Which type of rented properties require fire doors?
As it currently stands, fire doors are only legally required in Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). All doors leading to an escape route must be fire resistant and close automatically and it’s advised that fire doors are also fitted to high-risk rooms, such as the kitchen.
While it’s not a legal requirement, you might decide to fit a fire door to the kitchen in a single let property. And, because it’s often not convenient to have every fire door constantly closed, you can fit a door retainer. This holds the door open but releases it as soon as the fire alarm is activated.
A properly-installed fire door should:
- Be made of solid timber, with a label or plug confirming it has been certified as a fire door. The label will have an ‘FD’ rating, which indicates how many minutes of fire the door can withstand. The most common is FD30 – that’s 30 minutes
- Have an intumescent seal around the edges of the door and, ideally, cold smoke seals. The intumescent strip is designed to expand in the heat of a fire to seal the gaps between the door and frame.
- Have a frame that’s manufactured to the same standard as the door, to make sure it doesn’t burn away faster than the fire door
- Be fitted with a closer (attached to the door and wall), so that the door shuts properly on its own.
- Have at least three firmly-fixed hinges and suitable handles and locks
Note: Any door on an escape route that locks (usually main front and rear doors) should also have a ‘thumb-turn’ lock on the inside, so it can be easily opened without a key.
Assuming there isn’t any damage, a fire door should last at least 20 years. On periodical inspections:
- Check closers and hinges work effectively
- Make sure the intumescent strips are in good condition
- Test the smoke alarms to make sure any door retainers function properly.
Cost-wise, you should be able to get an FD30 fire door set – that’s the door, frame, hinges and overhead closer – for around £300 (incl. VAT). You might be able to save money if you use a contractor with a trade account and buy in quantity. A single fire door can cost around £60 and a door retainer between £25 and £100.