Fire Door Regulations for Residential Properties

Home renovations can be a very exciting but stressful time particularly if you continue to live in your home while all the building work goes on. Planning is an essential part of building work, particularly if you are going to be part of the project management for your renovation. But, despite this it is amazing how often issues emerge that we hadn’t considered or budgeted for, before hand. In our situation, we hadn’t considered the need for additional fire prevention accessories other than a fire alarm on each floor of our home. It emerged during the build of our loft build that fire doors were required to all rooms of your home other than to those of the bathrooms. This meant replacing all freshly decorated doors and replacing them with the new regulation ones! This then led me to investigate the new regulations to ensure we were being fully compliant before visited by a building inspector.

Fire doors are usually associated with commercial premises; however, domestic properties also require fire doors depending on the type and size of home. The government is consistently tightening regulations and legislation with an increasing focus on fire prevention in residential homes. This is not surprising as the majority of fire related deaths in the UK are in domestic fires. Building regulations require new builds and some types of extension work such as loft conversions in particular, to be fitted with fire doors.

The regulations

Recent changes to the regulations covering new build residential properties have removed the need for self-closing mechanisms to be fitted to doors, but they do not remove the need for fire resistant doors themselves. The regulations state that these are required: glass fire doors

• Where the first floor is over 4.5 meters from ground level, the stairwell leading to the ground floor will require protection (at all levels) and should either lead to two ground floor exit routes both protected with fire resistant doors or lead directly to an exit.

• Integrated garages will require a fire door between the garage area and the residential part of the house.

• Loft conversions will often require a door that is capable of resisting the spread of fire.

Education, awareness and protection

While the focus of government campaigns is on education and awareness in order to prevent fires in the first place, the building regulations are designed to lessen the impact and reduce deaths from fires in residential properties. With several hundred deaths annually in the UK from fire in residential dwellings, according to the latest statistics, and over 18,600 residential fires, the importance of education cannot be underestimated. However, installing a fire door in a property still has the biggest role to play in preventing fatalities in the event the worst happens. By far the largest number of fatalities is caused by the spread of smoke and toxic gases during a fire. A fire door is a barrier to both the fire itself, giving families the time to escape while at the same time stopping the spread of smoke and fumes, which will kill.

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