Fire doors and why they are important

Fire doors – protect you and your neighbours

Fire doors are important in flats to protect everyone if there is a fire. In a block of flats lots of the doors will be fire doors – this includes your flat front door and doors in corridors, landings and on the staircase.

Fire doors are designed to stop fire and smoke spreading.

Flat front doors

Your flat front door is a fire door and is there to make sure that if you do have a fire in your flat the fire and smoke won’t spread into the corridor. New laws mean that your housing provider or the managing agent for the building must carry out checks on fire doors to make sure they are not damaged.

Your front door should:

  • Close on its own – fire doors are fitted with self-closing devices which can be fitted to the top of the door or be fitted within the frame.
  • Not have big gaps between the door and the door frame.

The law says your housing provider or managing agent must check your flat front door once a year. They will need to inspect the door from both sides and make sure that it closes on its own and there is no damage.

You must not:

  • Change your front door without permission – if you rent, check with your landlord and if you own your flat your lease will explain what permission you need. You may need to obtain building control approval to change your front door and if you don’t you could be breaking the law.
  • Remove or damage the self-closing device on your door.
  • Remove or paint over any strips or seals around the door.
  • Drill any holes in the door – for example to fit a spy hole, change the letterbox or fit a new doorbell.

Fire doors in communal areas

There will be fire doors in other areas of the building, this includes doors in corridors and landings, the doors onto the staircase and doors which provide access to bin rooms and plant rooms.

Fire doors in communal areas should:

  • Always be marked as fire doors – this is normally a blue circle that says ‘Fire door keep shut’.
  • Always close behind you.
  • Never have big gaps between the door and the frame.
  • Never have any visible damage – for example broken glass, holes, cracks or splintered wood.

You must not wedge open doors which are fire doors, or damage the door, the door frame or the self-closing device – you could be committing a crime if you do.

The law says your housing provider or managing agent must check the fire doors in communal areas every three months. If you see a fire door wedged open, please close it and if you spot damage to a fire door report it to your housing provider or managing agent.