When it comes to ironmongery in fire doorset specification, ultimately, it’s the responsibility of the designer to get it right but this is frequently tiered down to the supply chain.
However, the margin for error is small but the consequence can be great, and different design and specification choices can affect the compliance of your overall doorset, leading to fragmentation and forcing us to question:
Whose responsibility is it really?
Here’s our take on it.
We need to start with testing.
Legislation requires that fire door assemblies must be fully representative of a full-size tested construction including “essential ironmongery”.
The definition of “essential ironmongery” is ‘items vital to achieve the desired level of performance of a fire door assembly’.
It is extremely important that compatible products are used and correctly installed along with any fire resistance protection needed.
So what is Essential Ironmongery (Hardware)?
Pivots or hinges that attach the door onto the frame and may also help to stop the door bowing.
Door closing devices, typically an overhead door closer or floor spring that ensures the door closes reliably and stays shut.
Latch or lock that is used to secure the door to prevent unauthorised use.
It is extremely important that compatible products are used and correctly installed along with any fire resistance protection that is needed.
Important to note, when we test fire doorsets we use two standard ironmongery set types, one using a self-closing device set and the other using a latch (locking) device set.
What’s the difference? During a fire test, the door leaf will move as it burns, including bending towards the flame. Whilst either ironmongery set will satisfy the fire test, as greater than normal widths or heights of door leaves become larger the movement is greater and the pressure a self-closing device or pivot set can exert may not be strong enough to keep the door within the frame. However a latch or lock keeps the leaf in a fixed position for longer and often we are allowed to make leaves taller or wider when using a latched doorset.
When we use due diligence to ensure a doorset remains fully certified we will refer to the ironmongery and two matrix to determine certification.
Non-Essential Fire Door Ironmongery
In contrast to Essential ironmongery, we have also Non Essential Ironmongery. This is still required to make a doorset work but has no bearing on the performance of the fire doorset during a fire. Providing it meets an approved specification. Non-essential ironmongery examples are push plates, pull handles, air transfer grills, security viewers and the like.
All ironmongery either essential or non-essential installed must be CE marked, approved and listed on the Door Fire Certificate to ensure performance. In every single fire door, you need to be specifying essential ironmongery to achieve compliance.
So, Who Is Responsible and where could it go wrong?
Option 1: If you specify the whole fire doorset (including hardware) from the manufacturer, it is their responsibility to supply you with essential CE marked ironmongery to meet the certification of the doorset. They have the skillset and certification to understand the performance of the doorset within a fire and to list the essential ironmongery correctly.
Option 2: However, if you choose to get the manufacturer to make the fire door but use a different supplier for the ironmongery, or with respect to our architectural ironmongers, they specify the doorset in addition to the ironmongery, the lines of responsibility get blurred, leading to a lack of accountability.
Therefore, the designer – and quite often this is the architect – is the person who is ultimately responsible for delivering a safe, compliant result.
Make the easy choice: go for option 1.
It’s crucial that you don’t overlook the hardware within your doorset. One incorrect design choice can have detrimental consequences to the user, not to mention your reputation.
At RW Joinery, we are here to help you make the best and safest option for your fire doorset. We tell you how it is. And sometimes this means being realistic with the design choices you make.
Specifying a fire doorset from RW Joinery will guarantee a fully fire-rated solution for your client, so, get in touch today for a no-obligation conversation about your upcoming project.
We look forward to hearing from you.