owner or building occupier) to check the integrity of doors, their seals and ironmongery.
The scope and frequency of this check is dependant on several factors such as the type and frequency of use and the operating conditions of the products involved.
Lack of maintenance, abuse and high frequency of use may degrade the door and can have serious implications on door performance. To prevent this manual fire doors should be examined every 6 months in accordance with BS8214 “Code of practice for fire door assemblies” with particular attention being paid to panic and emergency exit bars, hinges and pivots and door closers.
As well as legislation for maintaining fire doors each aspect of the fire door and its ironmongery is controlled by its own relevant British Standard. For instance, BS EN1154 “Controlled door closing devices” states that door closers with a power size of at least EN3 must be fitted to fire doors in order that it can properly close the fire/ smoke door from any angle, overcoming the resistance of any seals and latches fitted. Closer power size also needs to increase as the door width increases (outlined in BS EN 1154).
Under BS EN1125 and BS EN179, Emergency exit hardware, panic bars, push pads, latches and bolts require inspection at least once a month by the occupier, and servicing at 6 monthly intervals by a qualified engineer to ensure they operate reliably in the event of an emergency, and keep the building secure day-to-day.
In addition to your legal obligations for maintaining fire doors, Fire doors are also subject to the maximum permissible manual door opening forces under the Equality Act legislation and associated building regulations, such as BS8300 and Approved Document M, and should be have their opening forces regularly checked to ensure they comply. This ensures that the opening force of the fire door remains low enough for people with disabilities to have independent access. The Building Regulations which state that: “…a doorset must have an opening force of below 30N between 0º and 30º degrees and below 22.5N between 30º and 60º degrees…”.If the opening force exceeds this due to the type of door leaf, or the forces required to keep it shut, then an electronic hold-open or free swing solution should be used, or an automatic door should be considered. To ensure that the opening force of manual doors remains below this legal limit, the door should be checked at regular intervals to ensure correct adjustment of the door closer at both angles of opening. The opening force is checked using a Newton meter, plunger-type measuring device.
Fire Safety Order 2005
With the introduction of the FSO, the Fire Certificate was abolished, leaving the risk assessment and proof of compliance in the hands of the building owner or other reasonable person. Instead of inspecting premises and issuing certificates, the Fire Service now performs spot checks to ensure compliance with the regulations.Failure to comply could result in a fine or imprisonment (or both) and would invalidate any building insurance. The risk assessment includes checking all fire doors and emergency exit doors to see if they meet the requirements of the new FSO. Further details are available at www.communities.gov.uk/fire. DORMA can assist you in carrying out the risk assessment.