When talking about fire safety and a building's fire protection you'll often encounter the term 'fire doors' brought up along with sprinkler and alarm systems. This is because fire doors are an effective way of preventing the spread of fire throughout a commercial building. No new building should be without them, especially given the legal requirements surrounding the Australian standard of fire safety and building regulations.
But fire doors are not always the most well-known fire protection among people, and there are often questions asked of them. One of the more common inquiries regarding fire doors is 'how heavy are fire doors?' After all, as they are self-closing you need to be sure that you're actually going to be able to open them in an emergency.
How fire doors operate in an emergency
Fire doors, being an element of passive fire protection, will operate during an emergency without any human input. In fact, they're technically in operation all the time, they just don't work against fire until one starts.
Fire doors are designed to inhibit the spread of fire and smoke in an emergency. When closed they split the building into separate compartments, providing an obstacle for the fire to burn through in order to travel to the next room in order to buy time for personnel to evacuate. 60 minutes is a common time frame for the resistance, but the best fire doors will resist the effects of a fire for 120 minutes.
Fire doors are self-closing, but don't lock down though. They still maintain full door functionality so that personnel can still use them to evacuate. This makes them an excellent and unobtrusive method of fire protection and essential for the key areas that lead to fire exits.
How heavy are fire doors?
In general, fire doors tend to have some heft to them compared to regular doors, though their self-closing nature makes closing them not very difficult. The approximate weights for the standard Australian Fire Controls hinged fire doors are as follows:
38mm thickness- 19 kilograms per square meter
48mm thickness- 22 kilograms per square meter
Though other thicknesses are available on request, the bottom line is that most fire doors are designed to be operated by personnel during an evacuation, as well as to function simply as a door while a fire isn't occurring. As such, despite their weight, they will be able to be easily opened at any time.
Why fire doors have the weight they do
There's no denying that fire doors are heavier than regular doors, and this is the side-product of the fact that they are designed to resist the effects of a fire for as long as possible. All fire doors have a fire resistance level (Fire resistance level, or FRL, refers to how long, in increments of 30 minutes, a fire door can withstand the effects of a fire, as per the AS1530.4 fire test) and more resistant doors will be heavier due to a greater density to the materials used in their construction. The fire test is an Australian standard and is considered the best measure of a door's fire resistance rating.
To read more: What Does Fire Resistance Level Mean?
Sliding doors vs hinged doors
Sliding doors are large sheets, essentially, that run in a track in the ceiling and feature a counterweight closing system.
Hinged fire doors, meanwhile, are like your regular doors at home or in the office and function identically.
Comparing the two types will show advantages and disadvantages to both types, and the right type for you will determine largely on your unique situation.
Sliding fire doors close when their fire alarm is triggered and are not designed to withstand being opened and closed often.
A hinged fire door installation will generally be more straightforward than a sliding fire door installation due to the lack of a track and the more common usage of hinged doors.
Sliding fire doors can work in larger, more open areas where it's unfeasible for a hinged door. This makes them suitable for dividing key areas of warehouses and other commercial buildings with wide open spaces.
Hinged fire doors will be more likely to contain a vision panel, allowing personnel to assess the situation beyond without breaking the door seals by opening it.
Though not commonly used in domestic properties, larger houses can accommodate and benefit from hinged fire doors.
Despite these strengths and weaknesses, neither type is better than the other. The type of commercial building you find yourself in will somewhat dictate which type you will be able to have, though many buildings will have spaces for each type.
Where to get the best fire doors and fire door advice
Regardless of the size of a commercial building, fire prevention and suppression systems are essential, and fire doors are an excellent and unobtrusive way to impede fire and give employees time to evacuate.
Your specific situation will warrant its own unique approach, a methodology that Australian Fire Control takes to heart. With entirely Australian-made products as well, you can count on a quality product with a quality installation.
So if you want to know more about fire doors, or want to arrange a fire door installation, get in touch with us today.