Fire & Life Safety Guidance | Door Hardware Online


Code of Practice: Hardware for Fire and Escape Doors 

Fire compartmentation doors are a crucial part of a building’s passive fire protection system. They resist the spread of fire and smoke and help to protect escape routes. In the event of a fire, fire doors must close and are typically equipped with self-closing devices, such as Briton overhead closers. If self-closing devices are not in place, fire doors must be kept locked shut. Clear signage should indicate the purpose and required status of these doors. Doors that are kept locked shut must not obstruct escape routes and are usually doors to cupboards, store rooms, or similar spaces.

Escape doors provide safe unhindered egress from buildings in the event of an emergency. Escape doors are not always fire compartmentation doors. Where this is the case they should not be referred to as fire doors but as escape doors or emergency exit doors.  All escape doors, irrespective of their location or desired security levels, must be ‘free from fixings’ – i.e. easily openable by all persons without the use of a key. Planned maintenance routines are essential to ensure the continuous safe operation of both fire compartmentation doors and escape route doors.

Briton 2130B.C.SES | Door Closer (2130)Briton 376.SE | Push Bar - Vertical Panic Bolt (376)Briton 9963/01.SE | Electro HO/Free Swing Door Closer (996)Briton 1438.SE | Push Pad - Rim Latch (1438)


Evidence of Performance

  • Fire and smoke-resisting doors & frames must have evidence to demonstrate they resist the spread of fire and/or smoke according to the following test standards:
  • Fire resistance: - either BS 476-22 or EN 1634-1; the integrity performance is stated as a period of minutes, which must be at least equal to the figure demanded by the relevant regulation (see below).
  • Smoke leakage: - either BS 476-31.1 or EN 1634-3.

Evidence may take the form of:

  • A single test report (in which case the evidence relates only to the configuration tested);
  • An assessment by a fire test laboratory, based on a range of test reports;
  • Third-party certification, based on product sampling, testing and auditing of the manufacturing process.

The evidence of testing must apply to the installed door and frame assembly, as even minor differences can impact performance. Proper installation and maintenance are crucial to ensure that doors and frames function as required.

Fire compartmentation doors are required to be self-closing unless they are kept locked shut when not in use. Self-closing for a hinged or pivoted door means the door can close into the frame from any angle.


Doors on escape routes must be free from fixings – usually in the direction of escape.  Escape doors may be fitted with exit devices incorporating latches or bolts. Exit devices must be operable (without the use of a key) usually in the direction of escape and without the necessity for more than one mechanism to be manipulated. Doors opening against the direction of escape may be permitted where occupancy is low and users are familiar with the hardware providing escape. Certain alternative door types, such as automated doors, sliding doors and revolving doors will require specific features not covered here.


Certifire is an independent third-party certification scheme that guarantees the performance, quality, reliability, and traceability of fire protection products. Recognized by regulatory authorities worldwide, it is an internationally respected symbol of fire safety and one of the most authoritative in the industry. Many products have Certifire approval - look for confirmation alongside the product listing.


Many Door Hardware Online products have extended guarantee periods of up to 30 years. Please refer to individual product pages for specific information.

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