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Opening problem with newly adjusted fire doors

Hugh Sanderson

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Having recently had a fire door inspection in my small block of flats, remedial works have now been completed. The fire door to my flat was identified as having incorrect gaps and required repositioning.  Intumescent pads were inserted under the hinges. Previously, the door closed tightly against the rebated steps in the door frame. They stand about 3mm proud of the frame.  Moving the door away from the hinge side now means that the door has to slammed heavily to close and requires to be shoulder-charged from the outside to be opened. The managing agent and the contractor maintain that the door conforms to the standard required as the gaps are now within the specified tolerances. Is there a designated maximum force stipulated for opening and closing a fire door under the new rules?  Once the door is opened there is no problem, but currently, if there was a fire in the flat, anyone who is not strong would die as they would not be able to get out!. Great for fire safety!

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Something does not sound right. The gaps may now be correct, but if it can no longer function as a door, it’s no use to man not beast.

The closer should be strong enough to latch the door without slamming and it should be easily openable (30N).  Try smearing a thin film of petroleum jelly on the fin seal as they are sometimes stiff when first fitted.

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The main problem has now been resolved by chamfering the leading edge of the door where it meets the strip.  The remaining problem is the latching which, as the door has a roller bolt night latch, needs a very high latching setting on the closer.  There is always another problem!  You can never be entirely safe no matter how much legislation is applied.  Life is a risk.

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