When it comes to fire safety in schools, there is a lot to consider, and lots of regulations to adhere to. And with a lot at risk, it can be an understandably daunting task! Here, Ty Aziz, Chief Executive of Sentry Doors – the UK leader in timber fire safety doorsets – shares some of the key considerations when it comes to putting fire doors in place in schools.

Fire doors: the first line of defence

Adherence to fire safety regulations is essential in maintaining a safe environment in schools and to ensuring the well being and protection of students, staff and visitors. Fire doors have a big role to play in this, as they form a crucial part of a building’s passive fire system. They help to slow down the spread of fire and smoke as well as creating “fire sterile’ areas, giving staff and students time and safe pathways to exit the building in an emergency.

So, if you are responsible for a school’s fire strategy, you will need to ensure that you have the right types of fire doors in the right places. And once the fire doors are installed, you also need to make sure they are regularly checked and maintained, with any defects recorded and resolved.

Where needs a fire door?

In schools, guidance says that specialised fire doors need to be installed in the following areas:

  • Stairways: to help to ensure safe passage from the upper levels of the building.
  • Long corridors: to help prevent the spread of fire and smoke through extended spaces, often with self-closing fire doors.
  • Rooms of higher risk: for example, science labs, boiler rooms and kitchens. These rooms require higher rated fire doors such as FD60 or above.

What types of fire door are there?

Fire doors are classified by the amount of fire and smoke protection they offer – for example, an ‘FD30’ would offer up to 30 minutes fire protection, whilst an ‘FD60S’ would offer up to 60 minutes of fire and smoke protection. We can work with your contractors to ensure the right specification door in each required location.

Most importantly, you need to make sure you choose a reputable manufacturer so that you know your fire doors are compliant with the relevant regulations and that they really have been made to do what they say they will. At Sentry, our doors are IFC certified, demonstrating that they are manufactured to, and compliant with, all the latest fire legislation and we test our doors through the world’s leading provider of third-party certification.

As well as the essential technical and safety compliance elements, our fire doors are available in a wide range of styles and colour finishes with various glazing, handle, hinge, lock and closer options so that you can ensure the look you want, as well as the safety of your staff and students.

We also often provide doors to the education sector with additional practical features such as anti-trap finger protection and anti-bacterial coatings as well as frame edge protection for heavy use areas and acoustic technology to help with sound reduction.

Doors in action

We recently supplied Gateville Group, a contractor carrying out a fire door replacement project at a school in London. They were replacing a collection of old corridor and classroom entrance doors with bespoke, fully certified doorsets – which all needed to be manufactured and delivered within 4 weeks, so they could be installed during the Easter holidays and in place before students and staff returned.

The doorsets we made for this project were very bespoke. We manufactured 41 FD30S doorsets in total, with various combinations of single glazed or flushed doorsets with mouldings and double doorsets with sidelights and fanlights – all modified to the clients requirements and a specific colour match.

Elian Kovacs, Assistant Contracts Manager at Gateville Group, said: “I was very impressed with how flexible Sentry were for this project and that they were able to accommodate our requirements and timeframes and work with us to manufacture a product that was in line with our client’s requests.”

Ask the experts

Whether you need 40 fire doors or 400, we can help you plan and specify your fully compliant fire door project, and deliver them in time to be fitted during shut down over the summer holidays.

Read our full online guide to fire safety standards and regulations in schools at www.sentrydoors.co.uk/schools or drop us an email at enquiries@sentrydoors.co.uk to discuss your fire door requirements.


ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK & Ireland is highlighting new guidance recently published within the updated Building Safety Act, which has outlined educational establishments in the higher-risk buildings category.


To be classified as higher-risk, buildings must be at least 18 metres in height or at least 7 storeys, contain at least two residential units, and meet certain use criteria – with educational usage such as university halls of residence and boarding schools included.


Buildings within this category are subject to the requirements of the new higher-risk regime directly overseen by the Building Safety Regulator.


Paul Thompson, BIM Manager for ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions, comments:

“Enabling the ‘golden thread’ of information is crucial to the Building Safety Act. Buildings need to be constructed and managed as holistic systems, enabling people to use information to design, construct and operate them safely and effectively.

“It comes as no surprise that educational buildings have been highlighted as meeting the criteria for higher-risk, and it’s critical that those involved in the construction and management of these premises uphold their duty to keep the building’s safety and standard under review.

