Fire Door Inspection & Servicing Guide

There are a myriad of factors to consider when it comes to Fire Door inspection and servicing, so we’re examining the relevant codes.

Fire Doors and Smoke Doors both require regular inspections to ensure the integrity of their functionality and FRL (fire-resistance level) are upheld.

To simplify the process, we’re looking through the relevant ABC’s (Australian Building Codes) so you know when your fire safety gear needs checking.

There are a few measures that can be taken to help save lives in the event of a fire. Of course, safety equipment such as sprinklers, fire extinguishers and fire doors are essentials. If the occupants of the building have conducted multiple fire drills and know where the exits are, that’s even better. However, all of these practices can account for nothing if the fire-safety equipment is not functional.

Building Code AS1851-2012 states that routine maintenance “is concerned with the principle that a system will continue to perform to the approved design when routine service is conducted on a pre-determined and regular basis”. So, what are these pre-determined time periods? Let’s take a look.

Unless counselled otherwise by a qualified fire-safety inspector, these are the measures your building needs to maintain:

  • Fire Doors and Smoke Doors both require an inspection every 6 months at the minimum.
  • Sliding Fire Doors require an inspection every 3 months at the mimimum
  • Fire Doors in private residential apartments require an inspection every year at the minimum
  • Passive fire door systems (such as smoke alarms and sprinklers) require inspection every year at the minimum, although we would recommend even more frequent checks.

Have a fire door related enquiry? We’re happy to help. Contact Fire Safe Doors at [email protected] or call (02) 9070 0732, and we’ll work through a plan for your needs. 

5 Reasons To Install A Fire Door

The reasons to install a fire door go well beyond legal and safety requirements. Here’s why fire doors are worth introducing to your building.

To keep occupants safe

Beginning with the obvious, fire doors save lives. The thought of being trapped inside a burning building is frightful, and anything that can be done to prevent such an occurrence should be undertaken.

The most effective measure that can be taken to prevent this occurrence is a fire door. Fire doors prevent fires and smoke from spreading rapidly, giving occupants ample time to escape the hazard. All functioning fire protection models require at least one fire door to be effective.

To comply with legal standards

Fire Doors aren’t only a moral exercise. They’re a legal one, too.

The components and measurements of all our fire doors are tested to meet relevant building codes to ensure building inspections don’t result in any hefty penalties. Framing, thickness, configuration, size, material and more all come together to make your door a legally sound aspect of your fire protection plan. For example, appropriate fire door signage is just one of the Building Codes met to ensure an installation is ready for use.

You can read the complete Building Codes of Australia here.

Image: Nascon Burwood

To soundproof

Did you know that fire doors can be designed to be soundproof? If you let us know, we can install a fire door tailored to your acoustic requirements. So, instead of spending all your money on acoustic panelling and soundproofing materials, why not install a fire door and kill two birds with one stone?

Acoustic seals installed on fire doors won’t just prevent noise spread and fires. They also limit air draft, so you could end up saving money on your air conditioning bill too!

To preserve your building

A fire door doesn’t just protect people. It protects the building itself. A fire spread throughout your building will cause significantly less damage if fire doors are installed in the right places, saving you from costly building repairs. For example, if you install a fire door in between two hallways, you may only have to rebuild one section of your building instead of all of it.

Preserving your building is well worth the investment, particularly if your building has heritage and has been designed to last a long time. Many older design materials cannot be easily replaced, so protecting these features should be a clear priority.

To improve your fire protection plan

A fire protection plan involves a set of instructions for building occupants to follow in the case of a fire. A solid plan should include smoke and fire alarms, fire extinguishers or hoses on all floors, a clear map outlining evacuation routes, and regular practices of the planned procedure. Still, even if your occupants understand how to operate said equipment and escape the premises efficiently, your chances of survival are significantly limited without installing a fire door.

Think of installing a fire door as the keystone to your fire protection plan. Without it, fire will spread throughout the building much quicker, making the event of an evacuation less than optimal.

