Five principles to maintaining a fire door Risk Management & Advice

Five principles to maintaining a fire door

Maintaining your fire doors is a simple and straightforward process. Although, it is advised that you have a plan to inspect them. A regularly maintained fire door will save lives and properties by providing a suitable escape route, preventing fire, and spreading smoke in a fire outbreak. You owe it to every person stepping into your building and their families to maintain your fire doors. This is a moral and legal obligation. If you want to maintain your fire doors effectively, you should be familiar with these five principles.

The legal requirement for fire door maintenance

According to the Fire Safety Order, all fire-rated doors must be correctly installed and properly maintained. Failure to adhere to this legal obligation means that your doors will be considered unfit for purpose, and you have breached the safety order. This could lead to prosecution or the closure of your building. Please visit the Fire Door Inspection Scheme for more information on ensuring your door complies with the regulation.

Checks need to be conducted every six months.

Fire door maintenance doesn’t have to be daily, but you should plan to conduct an inspection every six months or once a quarter in a newly occupied building. If it’s a busy building where fire doors are regularly used, it is good practice to check for damages weekly. Remember to keep inspection records and encourage staff to report any issues.

Checking a fire door and frameset

When conducting an inspection, ensure the job is carried out thoroughly to comply with regulations. This involves ensuring the gap between the door frame, and the door is right, and the seals are not damaged. The gap around the door frame should be about 3-4mm all the way around. Ideally, a pound coin can be used to check the gap around the door. Also, the signage should be correct, and the transfer grille should be free of blockage. Check that the smoke seals are in good condition and fit the entire length of the door whilst being secure in the groove. If seals are incorrectly fitted or damaged, they should be replaced with the same size and intumescent material that was specified originally. If smoke seals have to be replaced, these should be fitted in a continuous length if possible.

Fixing Found Faults

If your inspection reveals that your fire doors need repairing, then you should do it as soon as possible. Ensure that any replaced components are compatible with the door and the right tools were used to conduct repairs. If you are unsure of any components, check your fire door certificate data sheet or contact the manufacturer. When checking for faults, ensure that your fire door is in a fully closed position and the door seals are correctly in the door frame when not in use. To check this

  • Open the door fully and check that it closes without dragging across the floor
  • Open the door to approximately 5 – 10 degrees wide and check that it properly closes, engaging any seal or latch.
  • The door closing speed should be five seconds from a 90-degree angle, ensuring that it does not slam shut.
  • Hinges should be screwed firmly into the door frame with no visible marks, wear or stains around the hinge knuckle.
  • If you have multiple fire doors, it might be a good idea to buy a digital force gauge that helps you to identify the opening and closing forces.


Fire doors should meet the British Standard EN 12519 and be marked and certified tested by the British Woodworking Federation (BWF). This label should be placed at the top of the door or just below the door set hinge. The label should not be painted over or tampered with as it invalidates its certification. If the label is damaged, contact the manufacturer immediately.


For guidance on a number of risk management subjects along with our comprehensive Fire Door Guide, which gives further information on the specification and maintenance of Fire Doors, subscribe to our newsletter.


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