“This includes facilitating improvement in the competence of industry and building inspectors, and a duty to establish a system for the giving of building safety information.”



Those responsible for higher-risk buildings must be registered and have their building safety regime in place by October 2023, or face investigation and potential prosecution.


Paul adds:

“Building Information Modelling (BIM) is the ideal platform to enable the ‘golden thread’ of information and create an effective safety regime. It can create greater transparency and allow building elements such as doorsets to be managed through a single platform – from specification to installation and ongoing inspection.”


For example, ASSA ABLOY’s Openings Studio™ BIM application integrates with design software to create and visualise openings for complete door, frame and hardware schedules and specifications.


This enables seamless extraction of door design intent and all relevant interfaces to assist fabricators to develop complete door requirements that meet building regulations. Product information, performance data and budget information are captured within the BIM design environment.


Through real time, collaborative working, these designs can be validated for compliance, functional performance, and aesthetics plus presented as 3D views that can be fully re-integrated into the overall project design.


With linked internal systems, ASSA ABLOY use this final schedule of information to manufacture the complete doorset solution including the leaf, frame and all specified hardware.


The Openings Studio™ mobile app can also directly access this data for use during the door installation process, ensuring full validity of the finished product prior to project completion. The app also offers an easy to use ‘check box’ system to carry out and capture detailed inspections based on the specific details of each door included in the schedule.


This report validates if a door has remained compliant, or identifies what elements need to be corrected or replaced to return the product to the standard required, providing full traceability and ownership of all changes at all stages.


Paul concludes:

“Openings Studio is a unique collaborative tool for all project stakeholders, helping to minimise costs and streamline the data sharing process throughout the entire project lifecycle – from the initial design, right through to construction, delivery, asset management and beyond.

“For those managing a higher-risk educational building, this can be used as a tool to create an effective safety regime, which can be managed easily to comply with the Building Safety Act and ensure life safety of the occupants.”

For advice on Openings Studio and to speak to a design consultant:


Call: 0845 071 0882


  CLICK HERE to email Assa Aboy


or to visit the website CLICK HERE



Sentry Doors are never content to stand still. As the UK’s leading manufacturer of timber fire safety and security doors, they’re constantly innovating and improving their product range to ensure that they meet customer needs whilst remaining at the very forefront of the industry.

Sentry Doors’ recent acquisition of E. & S. W. Knowles Company Ltd is a case in point. The extensive Knowles product range now sits within the Sentry Doors catalogue of market-leading products, giving customers access to a complete range of fully certified fire doors, which are suitable for all markets.

Following the acquisition, Sentry Doors is pleased to announce the launch of a new look Knowles range, which sits perfectly within the Sentry family and reflects both brands shared vision for the future.

As a result of the brand transformation, E. & S. W. Knowles Company Ltd will now simply be known as Knowles.

The new branding uses familiar elements of the Sentry logo and encases them around the Knowles range. This cradling effect is symbolic of the safety and protection that the company has built its reputation on.

Bespoke, sector specific solutions

As part of Sentry Doors, production of the Knowles range will take place at the 60,000 sq. ft facility in Birmingham, where the focus will be on manufacturing specialist timber internal doorsets with fire rated, acoustic and PAS 24 security certification. The 100-strong team in Birmingham offers bespoke, sector specific solutions that meet the exacting requirements of its commercial, healthcare, education and leisure customers.

The acquisition added many new, complementary products to Sentry Doors’ already well-established range of fully certified bespoke timber fire and security door sets, designed for the social housing, public sector, commercial and residential markets.

Sentry Doors’ reputation for quality and certification is what makes them a UK leader, and now that they can cater to all markets, the organisation is able to provide an even wider, bespoke range of products.

Largest UK fire door manufacturer

The newly expanded business continues to be headquartered in Doncaster, where Sentry Doors has an additional 40,000 sq. ft facility. This takes the company’s total footprint to 100,000 sq. ft across the Birmingham and Doncaster branches, both of which are fully equipped with the latest manufacturing equipment.

Sentry Doors also benefit from having all the skills and capabilities required to manufacture their products in-house, and since the acquisition, they have invested £1.2m to support the expansion of production capabilities in Birmingham. This gives the organisation complete quality control at every stage of production and demonstrates that they are truly a centre of excellence and expertise. It also enables them to offer a complete, end-to-end service, consistent lead and delivery times and a first-class customer experience.

