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What is a Fire Door

This comprehensive guide details the importance, construction, installation, and routine servicing of fire doors in commercial properties, as dictated by the National Construction Code and Australian Standards AS

CEO, Firewize
08 Jun, 2023
Fire Door, Warden Intercom Phone & Manual Call Point

In the sphere of fire safety, the role of fire doors in commercial properties is paramount. Their significance is underscored by the National Construction Code (NCC) in Australia, which mandates their use as an integral part of a building's passive fire protection system.

These vital elements help restrict the spread of fire and smoke, thereby protecting lives, property, and ensuring business continuity.

Compliance with the NCC isn't merely a legal obligation; it underscores a business owner's dedication to safeguarding their employees, clients, and assets. In this comprehensive guide, we'll shed light on the many aspects of fire doors, offering insights to empower you to make informed decisions that uphold the objectives for building fire integrity set out in the National Construction Code in commercial properties.

Standards for Fire Door Construction & Installation

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A fire door, as mandated by the National Construction Code (NCC) in Australia, is an integral part of a building's passive fire protection system. Constructed in line with the stringent criteria laid down in Section C "Fire Resistance" of the NCC, these doors serve multiple objectives:

  1. They safeguard people from illness or injury due to a fire in a building.
  2. They protect occupants from illness or injury while evacuating a building during a fire.
  3. They facilitate the activities of emergency services personnel.
  4. They prevent the spread of fire between buildings.
  5. They shield other property from physical damage caused by structural failure of a building as a result of fire.

The construction of a fire door is a meticulous process, one that complies with Specification C2 of the NCC which states, "A required fire door must comply with AS 1905.1; and not fail by radiation through any glazed part during the period specified for integrity in the required FRL." This reference to AS1905.1 is synonymous with adherence to the Australian Standard AS1905.1. 

The scope of AS1905.1 defines fire doors as fire-resistant doorsets used to protect openings in walls and for partitions that are required to resist the passage of fire. This also applies to transom panels over doors, where the panels are contained within the door frame and form part of the doorset. The key components of a fire door typically include a solid core door, some of which are fitted with a sheet metal cladding for added fire resistance, a compatible frame, and door hardware such as a handleset and closer. Each element plays a pivotal role in maintaining the fire resistance level (FRL) and ensuring the door's performance during a fire incident. 

The essence of fire doors lies in their meticulous construction, which ensures their robustness and reliability during a fire event, helping to fulfil the objectives of building fire integrity as set out in the National Construction Code.

Fire Door Installation

The proper installation of fire doors is just as crucial as their construction. Faulty installation could compromise the door's performance during a fire incident, putting lives and property at risk. Consequently, professional installation by certified and experienced technicians is strongly recommended. These experts have a comprehensive understanding of the specifications detailed in AS1905.1 and the National Construction Code, ensuring the door’s fire resistance level (FRL) is not compromised.

The installation of fire doors in Australia must adhere to the standards outlined in AS1905.1. This Standard specifies requirements for the construction and installation of fire-resistant doorsets, which include fire doors. It also applies to transom panels over doors, where the panels are contained within the doorframe and form part of the doorset. Moreover, the installation must also align with the guidelines provided in the National Construction Code, particularly Section C "Fire Resistance", to safeguard occupants and property from the risk of fire.

The process of installing fire doors begins with selecting the appropriate door that meets the fire resistance requirements of the building, as dictated by AS1905.1 and the National Construction Code. The fire door, including the doorframe and hardware such as handlesets and closers, must be compatible with each other to maintain the desired fire resistance level (FRL).

Once selected, the doorframe is first installed into the wall opening. It’s crucial to ensure the frame is correctly aligned and secured. Next, the fire door is fitted into the frame. The door must swing freely and close fully into the doorframe. The door hardware, including handlesets and closers, are then installed, ensuring smooth operation.

Remember, any minor deviation from the required installation process can have a significant impact on the door’s fire resistance capability. Hence, this process should always be performed by professionals to ensure optimal installation as per Australian standards.