Have a fire door related enquiry? We’re happy to help. Contact Fire Safe Doors at [email protected] or call (02) 9070 0732, and we’ll work through a plan for your needs. 

What We Learned From The Cocoanut Grove Fire

The Cocoanut Grove Fire of 1942 was a devastating and deadly event. Fortunately, it pushed fire-safety into public attention, resulting in many safety improvements.

Have you heard about the Cocoanut Grove Fire? The disaster was especially tragic, as many lives could have been saved if fire safety had been more thoroughly considered. Due to a lack of safety exits and extinguishing devices, the fire remains the second-deadliest single-building fire in US history.

We’re taking a look at the specifics of the event, in order to learn why we have the fire-safety protocols we do today.

What happened?

The Cocoanut Grove Fire was a famous Boston nightclub that opened in 1927, frequently visited by celebrities and the like. By the 1940s, it was incredibly popular. On November 28th 1942 (the day of the fire), the Grove’s legal capacity had been broken, with twice the amount of guests inside. This is likely because it was the first Thanksgiving weekend since the country had joined WWII.

How the fire started remains a controversial subject, but this is the most agreed upon belief: One couple removed a lightbulb for more privacy inside, so a busboy was told to replace the bulb. The boy lit a match to better see the dimly-lit area and relight the bulb, however, despite extinguishing his match, the draperies had caught fire.

Smoke and flames spread rapidly through all areas of the nightclub, due to many decorative objects being highly flammable, such as palm trees. Customers rapidly fled for the exits, however many were locked or blocked by the flames. One key escape door was inward-opening and became shut due to the weight of those trying to flee. The revolving exit door also became jammed due to the large number of patrons rushing to escape.

Police, firefighters and the public quickly gathered around the club, but alas, for many inside, it was too late. The fire took the lives of 490 people.

Fire-Safety Updates

Since the fire, many essential fire-safety laws were introduced. Revolving doors could no longer be the sole-escape exit. Fire-escape doors now had to remain accessible (unlocked) at all times. Flammable decorations were also prohibited.

Have a fire door related enquiry? We’re happy to help. Contact Fire Safe Doors at [email protected] or call (02) 9070 0732, and we’ll work through a plan for your needs. 

A Glossary Of Fire Door Terminology

To keep you in the know during the fire door installation process, here are some terms and abbreviations worth understanding.

With every trade, comes a truckload of new terminology, vernacular, jargon, dialect – whatever you want to call it. We’re afraid the world of fire doors is no exception. Installers and inspectors alike will speak with abbreviations and refer to specific measurements when addressing fire doors, so its more than reasonable to ask for clarifications if you’re not sure what they mean.

However, if you’d like to be in the know and learn more about the language that circles the fire door trade, we’ve compiled a list of the most used terminology. So, next time your fire door installer refers to an FD30, you’ll know exactly what they mean. Let’s begin.

Architrave – The moulded strips that go in between the door frame edges and the wall. Covers any remaining gaps.

Bespoke – Customised for specific needs. This term is not exclusive to fire door terminology.

AS1905 – Refers to the fire door building codes laid out by the Australian Government, in both the manufacturing and installation processes.

Core – The designated material that makes up the body of the door.

Doorset – The assembly of items that make up a fire door, including the door leaf, frame, panels and hardware.

Door Leaf – The section of the door responsible for swinging open and shut.

Double leaf – Double door

Door Size – Measured in the following order: height (mm) x width (mm) x thickness (mm).

Intumescent – Intumescent means swells when heated. So, intumescent strips will expand and block a fire due to the temperature increase.

Fire Rated – A verified product that meets the relevant codes and standards, and resists a fire for the predetermined period of time (eg. 45 minutes)

FRL – Fire Rated Level. The standard grading period used by the Building Codes of Australia to refer to the structural adequacy, integrity, and insulation of a fire door. The fire rated level is typically measured in minutes.

Frame Profile – Used to generically describe the cross-section of a frame.