Made in Britain

The expansion has provided Sentry Doors with the opportunity to pursue further innovation and growth, whilst maintaining their ongoing commitment to being the UK leader in timber fire and security doorsets, at the forefront of compliance and regulation. Sentry’s products are tested and certified to the highest industry standards, giving customers complete confidence and peace of mind.

In addition, Sentry Doors are proud to have obtained the official ‘Made in Britain’ stamp. As the only official, protected mark which certifies that a product is made in Britain, the mark gives confidence to customers that Sentry is a trusted and transparent manufacturer.

Known and trusted for over 130 years

The transformation of the brand also coincides with Knowles’ centenary year. This major milestone means that they ow have over 130 years’ collective experience in manufacturing specialist doorsets.

Sentry prides themselves on their unique approach, which seamlessly blends traditional, time-honoured techniques with modern manufacturing methods. While Sentry are rightly proud of their combined history, heritage and reputation, this brand transformation and expansion provide an opportunity for them to look to the future.

Ty Aziz, Sentry’s Chief Executive, said:

‘Together, Sentry Doors and Knowles have an incredible manufacturing heritage, while our complementary products and skills make us a formidable company. We’re very happy to be marking this acquisition with a new look and a logo that reflects our shared vision and goals, while cementing our status as a known and trusted brand.

‘The rebrand marks a key milestone in the growth strategy for our businesses and advances our ambition to be UK leaders in this sector.’

The new look Knowles will be unveiled at the Fire Safety Event, at Birmingham NEC on 25-27 April. Showcasing the latest products, technology and solutions in fire safety, this event is dedicated to supporting industry practitioners, professionals and organisations in achieving and maintaining the very highest standards of fire safety management.

 Further information:






Telephone: 01302 337 473





Working with architects, Broe & Co LLP, Style was specified to install a new folding wall system to the ground floor of the Bloomsbury Street Day Nursery in Brighton, creating a flexible environment where children are encouraged to learn, play and explore at their own pace.

Allowing nursery staff to separate the room into two, Style recommended a Stylefold acoustic glass folding wall with a 44dB Rw rating, ensuring that activities either side of the wall can take place undisturbed. By choosing a glazed folding wall, staff can maintain a watchful eye on the children and the area continues to enjoy an airy and open feel, even when the wall is in place.

This manually operated folding wall is light and simple to open and close, encouraging staff to change the room configuration to suit daily activities. The pass door means the wall can remain in place for longer periods if desired without hindering access between rooms.

“For schools, day centres, and community halls the Stylefold folding wall is a really effective solution,” said Michael Porter, Style’s group sales director.

“It can be opened and closed in seconds, the acoustics are superb – which means you can enjoy privacy either side, and this modestly priced folding wall solution is ideal for when budgets are tight.

“A folding wall can also help cut energy costs by avoiding having to heat and light a large open plan area when the entire space is not actually required – something that is at the top of most people’s priorities at the moment.”


As well as the glazed option, the Stylefold folding wall is also available in a variety of finishes, including painted, polished wood veneer or a wide range of standard or high-pressure laminates.

It can also be installed with writeable white board panels, which is ideal in a teaching environment.




ASSA ABLOY Door Group calls to raise the standard of fire safety in schools

Door Group, a unit of ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK & Ireland, is stressing the need for greater awareness of fire safety in education buildings, with a large percentage of fire doors in schools found to be non-compliant while undergoing inspections.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires schools to undertake risk assessments to identify the general fire precautions needed to safeguard the safety of occupants in case of fire, including their safe means of escape.

Despite this,  recent research showed that schools have been hit by 2,300 fires in the last five years, dedicated fire door inspections are essential to fully ensure health and safety measures are met.

These doors are subject to extremely high levels of traffic, and subsequently a higher level of misuse and abuse, which can then lead to functional problems resulting in non-compliance.

Door Group is committed to raising the standard of fire door safety in schools, providing a fully comprehensive inspection which can be carried out every three, four, six or 12 months to suit specific requirements.

For more information on ASSA ABLOY Door Group, please



Door Group, a unit of ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK & Ireland, is stressing the need for greater awareness of fire safety in education buildings, with a large percentage of fire doors in schools found to be non-compliant while undergoing inspections.

 The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires schools to undertake risk assessments to identify the general fire precautions needed to safeguard the safety of occupants in case of fire, including their safe means of escape.

Despite this, recent research showed that schools have been hit by 2,300 fires in the last five years, destroying 47 primary and secondary school buildings alone.

