Recent devastating and tragic events around the world continue to highlight the importance of fire safety and regulatory compliance. Fire doors, when correctly installed and using fully tested products, not only preserve life from smoke and fire but contain devastating damage to preserve the rest of a building, saving huge amounts of money in insurance claims.
Fire and smoke seals, fire-rated air-transfer grilles, glazing seals and ironmongery protection all complete a passive fire-protection system that has been subjected to rigorous quality control, independent third-party evaluation and tested to various national and international standards.
Fire and cold smoke seals
The fire seal forms part of the fire test evidence of the door so the correct seal size and intumescent material used must be adhered to. Different intumescent materials should not be used around the door perimeter as this could have an adverse effect on the door in a fire situation. As well as being the ‘seal’ between door leaf and frame, in a fire situation, for ‘S’ rated doors (require cold smoke protection) the seals would have a brush or fin detail. These ensure that there is a seal between the leaf and frame before the heat activates the intumescent, thereby prohibiting the passage of cold smoke around the perimeter. As a retrofit product, assuming the intumescent seals are in good condition, a finned perimeter seal that is fitted in against the door stop can be used.
Ironmongery protection kits, manufactured from Mono Ammonium Phosphate (also known as MAP) or graphite can be produced to suit any lock, hinge or door closer detail, and are precision cut on CNC machines to provide a pre-cut and pre-folded product.
The requirement for ironmongery protection kits will form part of the fire test evidence of either the hardware manufacturer or the door set manufacturer. They will be key to maintaining the integrity of the door in a fire situation. It is imperative that the correct material, material thickness and kit design is used to ensure compliance, as incorrect specification could have a detrimental effect on the fire door integrity.
Fire-rated air-transfer grilles
Where there is a need for air transfer through a fire door the integrity of the door must be maintained. Fire-rated air-transfer grilles manufactured from Hydrated Sodium Silicate or graphite offer the solution. Slim in design, they allow ease of installation and can be supplied with decorative cover grilles of various designs. Fire test evidence of size and location should be examined to ensure they meet the requirements of the application, e.g. low or high level. Also, fire door test evidence should be reviewed to ensure the fire door has been tested with an aperture of the required size and location cut in it.
Glazed apertures are an important part of a building offering natural light and, of course, vison through doors and walls. When required in a fire-resistant door or fire-compartment wall they must be a fully tested system, of glass, bead and intumescent seal. There are various products available including channel systems and PVC encapsulated systems, which offer flexibility in colour finish and single strip systems. Timber bead detail is also important and fire test evidence should be viewed to ensure correct design detail, fixing detail and material, e.g. softwood or hardwood.
The threshold of a door is often forgotten about but fire, smoke and acoustic requirements must be considered. Cool smoke is less buoyant and therefore not protecting the gap at the bottom of a fire and smoke door could allow potentially harmful gases to pass under it. The use of an automatic threshold seal (where the seal lifts when the door is opened) offers an ideal solution to this problem. These products can be face fixed or rebated into the bottom of the door. Fire test evidence should be reviewed to ensure when fitting to a fire door, as there may be a need for an intumescent kit of some kind to meet the fire test evidence. These products by their very nature also offer acoustic sealing properties.
Mann McGowan has been at the forefront of the design, manufacture and testing of intumescent passive fire products for over 40 years. They are represented in the UAE by Westport Building Materials, and in Qatar by Fort Technical Supplies.