Every fire resistant doorset installed in Australia must be installed in accordance with the requirements of the Building Code of Australia (BCA). The current Australian Standard referred to in the BCA for Fire Resistant Doors is AS1905.1-2005 “Components for the protection of openings in fire resistant walls.

 While this article concentrates on the requirements of the fire door compliance tag, a fire door is a component of a complete doorset which includes the door leaf, or leaves, the frame (inclusive of the required frame compliance tag), hardware, seals, other attachments to the doorset (e.g. vision panels and air grilles) and the wall in which the doorset is installed including the fixing of the attachments to the door/s, the door/s to the frame and the frame to the wall.


This Blog Post is accompanied by a summary table of fire door compliance tag requirements in Australia. The table details all the relevant Australian Standards and the relevant clauses relating to fire door compliance tags. To view the table click here (sorry could not format it to fit on this Blog Post).


The fixing of a compliance tag to a fire resistant doorset has been a requirement from the initial fire door code (AS CA57, Part 1-1972) to the current time.

The door tag is an integral component of a fire-resistant doorset identifying the door and setting it apart from other doors such as solid core doors, hollow core doors and the like.

Considering this, it is clear why the compliance tag is so critical; it identifies the door as a fire-resistant door (being a component of a complete fire resistant doorset), and further gives a reference to the performance (i.e. the fire –resistant level) of the specific door.

The physical tag requirements have remained unchanged over the revisions of the relevant standards (aside from the imperial to metric changes which first appeared in the 1976 revision) but more often we are seeing tags provided by suppliers which are printed, not etched, embossed or stamped which can lead to issues in identification when tags are painted over.

Recessed or projected numbers and letters can be painted over and still be identifiable even if a solvent is used to clean the tag. This tiny little point is often missed by tag providers and this should be addressed by all who have the responsibility of manufacturing, supplying or installing compliance tags and is a clear requirement of the Standard and for good reason.

Building owners and managers should be aware of the importance of compliance tags to ensure trades such as painters are directed to treat compliance tags as they would locks and closers  and protect them prior to painting.

The fixing of the compliance tag to the door leaf is another issue. Adhesives while appropriate short term can degrade over time. This can lead to compliance tags becoming detached from the door.

Sticking a tag to a door leaf is a major contributing factor in compliance tags falling off doors and aside from the 1984 revision tags have had to be either mechanically or firmly affixed.

This small point is the bane of contention of building owners and managers who consistently see the wording “missing compliance tag, recommend new door”.

Industry providers are doing themselves an injustice in not doing these simple things to protect the end user from the premature replacement of their fire resistant doors.

The details on a compliance tag provide critical information which is used by inspectors (or should be used) to assess the fire resistant doorset during its serviceable life as it identifies the conditions by which the fire resistant doorset  was designed and should be assessed against.

These details have changed over the years so inspectors should be aware of the marking requirements for the relevant performance standard applicable to the doorset being inspected (see table above “Required Tag Details”).

If you have seen a tag in the field with the standard “AS1851” prominently displayed, this is not a compliance tag. This detail provides no assistance to the inspector of the fire-resistant doorset as it fails to provide any of the details required by AS1905.1.

Tag location is stated in general as approximate and where the placement of the tag on the hinge side of the door leaf could impact the performance of the doorset (i.e. perimeter door seals for example) there is comment to recommend the relocation of the tag to the face of the door on the top hinge side.

Who can tag a fire-resistant door has been defined since the Standard revision in 1990. In looking at the possibility of retagging a fire-resistant door which has lost its compliance tag, we must firstly satisfy ourselves that we are able to.

For doorsets manufactured and installed prior to 1990, the Standard provided no definition as to who could tag a fire-resistant doorsets and as such it would be reasonable to assume that doorsets of this era are able to be tagged by anyone who could satisfy the requirements of assessing the installation and making the determinations required by the relevant code at the time the doorset was manufactured and installed.

For doorsets installed between 1990 and 1997, the definition provided for who can tag a fire-resistant doorset was defined as “The Supplier”, defining the supplier as the sponsor of the test on the prototype fire-resistant doorset who certifies that the doorset, when installed, complies with the Standard. Considering this definition, to retag a doorset manufactured and installed during this time you would have to identify the core of the door to then identify the “Sponsor”. Additional to this would be your ability to identify the year of manufacture and installation.

For doorsets installed since 1997 the manufacturer or certifier has been defined as the allowing tagging entity. To tag a doorset manufactured and installed in this period you would have to be able to identify who the original manufacturer of the door was in order to seek their authorization to retag a fire-resistant doorset.

The issue of being able to retag a fire-resistant doorset is a hot topic with companies on both sides of the fence. The issue of “should you retag a fire door” is not discussed in this article and it is incumbent on individuals making claims of being able to retag fire-resistant doorsets that they can do so in accordance with the requirements of the Standards.

