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Coroner rules on safety failures including the fire door closer as cause of tragic death

May 8, 2014 by · Comments Off on Coroner rules on safety failures including the fire door closer as cause of tragic death 

sophie rosser
23 year old Architect Sophie Rosser died from burns in the Royal London Hospital after entering a blazing block of flats in an ill-fated attempt to save her boyfriend, who she feared was trapped inside. Coroner Mary Hassell criticised a catalogue of fire safety failures at the apartment block, but ruled the 23-year-old’s death was an accident. The fatal blaze was sparked by a damp towel being left on a wall light in a fourth floor flat at Meridian Place on the Isle of Dogs, east London, in the early hours of August 26 2012. The coroner hit out at a string of failures in the fire safety of the block of flats – which she said was partly to blame for the tragedy. She said the fire quickly spread because the apartment’s self-closing fire door was damaged and got stuck on the floor, and that Miss Rosser’s death could have been avoided if the self-closing fire door was functioning as it should have been. “The fire brigade came quickly. The fire door was a good one and it would have kept the fire back.” She added: “The one thing that would have made the world of difference, other than the fire not being started in the first place, is if the door to flat 101 (where the fire broke out) had been closed.” Doorstuff technical department wonders if rather than the fire door closer, the fire door hinges had failed in this case, causing the door to drop and therefore catch on the floor. Whatever had happened, this terrible event underlines the importance of maintaining fire doors and their associated hardware.

Is there a way of determining the position the hinges need to go on a door?

March 12, 2014 by · Comments Off on Is there a way of determining the position the hinges need to go on a door? 


standard positioning of hinges on a fire door

Hinge positioning is determined by the size, weight and construction of the door and its intended use.  The top and bottom hinges are easy – around 250mm from the top and bottom of the door.  The most common position for the third hinge is in the middle, this is a good position where the loading is normal.  The middle hinge will also stop a door from warping in a humid environment.  Where a door is heavier, wider or has a door closer, then the middle hinge should be moved up to about 200mm below the top hinge.  When four hinges are used due to extra weight, height, width, abuse level, the hinges can be either equally positioned or set as two pairs at the top and bottom separated by about 200mm.

A fire door test at Lorient

February 21, 2014 by · Comments Off on A fire door test at Lorient 

Members of the Institute of Architectural Ironmongers were treated to a fire test at Lorient UK‘s headquarters in Newton Abbot today.  The furnace was fitted with two miniature hinged 30 minute fire doors (FD30s) each with reinforced vision panels.  The door on the left was fully sealed with intumescent materials, which are designed to swell up under extreme heat – sealing the gaps and slowing the progression of the fire.  The door on the right was unsealed.
fire test 1
With observers fully kitted out in safety glasses, at 3.22pm the gas furnace was switched on.  Within 3 minutes the air temperature inside was approaching 500°C and wisps of smoke were seen emanating from around the frame of the unsealed door.  There were occasional puffs from the bottom of the sealed door at this stage and indeed, the unsealed door stopped smoking for a while.  A wide variation in results (up to 15%) is permissible under test conditions within the first 10 minutes of the test, but after that the door’s behaviour becomes more strictly monitored.  There are a variety of intumescent materials depending upon the use; for the purposes of this test Lorient’s 10 x 4mm intumescent fire & smoke seals (made from sodium silicate) were morticed into the frame around the sides & top of the sealed door.
fire test 2
The hinges (Royde & Tucker HiLoad) were backed with intumescent hinge pads made from mono-ammonium phosphate (MAP).  The glass vision panel was surrounded by intumescent glazing gasket made from a graphite compound.  The unsealed door had none of these advantages and, sure enough, 22 minutes into the test at a temperature of 800°C it was well blackened at the top and smoking like a chimney – particularly from the top leading edge corner – opposite the hinge side.  The glass panels in both cases had been crackling away periodically and had begun spitting a few tiny shards onto the floor.
fire test
Two minutes later flames began to flash outside the top half of the unsealed door but this itself is not considered “failure” – this comes when flames are sustained outside the furnace for 10 seconds – and in this test failure occurred for the unsealed door at 27 minutes.  A Georgia Pacific gypsum board was attached over the blazing breach and edged around with Lorient intumescent sealant so the test could continue with our attention drawn to the sealed door.  By now this poor door was really showing the strain, particularly around the vision panel, where the graphite was bulging and sooty grey smolderings were discolouring the top and frame.  The room, part of Lorient’s high tech testing facilities snuggled in the lee of the Dartmoor countryside, was warm but not uncomfortably so – surely the furnace was nicely insulated and extracted – I had been warned that fire tests can become overwhelmingly hot for observers, so this pleased me.  At 42 minutes and a temperature of nearly 700°C insistent flames began licking up from the lower hinge side of the frame – the sealed door surrendered to its fate and the test was over.

