How Are Fire Doors Tested to Achieve a Fire Resistant Rating?

The National Construction Code is very strict on fire door regulations. We take a look at how fire doors are tested to achieve a Fire Resistant Rating in Australia.

In Australia, the National Construction Code stipulates that all fire doors must be tested to certain specifications (i.e. AS1530.4) in order to meet resistance approvals and certification.

What is Evaluated During Fire Door Tests?

All fire doors and their sets are tested based on various passive and active fire protection requirements in order to receive a fire resistant rating.

  • Passive fire protection tests serve to 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 may need to operate automatically in the event of a fire (e.g. magnamatic devices that hold doors open)

Fire doors and all of their components are also generally tested for flammability, combustibility, fire resistance, smoke/gas resistance and also pressure resistance.

The specific tests of each door will depend on the type of door being tested (e.g. a swinging fire door, a sliding fire door or hinged fire door), the type of material the door consists of and the particular fire resistant rating the door needs to meet (such as 1 hour, 2 hour etc).

fire resistant rating

How is the Fire Door Test Conducted?

Step 1: First, the door leaf, the fire door frame and all of its components and hardware (which must also be compliant) are assembled according to the desired specifications. This results in the ‘door set.’

Step 2: The complete door set is then mounted into a test wall; this wall is located alongside or inside a furnace, which is then used to generate the fire.

Step 3: The furnace is activated to produce fire on one side of the door only. The fire is controlled by the testers to replicate “real life” fire conditions; that is, conditions that meet the same time-temperature pattern of a real fire. This is called the  ‘standard time temperature curve.’

Step 4: The test then continues for the relevant amount of time, depending on the resistance rating that the door needs to achieve, such as 1 hour or 3 hours.

Step 5: At the end of the test, the fire door and its set will either have:

  • Contained the fire and prevented it from spreading for the desired amount of time, thus passing the test, or
  • Proven not to be fire resistant and the entire door set will subsequently fail the test

If the door itself has failed, the fire resistant rating test may still continue if the testers wish to further examine or test any of the hardware components for resistance.

Who Tests Fire Doors?

In Australia, as in many other countries, fire doors and components can only be tested and certified by registered and accredited testing authorities or organisations, such as the CSIRO.

The National Association of Testing Authorities governs testing regulations and organisations in Australia.

At FSE Special Purpose Doors, all of our fire doors are fully tested and certified to meet Australian fire resistance requirements. To view our fire doors, please contact us at: [email protected] or 1300 4 DOORS.