Smoke Door Regulations
Smoke doors are an essential part of fire safe infrastructure, as they prevent smoke from travelling between isolated areas, buildings and other areas where employees, occupants or the public may be at risk.
To ensure the continuing effectiveness of Smoke Doors, they must be constructed to stringent building guidelines outlined in the Building Code of Australia BCA. The BCA provides performance outlines and construction requirements for numerous building types within Australia’s states and territories.
Smoke Doors are essential in establishing safe fire infrastructure for your building, and Smoke Door Regulations are there to make sure that they adhere to the necessary standards that will protect employees, occupants and the public.
Specification C3.4 of the building code states that “smoke doors must be constructed so that smoke will not pass* from one side of the doorway to the other” and provides the set of guidelines seen below.
A smoke door of one or two leaves satisfies Clause 3.1 if it is constructed as follows:
(a) The leaves are side-hung to swing—
(i) in the direction of egress; or
(ii) in both directions.
(b) (i) The leaves are capable of resisting smoke at 200°C for 30 minutes.
(ii) Solid-core leaves* at least 35 mm thick satisfy (i).
(c) The leaves are fitted with smoke seals.
(d) (i) The leaves are normally in the closed position; or
(ii) (A) The leaves are closed automatically with the automatic closing operation initiated by smoke detectors, installed in accordance with the relevant provisions of AS 1670.1, located on each side of the doorway not more than 1.5 m horizontal distance from the doorway; and
(B) in the event of power failure to the door, the leaves fail-safe in the closed position.
(e) The leaves return to the fully closed position after each manual opening.
(f) Any glazing incorporated in the door complies with AS 1288.
(g) (i) If a glazed panel is capable of being mistaken for an unobstructed exit, the presence of the glass must be identified by opaque construction.
(ii) An opaque mid-height band, mid-rail or crash bar satisfies (i).
*The specification creates some confusion, particularly with regard to the perceived zero smoke leakage requirement and that “solid core” door construction remains undefined.
For more information visit the Australian Building Codes website.
Maintenance of Smoke Doors
Smoke doors are essential for containing smoke in the event of a fire, so it’s critical to install them as part of a fire safety plan. However, to ensure the continuing effectiveness of smoke doors, they need to be checked regularly to ensure that they still comply with the Building Code of Australia and hold all of the standards needed to protect occupants.
Any small disruption to the complete structure of the door may affect its performance in the state of an emergency, this includes all necessary elements – the door itself, hinges, handles, framing, locks and latches.
In order to maintain smoke proof doors, it must be made sure that:
• All door leaves, frames and hardware continue to uphold their required fire resistance rating (in accordance with AS1905).
• All door openers continue to function as designed, with self-closing and latching mechanisms completely functioning.
• All clearances on the edges of the door continue to be compliant with regulations and have not been altered.
• Doors have not been damaged, split, warped, misaligned or altered in any way that could affect their functionality in blocking smoke or gases in the event of a fire
Smoke door inspections are mandatory bi-annually to ensure that doors still comply with the Building Code of Australia, and should be carried out by the appropriate certified authorities.
Signage is another important component of smoke door regulation and maintenance. The correct signage should accompany the appropriate doors at all time, based on the requirements set by the Building Code of Australia.
The correct smoke door sign should identify the door as such and instruct occupants not to obstruct the door. In NSW it is mandatory for the door to display the penalties relating to Fire Doors, Smoke Doors and Fire Exits.