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Fire doors in a domestic 3 storey house

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Guest Marie

Hi

We have a 3 storey house and would like to replace our internal doors.  They are currently fire doors - do the replacements have to be fire doors or can we substitute them for normal doors?

 

Thanks

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Hi Marie, The doors are fire doors with smoke protection because building regulations (approved document B) say they need to be. When closed they should provide protection from fire and smoke spread so that in a fire somebody on the upper floor should be able to safely escape, passing a fire in a room in a lower floor, using the staircase.

Most designs of timber door are also available as FD30(s) fire doors. Fire doors are 44mm thick whereas standard doors are only 35mm or 40mm so you would have to alter the door frame accordingly. With this in mind and the fire and smoke protection issue I can't think of any reason to fit non fire doors instead.

All the best with your home improvements!

 

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In a three storey house, as Neil has said you need a protected route from the second floor to a place of ultimate safety, however in my interpretation of ADB the doors should be FD20 doors (table B1), except the door from an integral garage which should be a FD30s door. As doors are not tested to the FD20 standard then you must use FD30 doors but I would not recommend a smoke seal because assuming your smoke detectors are in the escape route it would prevent smoke percolating from a risk room into the escape route and operating them.

What is a standard door, some would last less than ten minutes other may be longer although in the past a well fitting substantial door has been accepted I would suggest fix FD30 doors.

Check out Approved Document B (fire safety) volume 1: Dwellinghouses

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On 01/05/2017 at 19:35, Neil Ashdown CertFDI said:

Hi Marie, The doors are fire doors with smoke protection because building regulations (approved document B) say they need to be. When closed they should provide protection from fire and smoke spread so that in a fire somebody on the upper floor should be able to safely escape, passing a fire in a room in a lower floor, using the staircase.

Most designs of timber door are also available as FD30(s) fire doors. Fire doors are 44mm thick whereas standard doors are only 35mm or 40mm so you would have to alter the door frame accordingly. With this in mind and the fire and smoke protection issue I can't think of any reason to fit non fire doors instead.

All the best with your home improvements!

 

I have a 3 storey house built around the year 2000. All internal doors in the house are the same. The doors are 44mm think with 3 hinges, feel heavy and have percos. I am quite sure that they are the original doors, so would have complied with the building regulations at the time the house was built. They do not have any intumescent strips. I plan to add intumescent strips to them. The door stops and frames seem to be the correct specification for a fire door. Do you think that I can just add intumescent strips to make them FD30? Or should I consider getting new doors?  My intention is to ensure that the house has FD30 doors, but I wish to determine if these existing doors are suitable for this. I cannot find any labels nor plugs indicating their specification. Along the top of the doors it says, "DALE 90623", which is probably the manufactures code for the style. However I have been unable to determine anything else about the door. I would be grateful for any suggestions. 

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Hi Tony59,

Being built in 2000 the doors should be fire doors. You reference "DALE 90623" so the doors are most likely made by Dale Joinery in which case I suggest you contact Ian Cavanagh CertFDI via the search facility (he's based at Rochdale but should be able to help over the phone) at www.fdis.co.uk/inspector for advice.

Kind regards, Neil.

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Guest Sarah

I’m moving into a new build three storey town house and want to replace doors with glazed versions. Are glazed doors still fire doors? Totally confused with what we can have x 

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You can have a lot of glazing in doors and they still be fire doors, but you would have to specify this and get them from a suitable specialist provider. Off the shelf glazed doors from the usual retailers may be toughened for health & safety, but are very unlikely to be fire rated.

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Guest Emma

I'm confused by what my building regs guy said and I don't know where I stand.. I bought a 3 storey house and rennovated. As part of the rip out they remove all frames and doors so I replaced with some fairly cheap composite ones (they look nice so didn't think anything of it). Building regs have told me that they all need to be full timber and to replace them all. Now this is going to cost a fortune as I have 9 doors in the house. Do I need to replace them all. He has argued that I do as I have replaced to a lesser quality than what was in there already. Or do I need to just sort out the top floor?

