Are you competent to install a fire door?


Richard Kowalski

Many people may not be aware that my background is as a site and factory carpenter, before spending a year training installers at a previous company.

I would like to think that one of my main areas of expertise is the installation of fire doors and there are few things that I have not seen – but I am still shocked by the poor level of installation that can be found at times

Technically, nothing has changed over the years in relation to how a doorset should be fitted, what gaps we should have, and so on. However, due to tragic events in recent years, more and more installations are being inspected in greater detail and major quality issues are being picked up which, in the past, may well have been either ignored or signed off as being acceptable.

This is worrying, as what used to be acceptable now, quite rightly, isn’t, so how many doors out there have been installed when there was less scrutiny and is this a safety concern?

This change is long overdue. We cannot accept poor installation, and everyone is responsible for helping raise and maintain standards, from the site management to the installer.

Something I don’t think many installers realise is that if they fit a door incorrectly, someone could die. Could you live with this? I know I couldn’t.

So how do we increase the quality of the installation? The key things here are time and attention to detail. You cannot rush the installation of a fire door. Care and attention need to be taken to ensure the product is fitted correctly, with the correct gaps etc. Don’t be fooled into thinking that using a door set will absolve you of this, No, you still need to ensure the product is fitted correctly.

This is the first step to improving the installation. The second is ensuring the installer is professionally competent.

There are high level talks within the industry about competency and how this is measured, Technically there are only a few ways to demonstrate competency. These are:

  • Attend a training course provided by the door supplier
  • Acquire an NVQ in Fire Door Installation (this is also recognised on your CSCS card)
  • Be part of, or join, a third-party installation scheme.

Stairways Midlands recognises that some of these options may not be cost effective due to the size of the installation business. Therefore, we recommend that the minimum should be:

  • The installer should have an NVQ in carpentry and joinery
  • The business has clear and robust processes and procedures in place for installing fire doors
  • Owning, or having access to, BS8214 and understanding its content
  • Fitting instructions are read before installing the product
  • Fire certifications are read before installation.
  • Partnering with a reputable, industry leading, knowledgeable door set manufacturer.

Don’t forget, if you are an installer, the better the install, the better your credibility grows which can lead to more work in the future.

We have all seen images on LinkedIn of poor installation. Do you want your install to be one of those?

Richard Kowalski
Technical Manager (Doors Division)
Stairways Midlands


Author: Stairways

Stairways, founded in 1989, has grown to become one of the UK’s largest manufacturers of carpentry and joinery products. Stairways now boast three state-of-art facilities that offer over 85,000 sq ft production capacity. Stairways goal is to raise their profile and brand awareness to become known throughout the industry as the UK’s leading staircase and door solution provider.

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As a highly reputable firm within the industry, Stairways are dedicated to meeting their client’s product and application requirements. All materials used are manufactured to the highest quality and meet the relevant standards achieving ISO9001, FSC®, and various product certifications, whilst their staircases and door solutions are manufactured with compliance to UK building regulations & legislative standards in mind. Using the knowledge, passion, and experience acquired across all team members over the past thirty years, Stairways aim to continue to be the best in what they do.


Stairways are continuously looking for opportunities to improve and expand their service offering; this includes the investment in new machinery to further enhance and innovate the manufacturing process, with the aim to shorten lead times and increase overall in-house capacity. The changes Stairways employ are always focused upon improving the customer experience, to ensure their process remains as efficient as possible from start to finish.


Privately owned and managed since it was founded in 1989, Stairways has grown to become one of the UK’s largest manufacturers of carpentry and joinery products. Starting as a small staircase manufacturer, Stairways now boast three state-of-art facilities that offer over 85,000 sq ft of bespoke and mass production capacity.