As with the physical requirements of a tag, documentation has been a requirement since 1972. The details of documents and the form in which they are provided has changed over revisions but in general, a “schedule of evidence” or “evidence of compliance with the code” has been required. An example of the documentation to be provided is given at the back of most Standard revisions.

A NOTE ON ASBESTOS

A common practice for identifying a fire-resistant doorset is to remove the lockset to expose the inner core of the door. By exposing the core an experienced individual may be able to identify the type of core and the potential manufacturer or sponsor/applicant.

If you do undertake this practice please be mindful that fire doors manufactured up until the early 1980’s were predominantly manufactured using asbestos as the core material. Removing the lockset can lead to exposure to asbestos fibres and should be avoided at all costs. If you suspect that a door may contain asbestos then it would be advised that the appropriate controls are put in place prior to removing the lockset to ensure exposed asbestos is contained.

Table below summarises State and Territory Acts and Regulations with respect to working with Asbestos.

State / Territory Act Regulations
QLD Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995 Workplace Health and Safety Regulations 2008
NSW Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2001
ACT Work Safety Act 2008 Work Safety Legislation Amendment Act 2009 Dangerous Substances (General) Regulations 2004
VIC Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007
TAS Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995 Workplace Health and Safety Regulations 1998
SA Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Act 1986 Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare (SafeWork SA) Amendment Act 2005 Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations 1995
WA Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996
NT Workplace Health and Safety Act 2007 Workplace Health and Safety Regulations 2008

(Source http://www.asbestosaustralia.com.au/ )

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Comments
  1. Very helpful and informative. Now I know what to check when I have my fire resistant doors installed. Cheers!

  2. melanie lawton says:

    Hi, I have a fire door fitted in 1970 NSW Australia. It has no tagging and the compliance guys tell me I have to remove it as it contains asbestos. My arguement is that if it contains asbestos then it would be a fire door. As it was before 1972 when tagging was a requirement. How does my door comply now without removing it.

    • Peter Mole says:

      Sorry for the belated reply.

      “Because it is asbestos” is not a good enough reason to replace. If the door is still in tact and not falling apart then it is probably safer to leave it alone rather than remove it and risk exposing the asbestos. If it is asbestos (and this can only be determined by a test of the material) then you need to be mindful that anyone who needs to work on the door (i.e. a locksmith or carpenter) needs to be made aware that it contains asbestos and at that time you would probably have no choice but to replace the door).

      The “compliance guys” are they actually a certifier/fire engineer or a service company. If it is the service technicians as opposed to a certifier (i.e. a person who is qualified and registered as a building certifier) this is a flippant comment that is often used to scare people into thinking they have to replace their doors.

      If this is the case my first call would be to an independent building certifier or fire engineer to give some unbiased advise.

      If it was a certifier or fire engineer then I would be taking their advise.

      The simple answer to your question is that in order for a door to be a fire door the only thing a service technician or certifier can do to identify the fact is to see what is on the compliance tag. If there is no tag, a person needs to assess it and determine that it is a fire door (or capable of being a fire door) and provide a piece of paper that you would keep to show the next person who told you it was not a fire door. This would have to be undertaken by a NATA certified entity such as the CSIRO or Werrington Fire Research etc as what you are requiring is basically termed a “Opinion”. AS1905.1 is the standard covering the design and installation of fire doors which requires tests and opinions to be undertaken in accordance with AS1530.4 which is the test standard for fire doors (along with a few other building elements).

      Sorry this is not a black and white answer but at the end of the day you would want to be use that in the event of a fire and you are needing to stand behind that door and it was the only thing between you and a fire, are you confident that it would stop the passage of fire for long enough for you or your loved ones to get out?

      I generally use my kids (three beautiful girls) as my guide stick in relation to fire ratings and compliance. My theory is that if I am not confident enough to have my kids relying on it, then it’s not good enough. If there is doubt then for the sake of a few dollars to replace the door I would tend to err on the side of caution and just replace the door.

      The age of the door is a fair indication that it may contain asbestos, but without testing the core you cannot determine by sight that a product is asbestos or not. Fibro sheet was asbestos but fibre cement sheet looks exactly the same but does not contain asbestos.

      If you have a lot of doors which may have to be replaced it would probably be worth getting a door tested to determine if there was in fact asbestos in the door or not. Unless it has been tested you cannot be 100% sure. If it is only one door, it will need to be replaced at some point and 40 years life out of a door is a pretty good run, it may be the time to consider replacing it.

      My deepest apologies for not replying sooner than this but hopefully you have already resolved this issue and have not had to read this far.

      Kind Regards
      Peter Mole

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