Do Fire Doors Need To Be Self Closing?

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In an emergency situation, a fully functioning fire door could be the difference between life and death. They help to compartmentalise a building, slow the spread of fire and, most importantly, offer building occupants precious extra time to escape. If you use a fire door on a daily basis, you may have noticed that it immediately swings shut behind you; this means that it is fitted with a self-closing mechanism.


But what is a self-closing fire door? And is this feature legally required on all fire doors? The team here at Pyrotec is here to answer all of your questions.


What is a self-closing fire door?


The name itself is pretty self-explanatory; a self-closing fire door is a specially designed door that automatically closes itself after it’s been opened. But why are they necessary? 


Most people will have had no experience in completing an emergency evacuation outside of a drill scenario. This, coupled with the stress and panic of an emergency, can cause building occupants to forget to close the door behind them as they rush to safety. 


All fire doors are constructed using fire-resistant materials and are designed to withstand a blaze long enough to allow occupants to escape. Failure to close a fire door negates the protection it provides, which is why a self-closing mechanism is so crucial.


How do self-closing fire doors work?


You may have noticed that fire doors come equipped with metal arms at the top of them. This is a rack and pinion door mechanism, which will ensure that your fire door always swings shut behind you. It also uses hydraulics to control the speed of the door and ensure it always shuts in a measured manner. 


If you’ve been listening to your fire warden, you’ll know that you should never leave your fire door wedged open. However, this can be irritating if the door is situated in a busy area with constant foot traffic. To combat this problem, you can install an electromagnetic door closer. This clever device will hold the door open but automatically close it as soon as the fire alarm is activated.


Do fire doors need to be self closing?


Under the terms of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, the dedicated responsible person for your building must ensure that only suitable fire doors are installed. This means that each fire door must be fitted with an appropriate self-closing device to meet safety standards. The only exception to this rule is if the fire door in question leads to a service duct or a locked room.


Fire safety legislation has tightened in recent years, with the Fire Safety England Regulations (2022) being introduced in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. These state that there must be ‘regular checks to ensure that self-closing devices are working’. For multi-occupied residential buildings measuring over 11 metres in height, these inspections must be carried out quarterly. This emphasis on the regular maintenance of self-closing devices only serves to emphasise their importance.

Internal fire doors

Benefits of self-closing fire doors


Self-closing fire doors offer a whole host of benefits to any property:


  • Help contain a fire and prevent it from spreading to other areas of the building
  • Offer building occupants extra time to escape
  • Ensure your building complies with all legislative requirements. Failure to ensure your fire doors are self closing could lead to financial penalties or even a custodial sentence in cases of extreme neglect
  • Provide occupants with peace of mind
  • Robust and durable to provide long-lasting protection


Here at Pyrotec, we supply, install and maintain a range of internal and external fire doors to properties throughout Brighton, Eastbourne, Crawley and beyond. Every fire door we supply is made to the highest industry standards and comes equipped with an appropriate self-closing mechanism to ensure your safety. Our BAFE-accredited team has years of experience and can perform a swift installation to have your property protected in no time.


Contact us to find out more about the range of products and services we provide.


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