Glossary

A

A space designed as the sole passage for exiting an inner room.

Stairs provided for convenience beyond those required for escape routes.

A device that will allow the passage of air in normal use, but when activated will contain both ‘cold’, i.e. ambient smoke and hot gases – usually activated by heat and an electrical interface with the detection and alarm system.

As Low As Reasonably Practicable; a key concept in fire safety and in particular fire risk assessment, based on the Law of Diminishing Returns, whereby risks are reduced until a point is reached where the cost to reduce the risk further would be disproportionate to the benefit achieved.

Escape pathways sufficiently spaced or segregated by fire-resistant barriers to ensure at least one remains accessible regardless of fire location.

An opening in a door created for a vision panel, ventilation grille or letter box.

Official guidance by the government supporting fire safety compliance within building regulations.

A decorative moulding that conceals the gap between the edge of the frame and the surrounding structure (substrate). ART: Approved Repair Technique.

Available Safe Egress Time.

Association for Specialist Fire Protection.

A principle advocating continual risk reduction until further mitigation becomes excessively costly compared to the benefits gained.

A device that will automatically release either a locking mechanism on an exit route or a hold-open device to a door or roller shutter. It should operate on the actuation of the fire warning or detection system, or on failure of the power supply and be able to be manually overridden.

A system that autonomously identifies fire indicators and triggers a fire alert mechanism. See ‘Fire Warning’.

B

A floor level situated more than 1,200mm below the highest point of the ground adjacent to the outside walls, unless it has sufficient, independent means of escape specifically for evacuation purposes.

The moulding that frames and retains a door’s vision panel.

A building surveying and inspection system.

Please see ‘Threshold Gap’.

C

An independent third-party certification scheme, operated by Warrington Fire, that audits performance, quality, reliability and traceability of products and systems.

Classification standards for materials used to line the walls and ceilings of escape routes based on their propensity for flame spread.

Any substance capable of undergoing combustion.

Part of a building, comprising one or more rooms, spaces or storeys, constructed to prevent the spread of fire and its effects to, or from, another part of the same building, or an adjoining building. (A roof space above the top storey of a compartment may be included in that compartment).

A fire-resisting wall used to separate one fire compartment from another; typically designed and intended to have a minimum period of fire resistance of 60 minutes (or 30 minutes in single storey buildings).

The internal composition of a door leaf.

A wall or floor constructed to resist fire, separating one fire compartment from another.

An individual with the necessary training, experience, and knowledge to effectively contribute to the implementation of preventive and protective measures.

D

A substance that, due to its physical or chemical properties and its use or presence in the workplace, poses a risk. This includes substances regulated by the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmosphere Regulations 2002 (DSEAR).

An area offering only one direction of escape.

The shortest path from any point within a floor area to the nearest exit or fire-resisting route, disregarding walls, partitions, and fixtures.

Dwellings occupied for private use, excluding areas shared by occupants of multiple dwellings.

A rectangular or square length of wood that prevents the door from closing beyond its jamb.

E

Lighting installed to illuminate escape routes in case of failure of normal lighting.

A pathway forming part of the means of escape from any point in a building to a final exit.

A general term for a decorative plate.

A lift designated for use in evacuating people with disabilities or others during a fire emergency.

A staircase located outside a building, providing an escape route.

F

An operational mode where an output device locks upon power application and unlocks upon power removal. Also referred to as fail unlock, reverse action, or power locked.

An erroneous fire signal, typically generated by a fire warning system, not caused by an actual fire.

The termination of an escape route from a building, intended to give direct access to a place of ultimate safety outside the building.

A section of a building, or the whole building, constructed to prevent fire spread to or from another part of the building or an adjacent structure.

A door designed to restrict the passage of fire and smoke when closed, along with its frame and associated hardware.

A door or shutter provided for the passage of persons, air or objects, which, together with its frame and furniture, is intended when closed to resist the passage of fire and/or gaseous products of combustion and is capable of meeting specified performance criteria to those ends. It may have one or more leaves, and the term can sometimes include a cover, hatch, or other form of protection to an opening in a fire-resisting wall, floor, fire barrier or ceiling, or in a structure surrounding a protected shaft.

