Securing Safety: A Comprehensive Guide to Fire Door Handles

Introduction to Fire Door Handles

Burlngton Piccadilly Handle on Rose

Burlington Piccadilly Fire Door Handle in Antique Brass

Importance in Fire Safety

Fire safety hardware such as handles are a vital part of the fire door whole. Fire doors save lives, and they are a crucial part of fire safety in both residential and commercial buildings. Their purpose is to delay and contain the spread of fire and smoke down corridors and stairs so people in the building can escape. Additionally, fire doors with the proper hardware can help limit the damage that fire does to a building reducing the loss and repair costs. Fire doors must have the correct fire door handles for them to work at the proper efficacy. 

Legal requirements and standards

For door handle regulations in the UK, some codes must be adhered to. The first is the proper building code which will be discussed in more detail in the Overview of Relevant Regulations and Standards section, below. 

Also in England and Wales, the 2005 Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order states that proper fire doors with associated hardware must be used. While NI and Scotland also have similar regulations.

Choosing the Right Fire Door Handle

In the above sections, you will notice that we discuss the proper or correct fire door handles. You can’t use any old door handle for a fire door. Instead, you must fit one that meets the proper regulations. 

Types of fire door handles

Two types of fire door handles are available in the UK FD30s and FD60s. You will need to check the spec sheet of the fire door you are fitting the handle to discover which one you will need. 

FD30s are fire-rated door handles that are designed to provide 30 mins of protection during a fire. While FD60 will provide 60 minutes of protection. That is that along with the rest of the door, they are designed to hold back the flames for that long. It is essential to make sure that the fire door handles you use match the rating of the door you are using, both because not doing so contravenes UK fire regulations and because it will compromise its efficacy. 

Materials and finishes 

Fire door handles are specially designed to stay functional under fire conditions and so have to be built from materials that can withstand high temperatures. Often this means they are made from metals such as aluminium like these ones, solid brass like these models, and Stainless Steel.

When it comes to finishes many (but not all) fire door handles include a PVD finish. PVD is short for Physical Vapour Deposition, which is a process whereby handles are coated in layers of wear-resistant metals. The purpose of PVD coating for fire door handles like this one, is to ensure the handles are protected from intense exposure to the elements including heat and wear.  


Understanding Regulations

Overview of relevant regulations and standards

The regulations that cover fire door handles are the same ones that cover fire doors as a whole and relate to safety in building design. 

In the UK this means BS 476 Part 22, which deals with how to test non-load bearing elements of a building such as doors for fire resistance, must be complied with. 

Similarly, in Europe, it means BS EN 1634 Part 1 is the regulations you need to look at, which also detail the requirements for fire testing doors and shutter assemblies to prevent the spread of smoke and fire. 

Compliance considerations

To be compliant with the above standards a fire door will need to: 

  • Be at least FD30
  • Have a CE certificate from the supplier including ironmongery such as handles or be certified by one of the Certifire schemes 
  • Should meet the Secure by Design standard 
  • Should come with a test certificate 

You will notice that to be compliant, any fire door handles you use must also meet the required standard! 

Installation Tips

Step-by-step guide for proper installation

Installing a fire door handle must be done in line with the specific instructions that the manufacturer supplies, as well as in line with the proper codes and standards. Included in this will be the requirements for fitting the hardware such as hinges, and handles. 

Common mistakes to avoid

When fitting a fire door handle you must avoid the mistake of using screws that are not fireproof. This is because even such a tiny thing as fitting the wrong type of screw can compromise the efficacy of the door, as well as contravening the regulations. 


Maintenance Practices

Regular inspection and testing

Fire doors and their hardware should be regularly inspected because they are a crucial part of a building's infrastructure. 

The first type of insects that fire doors and their hardware including handles should go through is a fire risk assessment. This tends to be a briefer inspection usually done internally by the fire safety representative to assess potential issues such as missing features, poor fitting, and damage. 

The second type of inspection is more extensive and done by a third-party professional called a fire door inspection survey. Such a survey will assess each door on its efficacy in a fire, as well as its condition. If the doors are found lacking concerning the fire regulations suggestions will be made on how to bring them up to scratch including replacing handles. 

Addressing wear and tear

Any wear and tear on a fire door and its handles must be addressed quickly. This is because such wear will stop the door and its parts from working effectively in an emergency. In turn, this means that people's lives could be put at risk and that whoever is in charge of building maintenance is not legally compliant when it comes to fire safety, leaving them open not only to responsibility if the worst were to happen, but prosecution as well. 

For all your fire door handle needs choose Frelan Hardware 

Frelan Hardware is the top name in architectural hardware in the UK. We’re ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 accredited and are also a BS OHSAS registered firm, so you can be sure that we’ll be able to supply you with and advise you on the correct and compliant hardware for whatever building project you or your customers are working on. 

We also offer fire-rated hardware to ensure both residential and commercial door security. 

Check out our wide range of fire door handles here!

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