sustainability in fire door construction

The Importance of Sustainability in Fire Doorset Construction

Sustainability in construction is a much-discussed topic right now, and one that, off the back of the COP26 summit, is something that will continue to be addressed as the UK works towards its Net Zero Carbon aims.

In tackling the issue of climate change and the construction industry, better material choice features heavily the literature as an accepted, actionable step towards net zero, which is why many building product businesses are putting material choice at the forefront of their product development initiatives.

Fire doorsets, which are constructed of timber, are sustainable in their nature – since they are inherently renewable and a natural insulator, making them highly energy-efficient.

Yet is having a timber fire doorset enough to tick the sustainability box? In this post, we explore that question and more…

FSC Certified Doors

As discussed in the introduction, timber, as a material, possesses a myriad of eco-credentials, but it is important that you’re aware of how that timber is sourced.

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is at the forefront of the regulation and control of the world’s timber resources. It runs a global forest certification system to ensure forests and the people and wildlife who call them home are well cared for and managed to the highest environmental, social and economic standards.

Trees that are harvested are replanted or allowed to regenerate naturally, and chemicals such as atrazine (a chemical directly linked to water pollution and wildlife birth defects) are prohibited.

So, in short, an FSC certified door means that you’re directly supporting the protection of our planet.

This isn’t to say that non-FSC certified doors are bad, however. It just means they are not guaranteed to ensure the upkeep of the planet’s forest and the wildlife in the same way that the FSC do. Yet, in a time when sustainability in construction is constantly called into question, an FSC certified fire door is a great way to demonstrate sustainable practices.

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Timber Fire Doorsets Deliver Unparalleled Thermal Performance

One of the biggest challenges in reducing emissions from the energy system to net-zero by 2050, according to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), is the decarbonisation of building heating.

This will inevitably require the creation of buildings that are highly insulated in order to limit thermal bridging.

Fire doors constructed primarily of timber are an obvious choice in the goal for a well-insulated environment, and when used alongside a ‘whole building approach’ to thermal performance, can help to greatly improve thermal efficiency in buildings.

How is timber a thermal insulator?

Timber contains air pockets within its cellular structure, which is the main reason behind its thermal performance, and why it’s classified as a ‘natural insulator.’

In fact, it is 15 times better than masonry, 400 times better than steel and 1770 times better than aluminium in terms of insulation.

Economic Sustainability

A much broader definition of sustainability must be addressed when discussing fire-rated doorsets. For this reason, economic sustainability should not be neglected.

Fire continues to cost the economy substantially, with most recent studies highlighting an annual cost of £8.3 billion.

A fire doorset’s main purpose is to protect property and lives. This is made clear in this video from Vicaima, which demonstrates the devastating damage caused by an incorrectly fitted and specified doorset, compared to that of a well-manufactured, installed and maintained doorset.

Videos like this and countless others emphasises how fire doors can protect the fabric of a building in the event of a fire, limiting its spread and containing it to minimise the level of damage.

Sadly, there are many incidences where the contrary has occurred – when a neglected fire door has failed, causing irreparable damage to buildings, and even costing lives.

The Importance of Fire Door Assembly

To repeat the point made earlier in this post, every fire doorset should be correctly designed, manufactured, fitted and maintained – with all elements of the door assembly being compatible.

This is best achieved through the specification of a complete doorset. This includes the frame, door leaf, intumescent fire and smoke seals, glazing and ironmongery, whilst avoiding Value Engineering to cut costs.

We have numerous articles that cover these points, including:

The Impact of Value Engineering in Fire Doorset Specification

Fire Door Installation: I’ll Get My Guys to Install Them”

The Golden Thread: Doorset Manufacture, Installation & Maintenance

 

To Conclude

The subject of sustainability is a hot topic right now, and as a specifier, it’s important that a holistic approach is taken to ensure sustainability in terms of material, economics and social function.

At RW Joinery all our fire doorsets are manufactured in accordance with the FSC – and our trigon of companies (RW Joinery, RW Maintain & RW Install) will ensure seamless, cradle to grave fire doorset certification.

If you’d like to speak about your upcoming project, feel free to speak to an expert today.

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