Why do fire doors need regular maintenance?
Maintenance of fire doors is particularly important to ensure regulatory compliance and to ensure their ability to protect life and property effectively in the case of a fire. Issues such as out of square frame installations, building movement over time and variance in floor levels and finishes can all lead to the need for fire door maintenance and/or repairs.
How do fire doors work?
Fire doors form part of a passive fire protection system to reduce the spread of fire between separate compartments or areas of a building. They provide safe access to adjoining spaces while maintaining a critical fire separation barrier. By slowing down the spread of fire from one area of a building to another, this allows occupants time to evacuate and provides access to fire services who have a greater chance of saving the property from the devastating consequences of a raging fire.
Fire doors must be properly installed and regularly maintained to reduce the risk of failure. They must be kept closed, be self-closing and latching, openable from the egress side of a building, any gaps must be within tolerances and all components (including closers, handles, vision panels, locks and air grills) must be functioning correctly with correct signage displayed.
What is the Australian standard for fire doors?
The Australian standard for fire doors is AS1905.1:2015 and 1:2016, titled ‘Components for the protection of openings in fire-resistant walls – Part 1: Fire-resistant doorsets’; as referenced by The Building Code of Australia. This standard sets out the requirements for the manufacture as well as the installation of fire-resistant doorsets that are used to protect openings in walls, stairwells, paths of egress or apartments etc that are required to resist the passage of fire.
In regard to maintenance, AS1851-2012 covers ‘Routine service of fire protection systems and equipment’ including fire resistance doors. This standard sets out the requirement for the routine servicing of passive fire systems including fire rated door sets inclusive of all hardware. This includes, but is not limited to; the door leaf and door frame, closers, handles, locks, vision panels, seals and intumescent air grilles/dampers.
How often fire doors are required to be inspected, maintained and reported upon is also set out in AS1851-2012. The frequency of inspections, maintenance, and reporting requirements for side hung hinged and sliding fire resistant door assemblies must be in accordance with this Australian standard. Additionally, fire doors must be inspected and maintained by qualified technicians who have the training, knowledge and skills, qualifications or experience (or a combination of them) – to perform the task correctly.
What makes a fire door a fire door?
A fire door is designed to resist fire and slow down the spread of fire from one fire compartment of a building to another, and for the allocated time defined by the associated wall type. This allows occupants a certain amount of time to safely evacuate prior to failure of the systems.
As part of a fire rated doorset, fire doors are constructed with a fire resistant material core, often with steel plating to maintain the door’s integrity under extreme temperatures. They are designed to be kept closed or in the latched position. Any gaps between the wall and the door frame are normally required to be filled with a fire-resistant material unless otherwise specified. Additionally, the door and its frame need to display matching tags to identify its fire resistance level and the manufacturer.
Is it a legal requirement to have fire doors?
This is dependent upon a number of factors including the type or class of building. If you do have a fire door installed on-site, it must meet the requirements of AS1905 and be inspected toAS1851.
If the building was built or modified since 1 July 1994, the list of essential safety measures and type of maintenance required will be listed with the Occupancy Permit or Certificate of Final Inspection.
If the building was constructed prior to 1 July 1994, there will not be an occupancy permit in place however the owner is still responsible for ensuring that any safety equipment, safety fittings or safety measures are maintained and fulfilling their purpose.