Not only did 76% of fire doors fail the tests, but 63% of the buildings inspected also had other fire safety issues.
There were more than 100,000 inspections under the Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FDIS) in 2019 in over 2,700 buildings across the UK.
There are also clearly problems with fire door installation as 30% of fire doors nationwide were condemned due to poor installation, with problems including excessive gaps around the door and the use of non-compatible foam.
FDIS manager Louise Halton said: “The buildings that our inspectors visit include sleeping accommodation and those that house the elderly, the disabled, and people with mobility or cognitive needs – some of the most vulnerable in our society. However, the latest data shows that the vast majority of fire doors are not fit for purpose. This paints a very worrying picture of the fire safety of the UK’s buildings, and one that we must all play a role in changing for the better to help protect lives.”
The data also found that 57% of installed fire doors inspected needed small scale maintenance, with the top three reasons for failures including excessive gaps, smoke sealing issues and poorly adjusted door closers, which would prevent the door performing as designed to hold back the spread of a fire.
Independent third party certification of manufacturers is pretty useless if installers and facilities managers do not know what they are doing. Of the buildings inspected, only 24% of fire doors that were third-party certificated were correctly installed and maintained, while 40% of third-party certificated fire doors were condemned due to poor maintenance and 36% due to both poor installation and poor maintenance.
Louise Halton added: “The biggest concern for our inspectors is the lack of knowledge that people have about fire doors. For example, third-party certificated fire doors provide crucial specification information and proof of performance for building owners, but if they are incorrectly installed or not maintained, they will not perform as designed and prevent the spread of fire.
“The correct specification, installation and ongoing maintenance of a fire door can really mean the difference between life or death for occupants, so it’s vital that building owners take responsibility and ensure that their fire doors are regularly inspected and maintained so as to save lives.”