Any advice welcomed please 

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Because it is a three story building the whole staircase needs to be protected, therefore all doors from habitable rooms into the staircase need to be fire resisting.

Because replacing the doors having a lower fire resistance, you have reduced the level of fire safety, therefore you need to bring the doors up to the original FR standard or higher. 

I am afraid you will have to follow the instructions of the building control office (BCO)/authorised inspector (AI) because you will not get a completion certificate, however you could appeal his/her decision, but I think with little chance of winning. 

Check out https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/485420/BR_PDF_AD_B1_2013.pdf

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Guest Emma

thank you so much this is very helpful. It seems like I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and replace the doors. Any recommendations on affordable places - Travis Perkins looks fairly reasonable. 

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Guest Aly

Hi. We have moved to a brand new 3 storey townhouse in Scotland outside Edinburgh. My children can't open any of the doors in the house because of the type of door closer the builder has fitted (and that's them having been adjusted).  Can I remove any of these ? What do the building regs say in Scotland and is there any impact for insurance purposes? 

Thank you

Aly

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Guest Neil

Can someone help me on two subjects one is how offered do you need your council flat rewired my was last done 2014 and council want to come back again this year and the other subject is how offered do you change your front door as this was done About the same time and has new laws come into force for them to change this door yet again 

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It won't be a rewire but an Electrical Installation Condition Report which whilst normally recommended every 10 years in domestic premises is usually 5 where they are rented.

No expiry on doors as long as in good order however the one fitted in 2014 could be from one of the batches that failed fire tests and didn't meet the advertised fire resistance so needs replacing.

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Guest Matt

Hi,

I have a 3 story house and I understand that the habitable rooms need fire doors which is fine. From what I can figure out the hinges need to be fire rated but not self closing, can anyone confirm that? Also I want to install a pocket door in the kitchen on the ground floor but not sure if I can do this and if I can does it need to be a fire door? The kitchen is next to the front door. When you reach the bottom of the stairs you could turn back on yourself and get out through the lounge into the garden and not walk past the kitchen. Does that mean it doesn’t need to be a fire door?

thanks 

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If we are talking about a private domestic dwelling house all the doors to habitable rooms should be FD20 (no self closer) doors, except the door into an attached garage which should be a FD30s fire door with a approved self closer. The front door into the fresh air is a final exit door and doesn't need to be a fire door the door to the kitchen needs to be a FD20 fire door. Pocket doors can be used, you can get fire doors as well as standard doors just depends what you require.

Check out Approved Document B (fire safety) volume 1: Dwellinghouses.

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Guest Matt

Thanks Tom. 

Yes it’s a domestic dwelling. So I don’t need self closing door which is a relief. I can use a pocket door on the kitchen but it needs to be a fire door. I have also moved the boiler from the top to the bottom floor into the downstairs w.c, does this need a fire door? I think I read somewhere that it does?

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Guest Rich Byatt

I'm looking at purchasing a 1960s (?) town house with integral garage at ground level and two floors above.  I'm not sure when regulations for fire doors came in, but do I need to have an FD30 between the garage and bottom hallway in this case?  We're not planning to use it for car use - far too much stuff to store sadly!  Any help appreciated ... thanks.

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No requirement for full 30-minute protected route all doors should be FD20 fire doors. However well fitting sound conventional doors/construction are acceptable, also the travel distance should not be excessive. All except the door to the internal garage, which remains a garage until you convert it to a habitable room, should have full FD30s fire door and be fitted with a approved self closer.

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Guest Rich Byatt

Thanks Tom.  I double-checked the garage door and it has an extra layer attached (conversion to FD30 possible?).  Are regulations legally retrospective - I understand the conventional wisdom of upgrading to latest regs for safety and could spend a tonne of money on various 'upgrades' to a 1960s house (fire doors, electrics, insulation, etc), but legally where does one exactly stand?  Is there a legal requirement, or insurance obligation, etc to upgrade to latest regulations, or any legal impact of not doing so?  This could be a mater of replacements over time for us rather than ignoring the recommendation?  This is a private domestic dwelling.

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