Hung Door – The leaf, hinges and frame all assembled

Trim Size – The area that has been prepared (cut out) for a fire door installation.

Veneer – The coat/finish added to doors to create a smooth texture. Typically applied to coarse woods for added sheen + to avoid splinters.

Have a fire door related enquiry? We’re happy to help. Contact Fire Safe Doors at [email protected] or call (02) 9070 0732, and we’ll work through a plan for your needs. 

A Brief History of Fire Protection

There was a time before fire safety. Before fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, and even fire doors. Let’s examine the journey.

Today, we live in a society built on laws, codes, requirements and restrictions. It’s easy to forget that there was a time before all of this, where a structure could be built with limited protection, allowing fires to run rampant if they got the chance.

Thankfully, Australia’s Building Codes ensure all buildings have a legal standard of protection to uphold, improving safety for all occupants, regardless of status. Let’s run through the journey up to this point, and of course, the invention of the fire door.

Image: Credit – Illinois University

The first significant update to fire safety followed a devastating tragedy in New York, 1911. A fire spread at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company, and numerous factors made it near-impossible for occupants to escape, and for the fire to be extinguished. Doors were locked to prevent theft, trapping occupants during the fire, there was no fire alarm to alert people across the 3 stories, and there was an abundance of flammable objects in the building.

After the tragedy came the NFPA 101 – Life Safety Code. It was an especially significant code for the time because it was “the only document that covers life safety in both new and existing structures” (NFPA). The code introduced new safety laws for all buildings, including tighter restrictions regarding fire escapes, the necessity of fire-drill training, and the recommendation of sprinkler systems. However, there was still plenty to improve.

Once again, another tragedy propelled positive changes in fire-related codes. The Cocoanut Grove Fire in Massachusetts, 1942. The code was updated to include emergency lighting, restrictions on building materials regarding their combustion levels, and the mandatory inclusion of at least one door that swung outward.

By 1980, fire safety in buildings was getting far more serious. Across the globe, changes were being made to codes, setting concrete rules on fire-safety devices. Sprinkler systems had to be installed in buildings with multiple stories, every room and elevator required smoke detectors, and exit maps needed to be displayed.

Zoning in on Australia, our most significant fire code came in 1996, with massive updates to the Building Code of Australia. Requirements for emergency lights, communication systems, alarm systems, portable fire hydrants, fire windows, fire doors, smoke alarms, and much more. Every year, the Building Codes of Australia are reviewed and amended, with fire safety becoming more and more advanced. Substantial progress has been made over the years, but regular inspections and maintenance are still required for up-to-date, legal protection.

Have a fire door related enquiry? We’re happy to help. Contact Fire Safe Doors at [email protected] or call (02) 9070 0732, and we’ll work through a plan for your needs. 

Learning The World Of Fire Doors

Fire Doors are a quintessential aspect of building design and construction. They protect establishments, and more importantly, the people inside them.

Fire Doors have become a safety staple for workplaces, eateries, halls, schools, and establishments everywhere. In the case of a fire, these doors are your ultimate protection until help arrives.

In short, fire doors save lives. Let’s run through the basics of fire doors, from application to aesthetics, to regulations.

What are Fire Doors?

Fire Door is short for a fire-rated door set. The door leaf, door frame, locks, handles and other elements all function together to create the most effective fire-resistant door possible. Fire Doors are also known as passive fire protection devices, meaning that they will serve their purpose without the need for human assistance if installed correctly.

Fire Doors have a range of classifications, depending on their strength. They can range from 30 minutes of withholding fire and smoke all the way to up to 2 hours of prevention. The most common types are the 

  • Sale Occupancy Unit Fire Rating Level -/60/30 (one hour of prevention)
  • Common Property Fire Door -/120/30 (two hours of prevention)


Fire doors can’t be installed by anyone with a toolbox and a good attitude. The stakes are too high. For fire doors to meet government compliance standards and ensure maximum safety, they must be installed by qualified individuals. This includes qualified fire-door installers (us), and some carpenters and buildings. Always double check your installer has the credentials for the job so you don’t have to overspend on a redo.