A thorough examination of fire doors to ensure they are operating correctly and meet safety standards. This inspection checks for proper installation, integrity, and functionality of the door, frame, hardware, and sealing components to ensure they can effectively prevent the spread of fire and smoke, providing a crucial barrier in maintaining building safety. Inspections typically assess aspects like the door’s self-closing mechanism, the condition of seals, and the absence of any gaps or damage that could compromise its performance. Regular inspections are mandatory to comply with safety regulations and to ensure the door will function as intended in case of a fire.

More detail about fire door inspection.

A door assembly, tested as a single unit and supplied, from one source, as a complete, warranted, entity.

A lift equipped with additional safety features and controls allowing it to be operated directly by the fire and rescue service during firefighting operations.

A fire-resistant enclosure containing firefighting equipment such as stairs, fire mains, firefighting lobbies, and possibly a firefighting lift.

See ‘Firefighting shaft’.

The extent over a given time that a component, such as a fire door, can withstand and prevent fire as well as smoke from breaching the barrier. The letter for denoting integrity in fire test documents is “E”.

The capacity of a building component or structure to meet specified fire performance criteria for a defined duration. (Typically categorised as 30 or 60 minutes fire-resistant.) Refer to standards like BS EN 1363-1, BS 476-7, and related guidelines for detailed information.

The ability of a door to fulfil, for a stated period of time, the required fire integrity and thermal insulation as expected in a standard fire resistance test.

A systematic evaluation of premises, activities, and potential fire hazards to assess the likelihood of fire occurrence and its potential impact on people and property. The assessment aims to identify hazards, reduce risks to an acceptable level, and determine necessary fire safety measures and management arrangements.

More detail about fire risk assessment

Legislation, such as the Fire Safety Order, mandating general fire precautions and safety duties to safeguard individuals in case of fire. Compliance is required where deemed necessary and reasonably practicable.

A designated individual responsible for overseeing day-to-day fire safety management, which may or may not coincide with the role of the ‘Responsible Person’.

An abbreviation of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which is also commonly referred to as the RRO.

A coordinated plan comprising various measures aimed at minimizing fire risk and ensuring the safety of occupants in the event of a fire.

A seal provided to close an imperfection of fit or design tolerance between elements or components, to restrict the passage of fire and smoke.

A seal installed to close gaps between building elements or components, limiting the passage of fire and smoke.

A system designed to alert individuals to the presence of a fire. (See ‘Automatic fire detection system’.)

Substances easily ignited and capable of rapid combustion.

A sliding bolt let into the face or edge of a door, so as not to be proud of the leaf.

The visible part of a latch or lock mechanism once it has been morticed into the door, through which the latch or bolt protrudes.

G

A comprehensive document produced by a UKAS or equivalent approved organisation using established methodology, to determine the limits of manufacture and design and extend the scope of application in order to satisfy fire resistance performance based on various fire tests carried out, typically to BS 476-22 or BS EN 1634-1.

An accurate, linked record of a fire door’s specification, fire test evidence and certification and all the information required to ensure traceability and that it has been installed to comply with Regulation 7 of the Building Regulations and can be maintained to comply with Regulation 38 of the Building Regulations and Article 17 of the FSO.

H

Typically refers to liquids with a flashpoint below 21°C, with further guidance provided by regulations like the Chemicals Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply Regulations 2002 (CHIP).

I

Institute of Healthcare Engineering and Estate Management.

A room accessible only through another room (the access room).

A product that swells as a reaction to fire (heat).

J

The side-post or lining of a doorway or other aperture.

L

The Loss Prevention Certification Board; sometimes referred to as the Loss Prevention Council; part of the BRE Trust.

Any establishment requiring a license under relevant statutes to conduct business or trade activities.

In the context of mental healthcare setting, an anchorage point used to facilitate a suicide attempt.

Loss Prevention Standard (as in LPS 1197).

Other names for an internal door frame.

Material used to create the door edge, covering and protecting the core.

M

An alteration to premises, processes, or services significantly impacting the level of fire risk in those premises.

Designated routes ensuring safe evacuation from premises or other locations to a place of total safety.

P

A bolt and latch system, which should conform to BS EN 1125, operated by either a cross bar or touch bar on the inside of the door for opening a final exit door.

Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans; that is intended, in the event of a fire evacuation, to ensure persons who require assistance can escape safely.

