Do I need a fire door or an escape door?
Fire door, fire-resistant door, fire escape door, fire exit door, emergency escape door, panic door, are all commonly and often inappropriately used names to describe the purpose of a door. At DoorTechnik, we use the following three naming conventions for clarity:
A fire door for the UK has to be fire rated in accordance with BS476 parts 20 and 22 or BS EN 1634. This means it should maintain its structural integrity for a period of time in the event of a fire.
An escape door is one that allows people to quickly pass through, even if it is locked. The door should be hung to open in the direction of exit, and be fitted with simple fastenings that can be easily operated by people making an escape. The operation of those fastenings should be readily apparent and without the use of a key and without having to manipulate more than one mechanism. Differing locking mechanisms may be fitted depending upon whether the users are familiar or not with the mode of exit. Additional security mechanisms may be used when a building is empty, but the safe operation of those devices is subject to a management procedure.
For commercial and public building, this normally means that:
- Escape functions take priority over security
- Escape doors to be used by members of the public, or if the room has a capacity of more than 60 need a full width panic bar.
- Escape doors to be used only by internal staff and not by members of the public, may be fitted with either a push pad, or escape lock with lever handle.
- Deadlocks may be used for the security of empty buildings, but whenever a building is in use, those locks must be safely unlocked. A common management procedure is to unlock in the morning and then lock up again at night, recording that this has been done.
Fire Rated Escape Door
This door combines all the features of a fire door and an escape door. The door will be fitted with escape furniture or no furniture and will also maintain its structural integrity for a period of time in the event of a fire.
For England, further guidance concerning fire doors and escape doors may be found in the following publications:
- The Building Regulations 2010, Approved Document M
- The Building Regulations 2010, Approved Document B
- BS EN 1125: 2008 Panic exit devices operated by a horizontal bar.
- BS EN 179: 2008 Emergency exit devices operated by a lever handle or push pad.
Other countries may use differing standards, but we can often provide doors to approved equivalents.