What is a fire door?
The Architectural and Specialist Door Manufacturers Association (ASDMA) specifies that a fire door must have these components (MUST BE FIRE RATED):
• Door Frame
• Hardware (locks, latches, hinges, auto closers)
In other words a fire door must be a complete assembly with all the necessary components.
Where are fire doors needed?
As described above there are two main uses of a fire door which prescribe where they should be located in a building. They work together in order to preserve life and property through: i) compartmentalising the fire ii) protecting the escape route throughout the building.
Fire doors should be kept closed at all times, however escapes routes are also frequently the routes of everyday traffic. In this situation a fire door retainer can be used to legally keep the door open. These devices listen for the sound of your fire alarm and automatically close the door when the alarm is triggered. There are also more specialist devices which can be set to open and close a fire door at a specific time.
Can an existing door be upgraded to a fire door?
Because fired doors are of a specialist nature it is normally advisable to fit them from new. This is often the more cost effective solution.
Sometime an upgrade to a 30 minute fire door (FD30) is possible, but depends of the construction of the existing door, especially if the door is part of a historic building. It should be of solid timber of chipboard, preferably 44mm thick, and with a solid frame that is capable of bearing the extra weight from the fire door.