Intumescent strips for fire doors

February 16, 2013 by · Comments Off on Intumescent strips for fire doors 

intumescent-fire-sealsFire Regulations require intumescent seals to be rebated into the edge of fire doors to provide passive fire protection. Upon exposure to heat in the event of a fire, the intumescent material swells up to seal the gap between door and frame, this dramatically slows down the spread of the fire from room to room, giving precious time for evacuation and rescue. Depending upon the door and the application, these may be 30 minute or 60 minute fire seals, and they may be just fire seals or fire & smoke, which incorporate a brush or rubberised strip which prevents smoke from passing through the gap. If you’re not sure which ones you need, check with your Fire Officer or Building Control Officer. Doorstuff supplies 3 sizes of each type, available in both white and brown, prices start at £1.17 per 2100mm strip.

I want my fire door to hold open at 90° until someone pulls it, then the door closer kicks in and closes it as normal. What product will do this?

October 22, 2011 by · Comments Off on I want my fire door to hold open at 90° until someone pulls it, then the door closer kicks in and closes it as normal. What product will do this? 

Under Fire Regulations fire doors must not be held or propped open.  Without using an electromagnetic hold open door closer wired into the fire alarm, the only suggestion is to use a delayed action door closer, which can hold the door open for up to 90 seconds, then closing as normal.  I recommend the Geze TS4000S door closer.

How do I choose the right hinge for my situation?

March 12, 2011 by · Comments Off on How do I choose the right hinge for my situation? 

Obviously the variety of door situations, sizes, functions etc. are infinite, but these are some of the factors which need to be considered: Is it a fire, smoke or emergency escape door?  How heavy is the door and what are it’s dimensions (height x width x thickness)?  What is the door’s construction and are there any unusual features to take into account?  Where is the door located e.g. internal or external, near the coast or in a swimming pool? What level of use/abuse will the door be subjected to e.g. office, hospital or school corridor?  What items of door hardware are to be fitted which may affect the hinge performance e.g. door closers or door stops?  Any other unusual features e.g. an arched door, bifolding etc?

I have a fire door in a specialist nursing home caring for vulnerable adults which…

January 20, 2011 by · Comments Off on I have a fire door in a specialist nursing home caring for vulnerable adults which… 

needs to be opened on a regular basis to allow access for staff but which also needs to discourage the residents from using it, for their own safety.  Therefore it needs to be secure but easily opened daily and opened by anyone in an emergency. Have you any suggestions please?
This situation can be addressed using a maglock to secure the door shut, which is operated by a digital code pad on the side which staff need to access from.  The maglock would be wired into the fire alarm, so that during a fire the door is operated by anyone.  The door itself can have a pull handle on one side and a push plate on the other, or can have a simple latch with lever handles.  The maglock is not something we list here online, but contact us for a quote.

Q: Please advise which make and model of door closer would be most suitable for a regularly used internal office fire door?

January 17, 2011 by · Comments Off on Q: Please advise which make and model of door closer would be most suitable for a regularly used internal office fire door? 

A: Depending upon the traffic experienced by this door AND the type of seals (fire & smoke, acoustic etc?) the best and most adjustable door closer for this situation is the Geze TS4000 which is rated for a million cycles.  If the door simply has intumescent strip (no brushes), then a Geze TS2000 or even a Geze TS1500 (rated to half a million cycles) will be perfectly satisfactory and give good service.

Do you supply a 24V door hold open/closer for connection to a fire alarm that can be left open in various positions?

November 29, 2010 by · Comments Off on Do you supply a 24V door hold open/closer for connection to a fire alarm that can be left open in various positions? 

Yes, we do supply a door closer which can allow a fire door to be left ajar, or open at any angle, while connected to the fire alarm system – it is called a Geze TS4000 EFS, and you can read all about it, including the prices, at the link.
ts4000efs-free-swing-door-closer

I have a clinical room door that requires a system or closer that enables the door to be temporarily suspended open when the room is in use, what product can I use?

October 30, 2010 by · Comments Off on I have a clinical room door that requires a system or closer that enables the door to be temporarily suspended open when the room is in use, what product can I use? 

First of all, you need to identify if this is a fire door, as that fact will govern what kind of device you can use.  Hold open arms are available for some Geze door closers, but would be inappropriate for use on a fire door.

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