Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Fire Doors (Fire Resistant Doorsets)
What are Fire Doors?
Fire Doors are an integral component of the fire protection in buildings and are known as ‘passive fire protection systems’. They are installed in walls constructed as fire barriers and each fire door has a fire rating known as a fire resistant level (FRL) as does the wall itself.
The term ‘fire door’ is the common short form used for a ‘fire-resistant-doorset’. A fire resistant doorset consists of a door leaf, doorframe and associated hardware such as closers, handles, locks, vision panels, air grills and matching fire door tags on the door and doorframe. Fire doors are also required to be self-closing and latching.
Fire doors are used for containing the movement of hot gases, smoke and fire, for the safe movement of building occupants and emergency services in the event of a fire.
Should fire doors be kept closed?
Most fire doors are kept closed at all times, however some doors are held open with magnetic devices and will shut automatically upon the activation of a smoke detector, fire alarm system or a sprinkler system in the event of fire. The movement (opening and closing) of a fire door should never be impaired by a door wedge/chock or other obstacle.
Why do you maintain fire doors?
The Fire and Rescue Service Act 1990 (FRSA), section 104D states that ‘The occupier of a building must maintain at all times every prescribed fire safety installation to a standard of safety and reliability in the event of fire’. Fire Doors are a fire safety installation.
Penalties may apply for failure to maintain fire doors.
How do you maintain fire doors?
Fire doors need to be maintained to Queensland Development Code (QDC) MP 6.1 which requires that prescribed fire safety installations for a building are maintained by an appropriately qualified person at intervals that are adequate to ensure the building’s fire safety installations perform to a standard no less than that which they were originally required to meet. Fire doors must comply with QDC MP 6.1 schedule 1, which refers to specific maintenance schedule.
What is the difference between QDC MP6.1 and AS 1851-2005?
Australian Standard AS 1851-2005 Maintenance of Fire Protection Systems and Equipment states that fire doors are to be maintained at 3 monthly intervals.
The QDC MP6.1 overrides AS 1851-2005 and states that fire doors in class 5, 6, 9a, 9c buildings will be maintained at least every 6 months while fire doors in other classes of buildings will be maintained every 12 months.
What is the definition of an ‘appropriately qualified person’?
With regards to passive FSIs an appropriately qualified person is someone who holds a specific licence to carry out work on that particular prescribed fire safety installation. This licence can only be issued by the Queensland Building Services Authority (QBSA).
Does the age of the building effect how fire doors are maintained?
Yes it does. Schedule 1 of MP6.1 identifies ways and time frames for the maintenance of fire doors.
Fire safety installations must be capable of performing to a standard no less than that which they were originally required to achieve.
Does my building have fire doors?
If you are unsure of whether your building has fire doors (or any other FSI) you should look at the plans and specifications which were approved as part of the building’s approval. The building owner should have a copy of these plans and the building’s Certificate of Classification. Alternatively, the local government should have a copy of the building’s approval records in their files. You can also contact a building certifier to confirm the requirements for the building and they will be able to identify your building’s classification and by using the date of approval and the application legislation and codes, the prescribed FSI can be ascertained.
What about asbestos in fire doors?
Some buildings constructed before January 1990 may have fire doors using thermal insulation that is asbestos containing material (ACM). ACM is a health hazard and the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 detail the obligations of building owners for managing and removing ACM. If a fire door is damaged to expose friable asbestos material, the material and door will need to be removed by an asbestos removalist who has a certificate to perform the work issued by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.
For fire doors, where the asbestos is bonded or enclosed, the door must be entered onto an asbestos register for the building, have a suitable label to ensure maintenance workers are aware asbestos is present, and be managed through an asbestos management plan controlling maintenance work and other activities that could lead to the ACM being disturbed.
For further information about asbestos management please contact Workplace Health and Safety Queensland on 1300 369 915 or www.justice.qld.gov.au
Do all Fire doors require Tags?
Buildings approved after 15 May 1975 under the Building Act 1975 all require tags to be fitted to the fire doors. Fire doors that have been replaced after the 15 May 1975 all require tags to be fitted.
Buildings approved before this date are not required to have tags fitted to the fire doors unless required by the local authority at the time of approval.
What information does a fire doors tag need to include?
Fire doors need to be tagged in accordance with AS/NZS 1905.1. the information on the tag includes:
- The component standard – AS/NZS 1905.1
- Fire resistant Level (FRL) – e.g. -/60/30
- Manufacturer’s name (Company name)
- Applicant’s name
- Certifier (Company name)
- Door tag number
- Year of manufacturing
Can you change hardware components on fire doors?
No, it must be conducted by an appropriately qualified person who can install and repair the components on the fire doors.
All the hardware components associated with a fire door are key elements that combine to achieve the overall FRL that the fire door complies with and is certified to. These components must be tested and approved by a registered testing authority.
What signage do I need on my fire door?
Fire door signage needs to comply with the legislation requirements that applied when the building was approved. The QFRS recommends that signage is installed to the current Building Code of Australia (BCA); section D2.23, which outlines the requirements for door signage.