What is a Nominal Fire Door?

Nominal fire doors are doors that have no evidence of certification and thus no indication of fire separation performance, but in the opinion of an assessor, will hold back a fire for a certain period of time.

You may find instances in which a fire door’s certification has either disappeared or never existed in the first place, which can lead to legal uncertainty for building owners and managers.

In this post, we take a look at how existing fire doors can be identified as either certified or nominal.

Read on to find out more…

How to Identify A Fire Door

In most cases, fire door manufacturers will label or plug their fire doors to confirm that the door has been third-party verified.

Labels to look out for:

  • BWF-Certifire
  • Exova BM TRADA Q Mark
  • International Fire Consultants
  • Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB)

Manufacturers who belong to such schemes will label their fire doors – usually on the top edge or with plastic plugs on the hanging edge.

RW Joinery Q-Mark Certification

And prior to installation, a competent installer will retain the label or plug.

However, it’s not uncommon for installers to plane or paint over the label or plug, not only removing key fire performance evidence but also throwing into question the level of competency of the installer himself. But that’s an argument for another day…

In the event of not being able to find a label or plug on the fire door, you may have to seek out logbooks or any documentary evidence of the doors within the building.

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What If You Can’t Find Certification Identification for your Fire Door?

If you can’t find any visible labels or documentary evidence, it can only be – at best – a nominal fire door, even if it does provide sufficient fire protection.

If you find yourself in this situation, it may be necessary to seek careful inspection by a competent person.

But it’s a solid timber door…?

It’s true – solid timber is an excellent material for the construction of fire doors, mainly because when subjected to a fire, it burns at a predictable rate according to its density. So, if you have a solid hardwood door of 44mm+, it has no voids in its core, apertures haven’t been cut out and it’s been correctly installed and maintained, then it’s likely that it will provide a level of fire protection.

However – and this is a big however – a fire door isn’t just a timber door leaf. A fire door leaf is just one component of a fire doorset. You must factor in the door frame, self-closer, hinges, fire and smoke seals and possibly even a lock or latch (and other essential ironmongery).

Therefore, it would be very difficult to assess a fire door’s suitability without the guidance from an expert. This will inevitably require you to get the door removed from its hinges and subjecting it to a thorough inspection, again, from a professional.

Conclusion

There’s no doubt about it – nominal fire doors should be risk assessed. At best, they should only be in place in non-critical locations.

There are qualified fire door inspectors that can inspect nominal fire doors and provide further guidance and information according to their findings.

If you’d like further information on this subject, don’t hesitate to speak to an expert today.

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