Cause for concern as 75% of fire doors not fit for purpose

“The FDIS has revealed that a shocking three-quarters of fire doors in the UK fail inspections. This should be a wake-up call to all of us to invest in new or upgraded fire doors”

After revealing that three-quarters of the fire doors assessed in the UK by its licenced inspectors did not reach the required level, one of the UK’s major fire door inspection organisations has warned of a “tragedy waiting to happen.”

The Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FDIS) discovered that 75% of fire doors failed to meet the statutory requirements, placing lives at danger in the case of a fire. The data was based on more than 100,000 fire door inspections carried out by its certified inspectors in 2021.

Healthcare facilities, local authorities and housing associations, and private residences had the greatest number of fire door inspection failures, which is alarming. Because the fire doors in these buildings are subjected to more usage and traffic than those in other types of buildings, frequent inspection and maintenance is essential to ensure that they remain fit for purpose throughout their lifespan.

FDIS Scheme Manager Louise Halton commented: “With the vast majority of fire doors in the UK failing inspections, it’s sad to say that a tragedy is simply waiting to happen, especially so in buildings that are home to vulnerable residents. But this situation is entirely preventable and, at this stage, still reversible. A fit for purpose fire door can save lives, so now is the time for all of those responsible for fire safety to urgently inspect fire doors in their buildings and act immediately if faults are identified.”

Excessive gaps between the door and the frame (77%), care and maintenance concerns (54%), and issues with smoke sealing were the most prevalent causes for inspection failure, which can be the consequence of one or many faults (37%). Inspections failed in nearly a third of the cases (31%), indicating that the doors were never fit to perform the role of containing fire and smoke.

Inspectors’ top three fire safety concerns were found to be a lack of fire door maintenance, a lack of knowledge of fire safety responsibilities, and a limited understanding of the role fire doors play in keeping people safe by those responsible for building fire safety, according to the inspection data.

The good news is that there is a desire to better things. 77% of FDIS inspectors have witnessed an increase in demand for fire door inspections after the passage of the Building Safety Bill (now the Building Safety Act 2022). This demonstrates the legislation’s relevance and impact in pushing building owners and fire safety specialists to take a more proactive approach to fire door safety and maintenance.

With this extremely important – and potentially catastrophic – issue being brought to light again, now is the perfect time to talk to your customers about fire safety. At Quercus, we can help you discover which timbers are best used in fire-safe homes and in fire-safe doors, empowering you to have these conversations confidently. Call us on 0845 50 50 311 to learn more.