22 February 2013
By Jeff Anderson
The issue of fire safety is one which is very close to our hearts at Remedial Building Services. The opportunity to do our part, by giving building occupants the best chance of survival, is all the incentive we need really.
Under the banner of fire safety, there are two broad classes: active fire rating systems and passive fire rating systems. An active fire system is one which seeks to control the blaze and bring it under control and includes systems such as drench systems, fire curtains and gaseous suppression systems. By comparison, passive fire rating systems seek to protect the structure from extreme heat and through this help it to remain structurally sound (standing longer) whilst also preventing the spread of flames through the building. Not only does this allow building residents the ability to get out without walls and the ceiling falling in around them, but allows fire crews the same ability to enter the building and fight the fire more easily.
At Remedial, our focus is on passive fire systems encompassing:
- Thin-film intumescents
- Fire collars
- Putty pads
- Mastic sealants
- Fire batts
- Fire-rated doors
Funnily enough, more often than not, when we are brought in to look at a client’s existing structure and advise on what can be done to make the building compliant and/or safer, we find that they are generally interested in learning about the more ‘technical’ solutions such as spray on intumescents, or fire collars, and not so interested in replacing their fire doors. This is pretty ironic really, as fire doors literally can make a huge difference to the safety of occupants, to the spread of flames and a damaged door will not do what it is intended to do.
Signs that your fire door needs replacing
When we point out to clients that their existing fire doors are no longer compliant, they often look at us aghast or as if we have said something entertaining. The truth is, however, a non-compliant fire door should be changed under the BCA to make sure it does the job it exists to do. A faulty door will not prevent the spread of flame and can, therefore, be a massive liability to occupants and fire teams. Signs your fire door may be faulty include:
- The door is delaminating
- Water damage at the bottom of the door
- Physical damage (such as someone has kicked it in slightly)
- The door hinges are loose, so the door is no longer airtight
- The compliance tag shows the door needs a check (found on the inside skin of the door)
- Someone has previously drilled or nailed into the door
- You have secured a non-authorised locking apparatus to the door (such as a deadbolt)
Certified fire doors save lives
If your doors are showing any of these signs, you will need to get a certified fire door installed in its place. The importance of a good fire door cannot be emphasised enough. Not only do they prevent the spread of flame – very important for protecting people if they are trapped in a room – but they will not burn (in a cellulosic fire) which gives the fire a better chance to die down.
Failure, on the other hand, to have a good fire door in place means your residents are at risk of being trapped, or of the flames spreading throughout the building with nothing to hold them back. This puts you and your neighbours at risk.
So please, don’t delay, check your fire door today and ensure it is in good working order, airtight and has been certified recently. If it has not been recently checked, please call a certified fire inspector who can ensure the compliance and safety of your door.CONTACT US
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