Image: Dasco Maroubra

Fire Door Materials

While fire doors are there to keep people safe, they are also widely customisable for aesthetic purposes. Heritage buildings, modern workplaces and more all require fire doors with unique materials to match the aesthetic qualities of the buildings. With the right installer, it’s possible to match the fire door to the building without sacrificing functionality. Common types of fire doors include

  • Glass (with fire-rated glazing)
  • Metal Sheeting
  • Wood Veneer

Maintenance and Regulations

You’ll need to have your fire doors inspected half-yearly or annually, depending on the door type. This is a must-do to comply with the strict Building Code of Australia. If your fire doors were installed before the 1990s, it’s definitely worth checking that they weren’t constructed with thermal insulation (aka, asbestos). If so, they’ll need to be removed by a qualified asbestos remover, then replaced. It is the role of the building manager to ensure all fire doors and inspections are up to scratch.

Have a fire door related enquiry? We’re happy to help. Contact Fire Safe Doors at [email protected] or call (02) 9070 0732, and we’ll work through a plan for your needs. 

10 facts you probably didn’t know about fire doors

Fire Doors are above all else, a safety device. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t more too them beneath the surface.

#1 Fire Doors are measured by time

Fire Doors are made of fire-resistant materials and are measured by how long they can compartmentalise a fire before melting. Most wooden fire doors are designed to withhold fire for 30 or 60 minutes (FD30 & FD60). However, specialised doors can be designed to last far longer. What you choose for your project depends on legal requirements as well as your building’s variety of evacuation options.

#2 Fire Doors Expand

Fire Doors are made with intumescent materials, meaning they expand when exposed to heat. Intumescent strips line the edges of a fire door so that the door swells up and seals the fire in. This prevents any smoke or embers from breaking through to the other side.

#3 Fire Doors Can Be Painted

You’re probably used to seeing Fire Doors in their typical, bland design. However, fire doors can actually be painted with high-quality paints without deterring from any safety protocols. This obviously helps the doors blend in with a buildings’ existing aesthetic. Don’t camouflage it though! The fire door should still be easy to locate.

#4 Fire Doors Must Block Out Smoke

Believe it or not, more people die by fires from smoke suffocation, not the actual flames. This is why Fire Doors are designed to completely close off a fire. If smoke is seeping through a fire door before its set time limit is up, it needs maintenance as soon as possible. This leads us to the next fact…

#5 Fire Doors require frequent inspection

Unfortunately, you can’t just instal a fire door and call it a day. For a fire door to be effective, it needs regular inspection to ensure all its components are functional. As the building owner, you are responsible for its upkeep.

#6 Fire Doors Can Go Anywhere

While Fire Doors are a legal requirement in commercial properties, that doesn’t mean you can’t have one installed in your home. In larger homes, fire doors are typically installed close to the kitchen as that’s where most fires begin.

#7 Installing Fire Doors Requires A Licence

There’s a specific licence awarded to those who have been properly trained to install, inspect, and repair. Considering the vital importance of a fire door, this is definitely a good thing. So, even if your tradie mate insists he can do it for you, double-check he has the licence.

#8 Fire Doors Are Made With Various Materials

Fire Doors are usually made with timber or glass, but there are a myriad of options at your disposal should you be inclined. They can be constructed with gypsum, steel, aluminium, and of course, the wonder mineral vermiculite.

#9 Fire Doors Use Vermiculite

Vermiculite is a hydrous phyllosilicate mineral that has become commonplace in fire doors. This is due to it’s extreme heat-expansion properties, ensuring all that smoke stays put.

#10 Fire Doors began in 1904

The first fire rated steel door was invented and patented by Mr Dahlstrom. Over 100 years later, they’re on almost every street, and they’re not going away anytime soon.

Have a fire door related enquiry? We’re happy to help. Contact Fire Safe Doors at [email protected] or call (02) 9070 0732, and we’ll work through a plan for your needs.