Fire doors are one of the most important safety features in a building, and regular product specifications or dedicated fire door inspections are essential to fully ensure health and safety measures are met.

Education buildings can present highly specific requirements for fire doorsets, with particularly varied legislation and building regulations surrounding fire doors in schools.

These doors are subject to extremely high levels of traffic, and subsequently a higher level of misuse and abuse, which can then lead to functional problems resulting in non-compliance.

Brian Sofley, Managing Director of ASSA ABLOY Door Group, explains: “Whilst statutory inspections are being completed for the entire building, the necessary attention to fire door compliance is being overlooked.

“Our team of BRE qualified engineers have found a large percentage of fire doors to be non-compliant when completing a dedicated fire door inspection in schools over the past 3-4 years. For example, in one school, 163 of the 164 fire doors we inspected were not fire compliant.”

The economic and social impact of school fires on staff, pupils, and the local community can be significant, causing financial hardship, emotional trauma, and a delay in learning.

A study found that 17 per cent of schools who had experienced a fire said that it had led to a drop in staff morale, six per cent to a drop in morale amongst pupils and seven per cent said that their fire had led to negative publicity about their school.

 Door Group is committed to raising the standard of fire door safety in schools, providing a fully comprehensive inspection which can be carried out every three, four, six or 12 months to suit specific requirements.

Following inspections, Door Group then offer detailed reports containing advice and recommendations on necessary improvements, with the knowledge that identifying any potential issues that could impact safety and product performance can be lifesaving.

If any issues do occur, a tailored repair proposal is issued to include anything from replacement doors to a regular maintenance program. Door Group inspectors are BRE-certified and will ensure that all fire doors inspected meet all necessary standards and regulations.

Brian adds: “An education building should be a safe and secure place for students and staff, to work and learn. Door Group is committed to making schools, colleges and universities across the UK fire protected.

“With regular and thorough inspections, we can ensure the compliance and performance of fire doorsets in an effort to improve overall fire safety in the educational environment, while minimising the risk that learning could be negatively impacted by a fire.”

For more information on ASSA ABLOY Door Group, PLEASE CLICK HERE



Daniel May, Director at Consort Architectural Hardware,

discusses the role door hardware plays in improving hygiene within public building environments.




Health and hygiene are delicate themes, particularly in today’s settings. Both our homes and public building environments can have a huge impact on our wellbeing, and over the past few years, this fact has only been exemplified.

Eighty percent of common infections are spread by touch and every 30 minutes, the average person is said to touch surfaces that expose them to 840,000 germs. These germs are prevalent in buildings too, where touchpoints are areas or items that are used by several individuals. Within workplace environments for example, door handles are the most touched surface and can be associated with cross-contamination and health risks.

At present, the need to improve hygiene within our building environments, understandably, carries a greater significance than it maybe once did. But in truth, when it comes to building design, the process of protecting occupants and visitors against infection – especially those most vulnerable – should never be overlooked.


Design for Bacteria Control

Over the past two years, we’ve seen building environments closed, reopened and the process repeated. The idea of reducing footfall in facilities was key in fighting the rising infection rates associated with the coronavirus. But now, that footfall has returned.

Once again, those critical touchpoints such as door handles are harbouring germs. In fact, research has shown that the coronavirus can survive on surfaces for hours, and even days on metal door handles – and the same can be said for the common flu.

In response, we’ve seen government campaigns promoting hand washing, sanitising and distance-making in the wake of a return to public facilities. Undoubtedly, infection control methods such as hand washing and systematic cleaning are the most guaranteed way of controlling cross-contamination – yet, still these methods can become redundant when faced with human error or relaxed conventions within public buildings.

Building design can play an important role here. Daniel May, Director at Consort explains:

“We’re at a point where decision makers are under pressure to keep building hygiene standards as high as ever before. And outside of the clear-cut hygiene measures, it’s understood that more can be done throughout the building design process, with architectural hardware selection at the core of decisions.

“Door hardware is the first touchpoint when entering, exiting or navigating a building, and can be one of the most bacteria-ridden. Yet, the latest in hardware advancements could give facility managers an edge in the fight against infection, especially in healthcare facilities, such as hospitals for example, where footfall is high and the need to maintain strict sterile environments already exists.

“For added protection against bacteria, facilities can implement tailored anti-microbial hardware and finishes. Anti-microbial coatings applied to door handles are precisely formulated to prevent bacteria build-up upon the surface by interrupting cell multiplication. Some door seal solutions also make use of modern anti-bacterial technology, embedding it within the aluminium and silicone of the door seal during production, further reducing the spread of bacteria in high traffic areas.”

