Gaps Underneath Fire Doors

What is the maximum gap allowed under a fire door?

The maximum gap allowed under a fire door is usually 10mm. However, this is not always the case. It is essential to consult the manufacturer’s guidance for the specific type of door that has been installed.

Why should I worry about the gap under my fire door?

Fire doors need a bit of a gap around them to swing freely above the floor covering. However, if the gap is too wide, the fire door’s effectiveness will be compromised. In that case, the door may not provide the protection that it should if a fire breaks out.

All Responsible Persons for fire safety have a legal obligation to maintain their fire doors in accordance with its certification. There is new legislation for the maintenance of fire doors in residential flats. As a result of this legislation, thorough fire door checks must be caried out every three months in properties over 11 meters high, or containing two or more separate dwellings. Consequently, if fire doors are found to be non-compliant, and there are no plans in place for repair or replacement, the Responsible Person could be prosecuted.

Are gaps allowed under fire doors?

Yes, fire doors should have gaps underneath them to allow free movement and ventilation. The allowance for the size of this gap varies between manufactures and must fall within the specified range for that door. Therefore, as recommended in BS 8214:2016 – 9.5.3, you should check requirements with your fire door manufacturer. This is the only way to ensure that every door on your premises is complaint. The door manufacturer should be able to give you specific advice for your circumstance.

If smoke protection is required by Building Regulations, the maximum gap underneath the fire door is reduced to 3mm.

How to fix fire door gaps

Surface mounted drop-down smoke seals or rebated drop-down smoke seals can be fitted to existing fire doors if the gap is too large. Usually suitable for gaps of up to 14mm, they can be attached to the bottom of the door. When the door closes, a plunger makes contact with the door frame and lowers the seal to the floor, closing the gap under the door.


Surface Mounted Drop-Down Smoke Seal

Need further advice?

Gaps underneath fire doors aren’t the only place where compliance issues can arise. To carry out a full fire door check, why not use our free fire door inspection checklist? If you find that your door is unsuitable and needs to be replaced, you can view our range of standard and bespoke fire doors, or contact our friendly and knowledgeable fire door team at 01507 462 176 or email firedoors@safelincs.co.uk.

If you would like further advice or information about your fire doors, read our Fire Door FAQs or fire door guide.

Why is my smoke alarm beeping?

Is your smoke alarm beeping in the night and keeping you awake, or disturbing your day? Whether you have mains powered, interlinked smoke alarms, or battery powered smoke alarms, follow our guidance below to troubleshoot the beeping.

What sound is your smoke alarm making?

Smoke alarm sounding continuously

  • First check there is no smoke or fire in your property
  • Make sure the beeping is definitely coming from your smoke alarm. Other alarms in the property such as a carbon monoxide alarm or burglar alarm could be responsible for the noise.
  • Clean the alarm if it is dusty or dirty. Vacuum around the alarm or use a hairdryer to blow out dust on a cool setting.
Replace by date on the back of a smoke alarm | smoke alarm chirping in the night
Replace by date on back of smoke alarm
  • Check the replace by or manufacture date on your alarm. Smoke alarms usually last for a maximum of 10 years, so if the manufacturing date is approaching 10 years or more than 10 years, it’s time to get a new smoke alarm. Sensors inside the alarm deteriorate after this time causing the alarm to be less effective.
  • Check the position of your alarm. There are different types of smoke alarm suitable for specific locations in your home. Find out more below about positioning your alarm.
  • Your smoke alarm may be damaged or have developed a fault. Exposure to water, fire, grease and certain types of paint can cause a fault to develop. If there is a fault, replace your smoke alarm immediately to protect your home and family.

