Fire doorsNew research has revealed that commercial buildings are more likely to be breaking fire door safety regulations and putting people at risk.

The survey of 860 trade professionals revealed that over the past few years 93% of tradespeople have spotted a fire door being propped open illegally with a door stop when they have been working on a commercial or public building.

Commercial buildings containing small or medium sized businesses are the worst offenders with 72% likely to prop doors open illegally, followed by commercial buildings housing large businesses (64%) and public buildings (42%). Tradespeople are also more likely to witness this offence in older, traditional buildings (56%) than in new builds (15%).

The study, which was carried out by IronmongeryDirect, a leading supplier of ironmongery products, also found that 74% of tradespeople have come across a fire door that was blocked or obstructed and 58% have spotted accessibility issues with fire doors in commercial or public buildings.

When respondents were asked to reveal the most common faults they found when checking or maintaining fire doors, 73% said the biggest problem was that many did not have intumescent seals, which are vital for the fire door’s performance.

Other common breaches are doors not closing properly (63%), incorrect signage (49%), general wear and tear (47%) and loose or faulty latches (30%).

In light of these findings, IronmongeryDirect has created a fire door safety checklist to make it easy for people to spot a dodgy fire door and check that it is in full working order. The handy checklist covers all of the essential components that are required to make a fire door fully operational and can easily be taken on the job by tradespeople who have been tasked with installing or maintaining a fire door.

Wayne Lysaght-Mason, managing director at IronmongeryDirect, said: “Fire safety is clearly still a significant problem concerning commercial and public buildings in the UK so having robust safety procedures in place is extremely important to ensure that building occupants and users are safe.

“Fire doors play a crucial part in the fire protection of every commercial, public and multiple occupancy building but as our research shows, more needs to be done to ensure they are installed and maintained properly to comply with fire regulations and provide the utmost protection.

“Our fire door safety checklist can make it easier to spot unsafe fire doors and we hope this encourages more people to check their condition and get them back in good working order.”

Fire Door Safety Week aims to raise awareness of the critical role of fire doors, drawing attention to specific issues such as poor installation and maintenance. It also hopes to encourage building owners and users to check the operation and condition of their fire doors and to report those that are not satisfactory.