Are you specifying the correct closers for metal fire doors?

Specifying a door closer for a metal fire door has historically been fairly straightforward; a specifier will look for documentation to see if a door closer is certified and how long it is rated for. However, a recent revision to certification to help improve safety means that this process has become more detailed – and it could catch specifiers out if they are not aware.

While many door closers are stated as being approved for metal fire doors, in a number of cases this only applies to insulated metal fire doors.  And with around 8 out of 10 metal fire doors sold in the UK being the non-insulated type, this means many door closers are not fit for purpose – with potentially disastrous results.

Non-insulated metal fire doors provide certified fire resistance for integrity only, protecting against the passage of fire and smoke. However, as the name implies, these fire doors are not certified for insulation and so cannot protect against the passage of heat. This becomes an issue for a door closer that is filled with a mineral or semi-synthetic mixed oil, as it can actually ignite when it reaches a high enough temperature. While UNION door closers are filled with an inert glycol oil which will not ignite, other brands of door closers use a flammable oil and thus their correct use should be carefully checked.

Certifire, the testing organisation, has recently revised its certification to more accurately state the type of metal fire door a door closer is approved for use. But with so many installers and specifiers unaware of this risk, UNION is urgently calling on installers and property owners to check any door closers fitted to non-insulated metal fire doors are suitable.

David Hindle, Head of Door Closer Sales at UNION, explains, “This is a hugely serious issue that all specifiers and installers need to be aware of. We believe many door closers could have been incorrectly specified for non-insulated metals fire doors, which could pose a real danger to lives in the event of a fire. Certifire has taken a proactive stance on this matter and updated the certification documents to give a specifier or installer more detailed information.

“Professionals can overcome this issue by following three simple steps. First of all, check all relevant Certifire documentation and make sure this has been updated for any recent amendments. Next, check whether the documentation includes details on the type of fire doors that the door closer has been tested on. Finally, where metal fire doors are covered, are there any restrictions on the type of fire door?  By following these steps you can discover if you have any issues to resolve with your door closers.”

For complete peace of mind, all UNION door closers are supplied with a glycol mix that has been successfully tested on non-insulated fire doors by two UKAS accredited fire testing facilities. Therefore, those choosing a UNION door closer can be safe in the knowledge that they are fitting a device that does not contain an oil that could possibly ignite in the case of a fire. Anyone worried that they may have a door closer that is not safe can also call 0845 2232124 for more information and advice.

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