Smoke alarm chirping intermittently

  • Replace the battery* in your smoke alarm. Ensure you are using the correct battery type and are inserting it the correct way around. If the battery is low, it is more likely to sound at night as a drop in room temperature can impact the battery’s ability to power the alarm.
  • Check the manufacture date on your alarm. Smoke alarms usually last for a maximum of 10 years, so if the manufacturing date is approaching 10 years or more than 10 years, it’s time to get a new smoke alarm. Sensors inside the alarm deteriorate after this time causing the alarm to be less effective.
  • Your smoke alarm may be damaged or have developed a fault. Exposure to water, fire, grease and certain types of paint can cause a fault to develop. If you suspect a fault, replace your smoke alarm immediately to protect your home and family.

How to stop wired alarm chirping intermittently

* All new or recently extended homes should have mains powered, interlinked alarms fitted which also have a back-up battery. Intermittent chirping in mains-powered alarms is often caused by low power in the back-up battery.

Replacement batteries for smoke alarms

Smoke alarms usually require either Alkaline AA batteries, an Alkaline 9V battery or a Lithium 9V battery. Buy replacement smoke alarm batteries as soon as possible to ensure that your family would be alerted to a fire in your home.

Mains powered smoke alarm need replacing?

Whether your smoke alarms are mains powered or battery powered, they should be replaced after 10 years due to a deterioration of the sensors. Battery alarms are easily changed and installed, but how do you replace a mains powered alarm? Most mains powered alarms can be replaced without the need for an electrician if you purchase the exact same model, if still available, or an Easichange® replacement where applicable.

Discontinued smoke alarm need replacing?

If you need to purchase a replacement alarm, but find that your existing model has been discontinued, we have a dedicated collection of replacement smoke and heat alarms. This range consists of models specifically chosen to be the simplest, most direct replacement alarms that can often be installed without the need for an electrician.

Related help guides:

Preventing false alarms

The type of sensor an alarm has determines where it should be positioned in the home. False alarms may be due to the wrong alarm type being used in or near a steamy, dusty or smoky environment.

  • Heat alarms are more suited to areas such as the kitchen or garage that are often smoky or dusty. Other types of sensors would be prone to false alarms in these areas.
  • Optical smoke alarms are ideal for bedrooms, living rooms and ground floor hallways.

To avoid causing false alarms or affecting the performance of an alarm, it is good practice to avoid installing alarms in the following locations:

  • Next to a door, window, air vent or fan that would create a draft
  • Outside
  • Anywhere that airflow would be obstructed by curtains or furniture
  • Locations that are steamy or humid such as a shower room

Find out more about positioning your smoke alarm in your home or take a look at our help guides for more information about types of alarm sensor.

Always ensure you act as quickly as possible to change or replace a defective smoke alarm to keep your home and family safe. If you require any further assistance, contact our customer service team on 0800 612 6537 or email support@safelincs.co.uk.

Mel Saunders

Head of Marketing

Mel joined Safelincs in 2020 and leads the content and marketing team.

Latest Posts by Mel Saunders

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Educating residents on the importance of fire door regulations for flats

The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022, which was implemented on 23rd January 2023 sets out new fire door responsibilities for Responsible Persons of multi-occupied residential buildings. Part of these new responsibilities involves inspecting flat entrance doors and educating residents about the importance of fire doors. We explore these new fire door regulations for flats and give guidance about implementation and what is expected from the Responsible Person.

What are the new fire door regulations for flats?

From January 2023, the following fire door regulations apply to any residential building with more than 2 dwellings:

  • Residents should be provided with information about the importance of fire doors to ensure that they are being used correctly. Distributing our free Residents Fire Door Fact Sheet among your tenants could save lives.
  • Regularly inspect all fire doors (as specified by your fire risk assessment) and record evidence of the inspections. This free fire door inspection checklist can be downloaded and used as a template to record inspections. Using a Fire Door Gap Gauge will help to effectively measure gaps around the sides and top of fire doors to ensure they are within the required limits.

These additional regulations apply to buildings over 11 metres in height:

  • Every 3 months, the Responsible Person must check all fire doors in communal areas of the building.
  • Annually, the Responsible Person should make ‘best endeavour’ checks on every flat entrance door within the building.

What is a ‘best endeavour’ check for flat entrance doors?

