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So I bought some fire doors.

"The doors comprise cellulosic (flaxboard) cored, timber framed leaves". The Certifire certificate of approval is here: https://www.jeld-wen.co.uk/getmedia/0b0aa417-28ea-42ba-9513-489469a53773/CF160-Certifire-certificate-FD30-Timber-Door-Assemblies-44mm-FD30-Moulded-Doors.pdf.aspx

These are standard sized doors that have a maximum trim allowance of 4mm on each side and 6mm on the bottom.

The problem I have is that my house was built in the late 1800s and there is not a standard sized door opening in the house. There's not a huge amount in it, but if I were to trim the doors, doing so would exceed the trim allowance and presumably invalidate the Certifire certificate.

My thinking when buying the doors was that I would take off the door linings then adjust the openings before fitting new door linings, stops etc.

However, we've had carpenters round to quote us for fitting the doors and to find out if there are less disruptive ways of going about this. The three people that have come around have all quoted us for fitting the doors to the existing openings. One has suggested modifying the doors by sawing off one or more of the timber frame edges, removing some core material before putting back the timber. They believe this would get the job past Building Control, especially since the door will be painted afterward.

However, as I see it, this would mean invalidating the Certifire certificate as far as I can tell, whether Building Control signed it off or not.

So let's say I put my concerns aside and got someone to modify and fit the doors in that way.

  • Q1. How likely is it that this would be signed off by Building Control?
  • Q2. If it was signed off, in the event of a fire, would we be covered by our insurance?
  • Q3. If we rented the house, in the event of a fire, would we be liable?
  • Q4. If we sold the house, in the event of a fire, would we be liable?
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    Kinda veering off into law/legal questions more than home improvement as currently written. You might want to consult the manufacturer to see if you could return these and if they make or can suggest something that would be certified and also be able to be trimmed enough to fit your door openings without becoming "not certified."
    – Ecnerwal
    Jul 26 '20 at 12:52
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    Have you talked to the door manufacturer? They should be able to give you better guidance than anyone here, up to and including whether you can order the doors from the factory in a custom size (on this side of the pond, custom sized fire doors are not an issue for most manufacturers). They also might be able to point you at having the doors modified in a certain way and then field labeled by an appropriate certifying agency (again, something that's doable this side of the pond, but I don't know how it works over there). Jul 26 '20 at 14:42
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    Seems it would much less hassle and maybe cheaper to just have doors made to fit the openings.
    – Alaska Man
    Jul 26 '20 at 18:22
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How likely is it that this would be signed off by Building Control?

Highly likely. The way you describe the carpenter's modification proposal it would likely not be easily detected.

If it was signed off, in the event of a fire, would we be covered by our insurance?

If they knew about your modification, no. However; unless the door in question contributed to the fire spread there would not likely be a close forensic analysis of the door, right?

If we rented the house, in the event of a fire, would we be liable?

You would be liable if the door failed to prevent fire spread as designed due to your modifications. Held accountable? See above.

If we sold the house, in the event of a fire, would we be liable?

You would be liable if the door failed to prevent fire spread as designed due to your modifications. Held accountable? See above.

I am not giving legal advice, and you should not trust legal advice from the internet. Deliberately violating building/fire code to make your job more convenient is not the right thing to do. If the worst happened, you and the carpenter and the inspector and the door manufacturer could be in court swearing oaths of truth. How would you feel if your renter's children were killed because the modified door failed to prevent fire spread?

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    Exactly. Your answer is helping me with the conversation I'm having with other people involved in this decision. Thank you.
    – fractor
    Jul 26 '20 at 17:09
  • As I started reading, I was hoping you were going to get to that conclusion. You might consider putting the final paragraph right up front - not everybody has enough attention span these days to read the whole thing (not that it's a long answer, but it's more than a sound-bite).
    – FreeMan
    Jul 26 '20 at 19:32

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