With dozens of acronyms and numbers to decode, understanding fire door ratings and certifications can feel a little overwhelming. Thankfully, at UK Fire Door Training, simplifying the complex world of fire doors is what we do best.
Here’s everything you need to know about fire door ratings and certifications, what they mean, how they’re obtained and why they’re important.
The Role of Fire Door Ratings and Certifications
Every fire door in this country is assigned a number representing the length of time it can withstand a fire. This is known as a fire door rating.
Fire door certification provides evidence of the fire door or doorset’s ability to hold back the spread of smoke and fire, and the consistency of its manufacture.
Both fire door ratings and certifications are hugely important in ensuring optimal fire safety for your building. It’s crucial therefore that anyone dealing with fire safety – whether that’s a landlord, building manager, architect or building designer – understands what they mean and why they exist.
Fire Door Ratings: Decoding the Numbers
In the UK, building regulations require fire doors to be tested and certified to BS 476-22. During the testing procedure, a complete fire doorset is prepared and fixed onto a wall. The fire door is then exposed to the heat conditions anticipated in a real fire, while its stability and integrity are observed by an independent body. After the testing, the fire door is given its official rating.
Fire doors tested to BS 476-22 typically have the following ratings: FD30, FD60, FD90 and FD120. The FD simply stands for fire door, and the number indicates how many minutes a door can hold back fire. For example, if it’s rated FD60, the fire door has been able to withstand a fire for 60 minutes during testing.
Toxic smoke inhalation causes more fire-related deaths than the fires themselves. That’s why in most public buildings, fire doors will need to be able to resist smoke, as well as fire. We can tell whether a fire door is both a fire and smoke-controlled door by the letter ‘s’. For example, FD30s will hold back fire and limit smoke spread for 30 minutes.
FD30 and FD30s are the most commonly used fire doors, usually found in low rise domestic buildings and offices where rapid evacuation is possible. FD60 and FD60s fire doors tend to be used in buildings where the risk is higher, such as commercial or high-rise buildings. FD90, FD90s, FD120, FD120s are generally more suited to larger commercial environments, healthcare facilities and multi-occupancy residential buildings. You may also find large FD120s doors in specialist locations such as in tunnels or on the London Underground.
Fire doors can also be tested to EN 1634-1, which is the European standard for testing fire and smoke-resisting fire doors. Much like the BS 476 testing, fire doors are given a rating based on how long they can hold back fire for, e.g. E30, E60, E90, E120, and their smoke-protective counterparts E30S, E60S, E90s, E120s.
While there are many similarities between the two classifications, it’s important to remember that if EN 1634 designation is required, the fire door must have been tested to that standard.
The Significance of Fire Door Certifications
When installing fire doors, you should only use door leaves, frames and components that have been officially certificated by a third-party certification scheme.
Third-party certification of fire door assemblies and doorsets means that the product has been tested to British Standard BS 476-22 or European Standard EN 1634-1 in a UKAS-accredited facility.
There are a number of third-party certification schemes in the UK, including Certifire, BM–TRADA, IFC and Bluesky. As well as rigorous testing, many of these schemes involve ongoing factory production control to ensure that all fire doors supplied provide the same level of performance as those tested.
Fire doors manufactured under these schemes carry a permanent label affixed to each door, which includes details of the door’s fire rating, certification number and manufacturer details.
There should also be a certificate of approval – a document detailing everything you can and cannot do with the door. It includes information denoting the position of hinges, locks, glazing, and the types of seals allowed and where they can be installed.
If a fire door doesn’t have a label and certificate of approval, then you cannot be 100% sure that it is actually a fire door.
Why Do Certifications Matter?
Third-party certification of fire doors and doorsets provides crucial proof that a fire door (when correctly installed and maintained) is fit for purpose and complies with fire door regulations.
Third-party certification also gives evidence of appropriate testing and consistent manufacture, providing reassurance over product performance and quality. It ensures the traceability of the product and assurance that the door has been manufactured with strict Factory Production Control (FPC) measures in place.
It’s also worth noting that third-party fire door certifications help to ensure that the building meets relevant insurance requirements. Without them, claims could be invalidated and rejected in the event of a fire.
UK Fire Door Training – Your Partner in Fire Safety
Here at UK Fire Door Training, we’re on a mission to build a safer UK, one fire door at a time. Our FireQual and CPD-endorsed courses have been specially designed by fire safety experts to equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to install, maintain and inspect fire doors with confidence.
We believe true industry change can only happen through education and awareness. And that’s why we make sure our training courses are not only affordable but accessible too.
All our courses take place online, allowing you to learn at your own pace from wherever you’re based. We also go the extra mile to ensure our courses are user-friendly and cater to people with special educational needs, making sure every trainee gets the attention they deserve.