Fire Rated Doors – What You Need To Know
Fire rated doors are a crucial safety element in any building. They are necessary to protect both the building and the people inside. Let’s take a look at some of the things you need to know about fire rated doors.
How Are Fire Doors Tested to Achieve a Fire Resistant Rating?
Doors achieve their fire rating through a series of stringent tests measuring their stability against a number of protection requirements. These are both active and passive tests:
• Passive fire protection tests assess the ability of the door set to contain fire, smoke and other gases during a fire.
• Active fire protection testing involves trialling certain devices/hardware that serve to operate in the event of a fire (for example: magnamatic devices that hold doors open)
The specific tests of each door will depend on a few characteristics:
• The material the door is made from.
• The particular fire resistant rating the door needs to meet (1 hour, 2 hour, 5 hour etc).
Doors are tested for flammability, combustibility, smoke/gas resistance and pressure resistance. If all of these components are met, then doors are awarded their fire rating.
In Australia, fire doors and components can only be tested and certified by registered, accredited testing authorities like the CSIRO.
The National Association of Testing Authorities governs testing regulations and organisations in Australia.
What Kinds of Fire Rated Doors Are Avaliable?
Fire doors come in a number of different styles, each with their own characteristics suit to different environments.
• Hinged Fire Doors: Hinged doors are your classic style that you will commonly find in entryways of offices, hotels or residential spaces. As the name suggests, this door is fixed to the frame via two or more hinges and can usually only swing open one way at 90-degrees.
Hinged doors are almost always fitted with a handle or knob and must be manually opened and closed
• Double Action Fire Doors: Double action fire doors are suitable in high traffic areas where the path of egress could be in either direction. They are common in hospitals and other healthcare spaces. Swinging double action fire doors act like any other fire door and come with fire resistant ratings to ensure maximum fire protection.
However, the key difference with fire rated swinging double action fire doors is that they will swing back and forth 180-degrees to allow traffic to move quickly and easily back and forth through the doors.
• Sliding Fire Doors: Sliding fire doors open horizontally, parallel to the walls. Sliding fire doors can be made from an array of different materials and are suitable in a number of different spaces, including hospitals, schools, shopping centres, industrial spaces, hotels and residential building complexes.
• Heritage Fire Doors: Many buildings in Australia are of cultural or historical significance and therefore are protected by strict heritage preservation orders. While it is very import to keep these kinds of doors intact, they also need to meet modern fire rating requirements. Luckily, there are methods of fireproofing that assure aesthetics of heritage doors are kept intact while optimum safety levels are maintained.
Why Do I Need Fire Rated Doors?
Fire rated doors are an essential part of every building’s fire protection model. Everybody needs fire doors. Here’s why:
• Safety – Fire doors save lives by stopping fire and smoke from spreading quickly and from entering places where people may get trapped, like fire exits and corridors.
• Building Preservation – Aside from protecting the people within them, fire doors are vital in protecting buildings by hindering the spread of fire and smoke throughout. They are also necessary in stopping the fire from spreading to other buildings.
• Compliance – Australia has strict rules in regards to fire doors in all states. As a designer, architect, builder, installer or owner, it is very important to ensure that all fire rated doors and frames comply with Australian (and state) regulations in order to avoid serious penalties.
• Easy escape – Fire door signage helps people to quickly and easily escape in the event of a fire.
At FSE Special Purpose Doors, all of our fire rated doors are fully tested and certified to meet Australian fire resistance requirements. To find out more about our fire doors, please contact us at: [email protected] or 1300 4 DOORS.