Fire Door Installation (General) Requrements

Refer to the National Construction Code and Australian Standard AS1905.1 for comprehensive requirements.

In accordance with the National Construction Code (NCC) and Australian Standards AS 1905.1, the following requirements must be adhered to during fire door installation:

  1. Installation of fire doors and fire-rated frames should strictly adhere to the specifications laid out in the tested prototype.

  2. Fire-rated frame fixings should be spaced no more than 400mm apart.

  3. All pressed metal frames must be filled with an appropriate insulation material to ensure a proper fire rating.

  4. The maximum permitted threshold beneath the door, inclusive of carpet thickness, should not exceed 25mm.

  5. Without floor finishes, the clearance between the door's bottom and the concrete should not exceed 20mm.

  6. A maximum clearance of 10mm is recommended between the finished floor level and the bottom of the door in compliance with AS1905.1.

  7. The door-to-frame clearances at the head and stiles should not be more than 3mm.

  8. All door hardware, including locks and closers, must be tested and approved for use with fire doors.

  9. Trimming on all edges of the door should not exceed 6mm. Should a larger trimming be required, a specially designed door should be ordered.

  10. Fire doors are equipped with internal reinforcing plates to accommodate hinges, locks, and closers. Installers should ensure the door is correctly oriented as per the 'top hinge' stamp and fire rating specification on the door.

  11. Pilot holes of 3.2mm to 4.0mm must be prepared prior to the insertion of screws. The screws used for closers and hinges should be of the 10# gauge.

These requirements are crucial to ensuring fire doors function as intended during a fire incident, underscoring the importance of professional installation and strict adherence to the NCC and Australian Standards.

Routine Servicing (Maintenance) of Fire Doors

AS1851 Test Record Checklist

Routine servicing of fire doors, as mandated by Australian Standard AS1851:2012, is an integral part of ensuring the continued functionality and integrity of these vital safety components. Below are the main procedures outlined in the standard.

  1. General Inspection: This should be conducted every six monthsAccording to AS1851:2012, sliding fire doors should be inspected every three months to ensure optimal functionality and reliability. and includes a general inspection of the door, its frame, associated hardware, and all seals. It's essential to check for any signs of damage or wear and tear that could compromise the door's performance during a fire incident.

  2. Operational Checks: Operational checks should also be conducted every six months. These involve opening and closing the door to ensure it operates smoothly, latches correctly into the doorframe, and that the door closer, where applicable, is functioning correctly.

  3. Maintenance and Repair: If any defects are found during the inspections, maintenance and repairs must be undertaken immediately. The repairs need to adhere strictly to the requirements of the National Construction Code and Australian Standard AS1905.1. This could involve replacing damaged components, adjusting the door closer, or even replacing the entire door and frame if they are significantly damaged.

  4. Annual Verification: A more in-depth annual assessment is required to verify the overall performance and condition of the fire door. This process involves a thorough examination of all aspects of the door, frame, hardware, and seals, with particular attention to the door's integrity and operational functionality.

  5. Record Keeping: AS1851:2012 also specifies the need for comprehensive record keeping. This includes details of each inspection, any defects found, the repairs undertaken, and the name of the technician who carried out the work. This record assists in tracking the door's service history and demonstrating compliance with regulatory requirements.

Please note that all servicing and maintenance should be carried out by trained professionals to ensure the work complies with all relevant Australian Standards and the National Construction Code. This will help ensure the ongoing efficacy of your fire doors, protecting both people and property.


Firewize policy is one of continuous improvement, details of products, procedures or methods described within this document are subject to change without notice. All information provided here is believed to be correct at the time of publication.

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information which is provided in good faith nothing contained herein is intended to incorporate any representation or warranty, either express or implied or to form the basis of any legal relations between the parties hereto, additional to or in lieu of such as may be applicable to a contract of sale or purchase.

This guide is provided solely on the basis that users will be responsible for making their own assessment of the matters discussed herein and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information. Firewize does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information.

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