In an office, you want to ensure that your staff has as much protection as possible if a fire should ever break out. You may not think that there is much of a risk of a fire in an office setting, but one careless worker who sneaks a cigarette in the office can easily start a fire, as can a space heater with bad wiring. When you need to install a new fire door for an office and for entryways and hallways in the office, note a few tips for choosing the best type.

1. Building codes

When installing doors in any area of the office, you want to start with local building codes. You may assume that these codes only affect entryway or exterior doors, but often they will dictate the types of doors you choose for hallways between offices, between the office and the warehouse in the back, and the like. Be sure you check these codes for fire rating, type of locking mechanism, and even the hinge type that might be included so you know you chose the right door.

2. Fire rating

A fire rating for a door tells you how long it can keep a fire from spreading, due to its overall material and density, how snug it fits in the doorframe, and the like. The fire rating is measured in blocks of time, such as 60 for 60 minutes, 90 for 90 minutes, and so on.

To improve the safety of your staff, consider if you might go beyond building codes for fire ratings, especially in areas that may be a higher risk for fires. For example, if there are flammable liquids you store in the back warehouse, you might choose a higher fire rating for the door between the office and warehouse than what building codes dictate. If you allow smoking in a certain lounge area, you might also choose a higher fire rating for that door.

3. Egress

When choosing a fire door, be sure you note if it's a means of egress or exit for your office. If so, you want a door that is easy to close in case of a fire but also easy to open if the staff needs to exit out that way. For example, a heavy metal door to the back warehouse might provide added safety in case of a fire, but it might also be so heavy that it's difficult to open by warehouse or office workers. Balance the fire rating of the door with the overall ease of use, if it needs to act as an egress for any workers.