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) sets a regulation that cleanliness and effective infection control is a necessity for care and hospital locations. As well as best practice methods, healthcare environments are encouraged to introduce innovative infection control methods where possible. Similarly, under The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, decision makers have an active duty to keep inhabitants safe and their environments clean. And aside from the use of antimicrobial solutions, many are challenged to provide hygienically maintained environments without sacrificing fire or safety standards.

Daniel adds:

“Facilities with high footfall must also consider ventilation and ease of movement. Whether in healthcare, commercial or public environments, both are key elements of efficient building management and when done effectively, can further help inhibit the spread of infection by ensuring fresh air is consistently making its way through halls and rooms.

“The most effective way to improve ventilation throughout a building is by opening its windows and doors. This creates an inlet for fresh air and an outlet for the old air, and with access points open, minimises the need to touch door handles. Yet, when focusing on airflow, it’s inopportune to disregard fire safety. Too many times, we’ve seen facilities fall foul of leaving fire doors propped open in favour of improving ventilation and ease of access – but simply put, it’s illegal to do so and leaves fire doors wholly ineffective in a fire situation.

“Modern exit systems are purpose built to ensure fire doors can be left open safely and securely. Automatic door controls make use of sensors which activate the operator devices connected to the main access doors. In turn, this aids access and egress when required and closes the doors shut when necessary. In the event of a fire, the alarm is sounded, and the doors close automatically – ensuring safety is never compromised. What’s more, these systems can be integrated with the external building security, reducing risk on all fronts.

“Ultimately, when paired with regular cleaning practices, these modern solutions can play an assist role in the fight against infection, helping to maintain building hygiene as well as the obligatory standards associated with building and fire safety.”


Infection Control at Consort

Consort’s bespoke specification services extend to hygienic solutions, offering users tailored products to suit the needs of any building infrastructure. Antimicrobial finishes can be applied to any touch products and door seals, of which are already supplied to large complex hospitals around the world including Pamela Youde in Hong Kong and the Metropolitan Hospital in Birmingham.

To find out more click here:




A comprehensive range of unlatched, non-rebated, single-acting fire doors is now available from leading European steel specialist Schueco Jansen. These systems offer a solution for every application, including screens and partition walls.

All the systems have a sleek modern look with slender profiles and slim sightlines and all deliver a level of performance that is fully tested and approved. A large glazed central area – a feature that is common across all door types – maximises light transmission and helps to make the new doors as attractive to look at as they are effective in use.

 The three systems in the range are Economy 60 in 30-minute [E30] and 60-minute [E60] versions, Janisol 2 EI30 and Janisol C4 EI60. All offer Sa smoke protection and are fully assessed to EN 1634 for both fire and smoke protection.

The Economy 60 door is a 60 mm deep system which is available with either 30-minute or 60-minute integrity-only protection against fire. Flush single- and double-leaved doors, with optional side and top lights, also make it ideal for internal fire-rated partition walls.


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Both the Janisol door systems are thermally broken to ensure an excellent level of all-round insulation, an important consideration when sustainability and whole life costs are mandated as factors in the brief. Their design enables them to deliver protection against fire and smoke for 30 minutes (Janisol 2 EI30) and 60 minutes (Janisol C4 EI60). Janisol 2 is designed for single and double doors and partitions.

Janisol 2 and Janisol C4 are elegant 60 mm and 70 mm deep systems perfectly suited for fire and smoke doors with fixed lights. They have a contemporary, light-weight appearance and double-rebate seals. An intelligent fire-retardant filling gives 60 minutes integrity and insulation protection.

In addition, the Janisol C4 EI60 system has concealed closers and comes with the option of concealed hinges as well, providing architects with the ultimate in visual aesthetics as well as performance in use.

Designed to integrate perfectly with Schueco Jansen glazed screens, these Schueco Jansen doors have hinges that have been tested through a million cycles, making them ideal for high-traffic areas in schools, hospitals, offices and public buildings.

Finally, a comprehensive collection of fittings and accessories – including different glazing bead variants, a variety of hinge types and a choice of face-fixed door handles – allow all three systems to be customised to perfectly complement any location.

For further details of the Schueco Jansen new range of unlatched, non-rebated, single-acting steel fire doors, please email mkinfobox@schueco.com