So what really is the difference between a Fire rated steel door and a Fire Exit?
In summary Fire rated doors are used as a barrier to withhold smoke and fire for a specified period of time. Whereas a Fire exit is a steel door fitted with panic exit (push bars) used as a means of escape rather than to keep a fire in.
Let’s dig deeper…
Fire Rated Doors
Fire rated doors are designed to keep fire and smoke either inside a building or to prevent it from spreading between 2 separate areas of a building. Fire rated products have undergone rigorous testing in order to be certified to hold out against fire, with ratings based on time i.e. 30 minutes, which defines how long the door has been tested to withhold fire and smoke.
Fire rated doors can be supplied with a variety of different hardware including lever handles to be used as a personnel door or panic exit hardware for escape.
There are a range of different frameworks used to test doors and the legal requirements are different for both internal and externally rated steel doors.
External Steel Fire Rated Doors
Due to relatively new legislation all external steel doors are now required to be either CE (Europe) or UKCA (UK) marked, which involves a fully audited application process, whereby the doors are sample tested and fire tested to achieve EN 1604 before extending the application further into a full factory audit to achieve the CE mark required.
Internal Fire Rated Doors
Unlike External Steel Fire Doors, Internal doors currently aren’t required to be CE or UKCA marked, however this may be something to change in the future. However still undergo rigorous fire testing by an external party to achieve the length of fire rating i.e. 90 minutes.
Non Fire Rated Fire Exit (Panic Exit)
These doors are used as a means of escape and therefore often aren’t required to be certified against fire. In many applications a Steel door is required simply as a fire exit, to enable people to escape in the event of a fire or emergency and not required to hold fire in. In this instance a standard steel personnel door can be used a configuration selected which includes panic hardware/ push bar. Push bars are available in a variety of different options depending on who will be using the door set and outside access can also be fitted to a fire exit door, to enable entry from the exterior of the building and providing additional security.
Is there any legislation covering Fire Exit doors?
Yes there are 2 key standards to consider in selecting the appropriate hardware – EN179 is for when a door is used by trained staff where a panic situation is less likely. Alternatively EN1125 is for Panic situations for use where the Public and non trained persons may need to use it. For more information check out the DHF best practice guide https://www.dhfonline.org.uk/media/documents/documents34a.pdf
So which type of door do you need?
Well that really is down to the application in which you are using the doors and the legislation applicable to your project.
The following examples show the type of applications where an external door may be required to be
fire rated rather than a more simple fire exit:
- Escape door onto a roof or balcony where no escape from the location is possible
- The door from the building is in close proximity to another building
- The external door is positioned close to hazardous or flammable materials
- Door opens out onto a busy walkway
Whilst this list in certainly not exhaustive it can give an idea of when a fire rated door may be required.
It is common for customers to request details on a fire door, when in fact they actually require a non rated fire exit. All our Steeldor ranges come with the option of either a standard level handle to be used as a personnel door or with a panic exit push bar for emergency use as standard.
Still no sure what you are looking for?
No problem, call one of our steel door experts today, who can help you to specify the right door for your project.