Regulations & Legislation

What regulations affect the use of fire doors?

There are a number of regulations which apply to both new and existing buildings across the UK. In the case of new buildings, or those which include alterations, extensions or change of use, the appropriate Building Regulations apply.

Existing buildings, other than domestic properties, are governed by the requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order: 2005 – otherwise known as the RRO or FSO

You should also be take note of Regulation 38 of the Building Regulations (England and Wales) which links the Building Regulations to the RRO for those buildings to which the RRO applies.

Building Regulations are known as Approved Documents (or equivalent) and are available from the websites shown below. They are designed to help meet the minimum standards required for construction in the UK.

Because fire doors are functional items and are necessary in all buildings and structures, they are required to meet a number of different regulations such as sound, accessibility, ventilation, thermal efficiency and safety glazing as well as fire safety.

A summary of Approved Document regulations in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is shown in the table below:

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 or FSO, replaced over 70 pieces of fire safety law and came into force in 2006.

The responsibility for fire risk assessment in all non-domestic buildings, including the common parts of flats and houses of multiple occupation, falls to the so-called ‘responsible person’.

Under the FSO, the responsible person must carry out a fire safety risk assessment and implement and maintain a fire management plan. Further information on what you need to do when carrying out a risk assessment is available here.

The law applies to you if you are:

  • responsible for business premises
  • an employer or self-employed with business premises
  • responsible for a part of a dwelling where that part is solely used for business purposes
  • a charity or voluntary organisation
  • a contractor with a degree of control over any premises
  • providing accommodation for paying guests

Fire doors play a major role in the fire safety and protection of ALL buildings covered by the FSO and it is important that fire doors are inspected correctly and maintained in order to ensure compliance.

What are the Legal Fire Stopping Regulations in the UK?

The rationale for passive fire protection is watertight when it comes to protecting employees and member of the public from being trapped in a burning building. But, more than that, the installation of PFP precautions in now a legal requirement.

Why is Passive Fire Protection Important?

Should a fire break out in a building it is critical that measures are in place to contain the blaze in order to allow people to evacuate the building. Passive fire protection enhances a building’s fire resistance. This means that the structure of the building will be preserved, and escape routes kept clear for a period in which the emergency services can take control of the situation.

Passive fire protection focuses on the health and safety of building occupants. PFP measures give time for fire evacuation procedures to be followed. They also prevent the spread of flames, smoke and potentially harmful gases.

Passive fire protection installations include but are not limited to:

  • Fire barriers to walls, ceilings and floors
  • Fire protection for steelwork (structural and non-structural)
  • Blast and fire resistant panels to protect plant and escape routes
  • Sealing of cable ducts

Legal Obligations for Businesses

The legal obligations requiring businesses to install passive fire protection apply to existing buildings, new builds and residential, or non-residential premises.

The Building Regulations 2010, Fire Safety, Approved Document B. Requirement B3 states:

“Where reasonably necessary to inhibit the spread of fire within the building, measures shall be taken, to an extent appropriate to the size and intended use of the building, comprising either or both of the following –

(a) sub-division of the building with fire-resisting construction;
(b) installation of suitable automatic fire suppression systems.

The building shall be designed and constructed so that the unseen spread of fire and smoke within concealed spaces in its structure and fabric is inhibited.”

Requirement 10.2 of the Building Regulations also states that fire stopping, or sealing, is applied to joints and openings between fire-separating elements. This refers to pipes, cables or conduits.

What is Required for Passive Fire Protection Compliance?

The goal of passive fire protection is to create a passive fire protection system which will resist fire for a specific period of time. The resistance ‘window’ can be anything between 30 minutes to 4 hours, but the system design must demonstrate specialist consultation and knowledge. For effective compliance, all products used in the installation should be fire resistance rated according to the current British standard.

Top Quality Compliance from Focus Fire Risk Management

Focus Fire Risk Management provides expert capability in passive fire protection design, supply and installation. Our professional and certified staff have provided effective PFP and certified fire doors for many areas of construction and large housing associations. We use a range of fire stopping products which have been tested extensively and proven to stop the passage of fire, or prevent the ingress of smoke or toxic fumes.

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