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Changing the use of a fire door

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Callum123
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Changing the use of a fire door

Post by Callum123 »

Hi I'm hoping somebody here can advise me on this matter. We are looking to build an outside sitting area at my business and are hoping to change one of our designated fire doors to something that can be used for entry and exit to the building as well as an emergency exit. Can anyone advise me how we would go about doing this and the practical implications of this.

Thanks for any assistance anyone can provide.

Kind Regards,
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Re: Changing the use of a fire door

Post by The devil »

Hmmm... well a fire door is only a fire door on the fire plan.

Change the fire plan !!

I take it you have more than one fire exit?

The door can sill be used as a fire exit, all you need to make sure the door can be opened encase of a fire. Just put a key close by in a "break encase of fire" glass thingy.
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Re: Changing the use of a fire door

Post by Messy »

I think we need to be careful with the description of this door.

A fire door is one constructed from fire resistant materials and is installed as part of the fire separation in a building

I believe the door you refer to is a fire exit door. They do not usually need to be fire resisting.

Only where the doors exit under an external escape staircase or where people need to escape close to the door ( perhaps a narrow alleyway) then the door may have to be fire resisting and fitted with a self closer

There is no problem to have fire exit doors that are in use in both directions. The door furniture could easily to be changed to allow this .

I would warn you not to use a key in a box type door furniture. It's unacceptable in 99% of occasions

The escape width should not be narrowed as people escape into the new outside area and sharp corners should be avoided if possible

Lastly take care if the fire exit enters the outdoor rest area if combustible materials are in use to create a shelter.

Whatever you decide, your fire risk assessment will need to be reviewed and changes recorded

So it's relatively easy to make the change you propose as long as you do not slow, restrict or impede the exit route
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Re: Changing the use of a fire door

Post by The devil »

Messy wrote: Tue Mar 12, 2024 10:51 pm



I would warn you not to use a key in a box type door furniture. It's unacceptable in 99% of occasions

Messy right to a point on this. Its still a common practice on older building I've seen this done on schools and nursing homes. They're being replaced with "push button" systems.

When the fire alarm sounds these doors automatically unlock.

But.....

Fire exits and doors are easy prey to criminals, it's why there all alarmed.

So lets think about a house converted into flats. The main door is the fire exit, the old back door is now part of a ground floor flat and not accessible. Basically there only one fire route while each flat's got a fire door.

The main door will be locked and can be opened easily without a key from the inside by all occupants.

These buildings are insured ageist fire and the local fire officer passed them.

Now in this case, the only real question is:

Can you get insurant after the work is completed?

While fires are uncommon, crime isn't. Criminals know a burning newspaper will set off a fire alarm and automatic doors will unlock. You'd be surprised how much they can take before the fire service arrive.

I'd take this door off the fire plan and treat it like a final exit door. Just like on the house that been converted into flats, make sure the door can be opened from the inside without a key and connected to the burglar alarm.
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Re: Changing the use of a fire door

Post by Messy »

Of course we don't know the use or size of the building referred to in the OP's question, but there's no need to go straight to electronically locked final exit doors

Simple standard door furniture with thumbturn or lever handle inside and a coded lock externally (possibly mechanical) may suffice for a simple low risk building with limited numbers of staff

But where higher risks or numerous staff are expected to use the route, panic (push bar or push pad) devices are possible with external handles to allow two way traffic

https://www.safelincs.co.uk/exidor-296- ... 3WEALw_wcB

As for keys in glass boxes, you have made the hair on the back of my neck stand up by the idea of high risk premises such as residential hones are still using these boxes in 2024.

They can be used, but only where very few persons - up to 5 say?- are expected to use it. The delay in accessing the key, the risk of lacerations and the liklihood that the door will rarely if ever be tested/opened, makes this key in the box feature a museum piece next to dinosaurs and scurvy 😉
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Re: Changing the use of a fire door

Post by witsd »

In my few years of doing FRAs, I've encountered the 'break glass for key' phenomenon a grand total of twice, once in a small factory and once in an office.In both cases there were few people, all were of sound mind and body and there were multiple other escape routes. Even so, they were told to get rid of them.

If I saw one in a residential home I wouldn't even wait to write up the report before I told them to get it changed, but thankfully that's yet to happen.
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Re: Changing the use of a fire door

Post by The devil »

Messy wrote: Wed Mar 13, 2024 9:46 am

As for keys in glass boxes, you have made the hair on the back of my neck stand up by the idea of high risk premises such as residential hones are still using these boxes in 2024.

Would you like me to name and shame. There more than you think :twisted:

I get the feeling Messy not a builder or ever looked at this issue in practical terms.

Callum got a budget and needs to stick to it. its far cheaper to re hang the door so it opens inwards and fit a new lock, than start fitting new push bar. He can keep the fire exit sign.

At the end of the day, its still a door and if there a fire people will use it.
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Re: Changing the use of a fire door

Post by Messy »

The devil wrote: Wed Mar 13, 2024 10:02 am
I get the feeling Messy not a builder or ever looked at this issue in practical terms.

Callum got a budget and needs to stick to it. its far cheaper to re hang the door so it opens inwards and fit a new lock, than start fitting new push bar. He can keep the fire exit sign.

At the end of the day, its still a door and if there a fire people will use it.

With respect The Devil, Callum appears to have come to this site asking for technical fire safety advice re this door and not practical advice how to fit the door or locks. I am sure there are plenty of carpenter led YouTube videos which can do that.

Talking of respect, I am not sure why you need to challenge my credentials or competence. The advice you are giving is wrong, non compliant and more worryingly, potentially dangerous. Giving advice to fit the door inward opening without knowing more about the circumstances is negligent

The strap line of this excellent site is There is no such thing as a 'stupid' or 'daft' health and safety question. Sadly, you have proved that mantra does not apply to your answers.

I am sure you will come back with some abuse. Fill your boots. I have said my piece and won't enter any slanging match. That is not what this site does. In the 18 years I have been a member of this site, I have never had call out any dangerous advice. But I will do so again if necessary
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Messy

Post by 1804 »

This may be a little sycophantic but following the locked topic (Admin. unlocked to add this response) regarding changing the use of fire doors, in a previous role Messy was hired by the organisation(NHS Trust) for which I then worked to provide training, as he was, and is, the best we could find. Phenomenal. If you knew the guy, and his training, experience and seniority in the Brigade, and his subsequent leadership of fire safety for a major multinational institution, you would perhaps think twice about calling him out. If I need advice about fire safety or management, there is no one I would go to before asking his opinion, and I have been doing fire safety for a long time.
Just saying. And he has responded with humility and decorum, as would be expected of the dude.
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