With the advent of high rise buildings, Smart Cities and planned communities in India, fire safety is a critical requirement and necessity. The National Building Code of 2016 has been amended to include fire safety norms/precautions to be followed by all builders throughout the country. The need for the use of active and passive fire products has been outlined in the Building Code. Of the passive fire products, Fire Doors are a necessity in a high-rise, residential, commercial, malls and any large structure where safe evacuation of the public is needed.
What is a fire door?
Fire Doors are used to secure exits out of any structure. They are commonly used in stairways and in exits from one compartment to another of a structure/building. Fire Doors stop the spread of fire from penetrating beyond the doors. So, when used along the stairways, it allows people to safely evacuate a structure in the event of a fire. Fire Doors can stop a fire from spreading for up to 4 hours. Mostly, 2 hours fire rating of fire doors is recommended in NBC in most of the applications to allow people to safely evacuate the premises and allow the fire department to reach the fire and put it out. In specific applications or inaccessible areas, fire doors up to 4 hours are recommended. Fire Doors with a fire rating of up to 4 hours are made of steel and up to 2 hours are available in wood.
Why is it important to use a tested and certified fire door?
A reputed fire door manufacturer can provide you various types of fire doors that can offer a guaranteed fire rating from 30 minutes to up to 2 hours. As with any or most fire safety products, it is best to use products that have been tested as per relevant national and international standards to test their efficacy in the event of a fire. In India, the acceptable standards are: BS 476 (Part 20 & 22); IS 3614 (Part 2) or equivalent.
What should one look for in Fire Doors?
The type of fire door whether steel or wooden. The fire rating, the total time that a fire door will stop a fire from propagating further. The type of accessories used, the parameters such as door frame profile, steel sheet thicknesses, door shutter thickness, etc matching to type test report and Material test certificate issued by the Door manufacturer. These are the actual physical properties to look for in a fire door.
In addition, one must look at the type of test certificates of door manufacturer (from which labs, whether government approved labs or reputed private labs) and traceability of sourcing from original door manufacturer, the applicable standards of the tests conducted on the fire doors and the experience of the fire door manufacturer.
This is one important thing you need to check about a fire door manufacturer in order to ensure quality consistency.
It is imperative that Fire Doors are installed at the site/location by experienced agency or preferably by the Fire Door Manufacturer. As each manufacturer’s door design may vary, and it is based on their design that a fire door will function in the event of a fire, it is important that fire doors are installed as per the installation instructions provided by the manufacturer or an experienced installer.