The Star – December 2012

Cutting corners to save money when specifying or selecting fire doors can have dire consequences, the director of fire door producer Bitcon Industries has warned.

Bob Vollmer says choosing the correct fire door for specific applications too often receives scant attention compared to other aspects of the design of commercial, industrial and residential applications.

“There is a lack of awareness and understanding of fire doors and how they operate,” he says.

Just because a fire door looks sturdy does not mean it will provide sufficient protection should a fire break out. “That is when a fire door must play its lifesaving role as an engineered safety device, fitted with components that combine to prevent the spread of fire. The frames of fire doors, for example, are vital, and even the quality of hinges is important,” says Vollmer.

There has been an increase in incidents where a lack of understanding, often influenced by cost-cutting, has led to fire door failures, which have proved costly and could have had fatal consequences, he says.