Under these new fire door regulations, checks on flat entrance doors must be carried out once a year. The Responsible Person must therefore make a ‘best endeavour’ to gain consent from the tenant to enter the property. This is essential for Responsible Persons to be able to carry out their legal duty to check fire doors.

Permission to access flats must be sought in advance of the intended inspection, with at least 24 hours’ notice. This should be requested multiple times. If residents are unresponsive, supplement with educational material on the importance of fire doors and new legislation to encourage cooperation. Make contact in writing, either via email or dated written letter, to keep a record of ‘best endeavour’ attempts to inspect flat front doors.

The importance of fire doors in flats

Example of Fire Door Keep Shut sign

Fire doors save lives: Flats that open out into communal areas are legally required to have FD30 ratings. This means that they can withstand fire for at least 30 minutes. If a fire starts in one flat, the fire door will stop flames and smoke from spreading to communal areas and corridors. This provides enough time to for residents to escape the building safely. The responsible person has a legal responsibility to make sure all fire doors are in good working order. They must also ensure that that fire door regulations are followed at all times in the building.

Keeping fire doors closed: A fire door can only contain a fire and smoke if it is closed. Fire doors should always be fitted with a door closer to ensure that the door automatically closes after use. If residents prop open fire doors for any reason, the door will not work. This means that the building’s safety will be put in jeopardy.

Educating residents on the importance of fire doors

Information about the importance of fire doors must be available in communal areas. Ensuring residents are aware of the importance of keeping fire doors shut can be challenging, especially if tenants change frequently. Displaying information in communal areas can encourage tenants to work together to keep the building safe. Ensure that new tenants have been made aware of fire safety procedures when they receive they keys, as it provides an opportunity to ask questions.

Are door closers required on flat doors?

Door closers are required on flat doors to ensure that they are shut when not in use. If door closers are not installed, or have been removed or deactivated, the door may be open in a fire. This will allow smoke and flames to spread throughout the building.

Disengaged fire door closer
Fire doors cannot effectively prevent the spread of smoke and flames if they are not properly maintained

Residents and fire door accessibility issues

Due to their heavy construction and required door closer, fire doors may pose accessibility problems. This can affect disabled residents, those with impaired mobility, older people, or those with young children. In these circumstances, fire doors can seem impractical and a barrier to free movement. Where flat entrance doors are fire doors, tenants may try to find a solution to help them it more easily. Common misuse in this way involves doors being wedged or propped open for convenience, or fire door closers being disengaged.

Fire door propped open

Without effective fire doors in all parts of the building, everyone’s fire safety is compromised. Further to this, the Responsible Person may be liable for prosecution under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Retaining fire doors in residential blocks

There are a number of solutions available that allow fire doors in residential buildings to be held open safely in normal day-to-day use, but will close the fire door when the fire alarm sounds. In BS 7273-4: 2015 Critical (Category A) areas, such as stair wells, it is paramount that fire doors are maintained and effective at all times to slow the spread of smoke and flames throughout the building.

Fireco’s Pro Fire Door Retainer System is one example to enable fire doors to be safely and legally held open, without compromising their effectiveness in a fire, even in Category A areas. This system can be configured with any proportion of Dorgard Pro or Freeswing Pro units to suit the needs of the building, with up to 500 devices in one system. Fire door retention improves ventilation and ease of movement within a building, which reduces temptation for residents to illegally hold them open.

This wireless fire door retainer system is operated by a control hub, which is wired directly into the building’s fire alarm system. During a fire, the fire alarm is activated, and the hub signals every device in its system to release the fire doors, causing them to close. The optional InSite Site Manager cloud remote management system gives you the ability to check the system status, including the status of each individual component, from anywhere.

Mel Saunders

Head of Marketing

Mel joined Safelincs in 2020 and leads the content and marketing team.

Latest Posts by Mel Saunders

Maintained or Non-Maintained Emergency Lighting?7th June 2024
Reasonable Adjustments in Schools14th March 2024
Why is my smoke alarm beeping?13th December 2023