Fire doors may remain in use for a long time and can have a long life, depending on circumstances. If any changes are necessary over the course of time, the following points should be noted.
- A fire-resistant door must be authorised by building inspectors.
- No alterations are permitted to be made on approved fire doors.
Fire barriers are, according to DIN 4102, part 5, automatically closing doors or gates whose purpose is to prevent the spread of fire. Fire-resistant doors are categorised according to the length of time they can resist fire (T30 = 30 minutes, T60, T90 or T120). Fire-resistant doors must fulfil the following basic requirements:
- they must close automatically
- compliance to fire protection requirements (i.e. they must prevent the spread of fire)
- they must operate reliably over some time (200,000 openings and closings operations)
CEN is currently working out a harmonised European standard for fire doors which shall define the requirements for this category of building products and their supervision. Some of the components of such products are already included in other European standards, which might lead to a temporary overlapping of European and national standards. In any case, adherence to national regulations regarding fire doors is to be given priority.
In Germany, therefore, DIN 18273 is applicable and the appropriate conformity certificate as well as marking of the products with the Ü-sign (Ü for supervision) is required (cf. building regulation list A of the German Institute of building technology DiBt.).
How should fire-resistant handle sets be designed?
In Germany fire-resistant handle sets have to be designed according to the requirements of DIN 18273 if they are to guarantee the fire-resistance of fire doors. This standard is valid for all fire-resistant handle sets used in fire and smoke doors in Germany. In addition to the handle set, other fire-tested parts, such as the lock, the hinges, the door closer etc., also make up the fire door. Should any non fire-tested part be used in the make-up of the fire door, then the above-mentioned requirements may not be met.
Basic features of sets manufactured according to DIN 18273 mean that:
- The materials and assembly of the fire-resistant door handles must be of such that the fire-preventing properties and long-term function of the door are not infringed in any way when fitted to the door under the prescribed conditions and used appropriately.
- The spindle must be made of steel, with 9 mm x 9 mm cross section and be one single solid piece over its full length.
- If fire-resistant door handle sets (for example aluminium sets) are made from a material which melts below 1,000° C (300° C for smoke doors) then, as a rule, all individual parts relating to the correct function of the door handle set (handle with steel core/backplates and roses with steel base/fixing means made of steel) must be made from material which melts above 1,000° C. What is important is that the fire door can still be operated after a fire.
- Fire-resistant handle sets must withstand an endurance test without incurring damage such as distortion or cracks (200,000 opening and closing operations for active door leafs, 100,000 operations in the case of the inactive leave of double doors).
- Doors on escape routes must be provided with door handles the ends of which are suitably shaped (e.g. curving back towards the door) to avoid injury.
HOPPE fire-resistant handle sets meet DIN 18273 requirements (to suit doors up to T90 requirements)
All HOPPE fire-resistant sets have long lugs to bridge relatively large door thicknesses. In the case of sets on rose or short backplate, the lugs have been reduced from a 7 mm diameter to 6.2 mm. This means that the lock hole, depending on the type of door, should be at least 6.5 mm for sets on rose or short backplate. If this is not the case, please state exact dimensions of the lock hole and door thickness.
HOPPE fire-resistant knob (pad)/handle sets are all fitted with a fixed knob or pad and a fixed/movable spindle. In escape routes, knob (pad)/handle sets may only be used when the direction of the way of escape is absolutely clear.
It is usual for panic door handle sets (FS-AP) to be fitted on doors in escape routes. For this reason it is advisable to choose a type of handle in the end of which points towards the door leaf. All door handle sets for locks with a panic function must have both a firm and movable handle bearing. All HOPPE fire-resistant panic sets come as fixed/movable versions with a fire-resistant solid panic spindle. In such a way force is not spread to the lock follower.
Inactive door leaf sets (FS-SF) produced by HOPPE all come with an exterior backplate or exterior blind rose. The solid spindle can be fitted accordingly, depending on the type of lock.
Fire-resistant handle sets according to DIN 18273 form part of the building regulation list A of the German Länder (Federal States) Building Regulations and must have the conformity certificate as proof of application.
The conformity certificate is issued by a recognised testing and certification body as long as the building product corresponds to the appropriate technical regulation (in this case DIN 18273) and has undergone a continual in-house production testing as well as an external testing by the certification body. HOPPE fire-resistant sets (not individual parts) have been tested by the Materials Testing Institute of North Rhine-Westphalia and bear the “Ü” (for supervision) sign, proving that documentation as requested by the law is available.