As a detrimental component of a fire door’s performance, it is critical to get the specification of fire door closers correct. Here, Graham Hulland, Product Marketing Manager at dormakaba explains the key requirements and outlines the issues to consider to ensure the product is compliant and fit for purpose.
Fire doors are the first line of defence against the spread of smoke and fire, enabling the safe evacuation of all building occupants. As important as the fire door itself is the door hardware and ironmongery.
The new dormakaba TS 97 FL is a power-adjustable, free swing door closer that allows for easy occupant movement and can be combined with a smoke detector system to act as a hold open device for fire doors.
Although high efficiency cam action door closers enable low operating forces within and below those demanded within BS8300, some users find any resistance on a fire door either very hard or impossible to manage.
Where such instances arise, the use of a free swing door closer is highly advised. A free swing door closer, when active, enables to door to move freely without resistance being experienced by the user; thus, it enables the door to perform as any standard internal door within a domestic dwelling. In addition to no resistance from the closer, the door can be left in any position desired by the user - fully open, slightly ajar or fully closed. On activation of the fire alarm or in the event of a power failure, the door will close from whatever position it has been left in, ensuring the fire door will perform as required in the event of a fire. Whilst the alarm is active or while power is out, the free swing closer will perform as a ‘normal’ door closer, so if opened it will automatically close again. Once the alarm has been reset or power restored, the free swing will become active once again.
Visiting customers over the past few weeks, something that has come up in conversation is the problem of residents damaging or disabling fire door closers. This is not only a safety issue, but it also invalidates the insurance and can lead to big fines for non-compliance with fire regulations.
In sheltered housing, many front doors are fire doors and therefore fitted with door closers. This ensures the door will be closed in the event of a fire, and the spread of fire and smoke will be prevented. Residents will then have more time to evacuate safely or can remain in a fire safe compartment until the emergency services arrive.