A spring scale that measures ‘push and pull’ opening force on a fire door, measured in Newtons.

A systematic evacuation approach where different sections of premises are evacuated sequentially, prioritizing areas most at risk.

A location within a building providing temporary protection from fire and smoke, typically featuring at least 30 minutes fire resistance, allowing occupants to continue their escape to a place of total safety.

An external location away from the premises where individuals are not immediately threatened by fire.

Any area, including buildings, land, tents, temporary structures, or workplaces.

A report based on a physical fire test of a manufacturer’s doorset carried out by an independent 3rd party accredited test house.

An evacuation strategy, typically used in healthcare buildings, but sometimes applicable in other types of buildings when patients, staff and other relevant persons are moved away from a fire into a fire and smokefree compartment or sub-compartment, of relative immediate safety, typically on the same level of the premises.

A fire-resistant enclosure providing access to an escape stairway via two sets of fire doors, with only limited openings such as toilets and lifts.

An escape route sufficiently shielded from the rest of the building by fire-resistant construction.

A stairway discharging through a final exit to a place of safety (including any exit route between the foot of the stairway and the final exit) that should be adequately enclosed in fire-resisting construction.

R

A double doorset, with door leaves having machined edges to create a partial overlap where the leaves meet.

An area designed and intended as a place of temporary safety within a building. This may be an adjoining compartment, sub-compartment or lobby, capable of holding all those threatened for a given period, from which there may be potential for further unassisted escape should that become necessary.

Individuals lawfully present on premises or in the immediate vicinity, excluding firefighters engaged in firefighting duties.

In workplace settings, primarily the employer, or any other individual controlling any part of the premises. In other contexts, it may include the occupier, owner, or person in control of the premises.

Please see ‘Fire Safety Order’.

S

A mechanism capable of closing a door automatically from any position and securing it against any fitted latch.

Key observations from a fire risk assessment, including identified hazards, measures to mitigate risks, actions to be taken in case of fire, necessary information, instruction, and training provisions.

A device containing all necessary components, except possibly the power source, for detecting smoke and emitting an audible alarm.

An internal door strategically located in premises to effectively restrict the passage and spread of smoke, including ambient, cold smoke and noxious fumes to other areas of the building.

A multi-stage fire warning system issuing different alerts for various purposes within a designated area (e.g., notifying staff, standby evacuation, full evacuation).

The sides of a door leaf, with the hanging stile being the hinge side, the leading stile (as in ‘leading edge’) on the opening side and the meeting stile being where double or leaf and a half doors meet.

A metal plate fixed to a door jamb with a hole for the bolt of the door. This protects the jamb against friction from the bolt and increases security in the case of a jamb being made of a softer material such as wood.

An exit leading directly to a protected stairway, firefighting lobby, or external escape route.

Areas into which the building can be divided to reduce travel distance and which are designed and intended to provide 30 minutes’ resistance to fire.

A fire-resisting wall used to separate one sub-compartment from another, having a designed and intended minimum period of fire resistance of 30 minutes.

T

The gap between the bottom of the door and the floor. Sometimes also referred to as the ‘bottom edge gap’.

A horizontal structural beam or bar, or a crosspiece separating a door from a window above it.

The actual distance individuals need to travel from any point within a floor area to reach the nearest storey exit or final exit, considering the layout of walls, partitions, and fixtures.

U

The UK’s National Accreditation Body, responsible for determining, in the public interest, the technical competence and integrity of organisations offering conformity assessment services such as testing, calibration, inspection and certification.

V

The UK’s National Accreditation Body, responsible for determining, in the public interest, the technical competence and integrity of organisations offering conformity assessment services such as testing, calibration, inspection and certification.

A transparent panel installed in a wall or door of an inner room, enabling occupants to detect a fire in the access area during its early stages.

W

Low-mounted luminous tracks placed along escape routes, in conjunction with exit indicators and markings, facilitating safe evacuation in case of normal lighting failure, without relying on electrical supply for illumination.

The Fire Safety Order mandates the provision (and maintenance) of fire precautions ‘where necessary’ to reasonably protect relevant persons from fire risks. This determination is based on the findings of a comprehensive fire risk assessment, ensuring appropriate preventive measures are implemented.