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Friday, October 4, 2013

Fire Door Inspection – Top 5 Deficiencies

Consumer Awareness Tips....... Fire Door Inspection – Top 5 Deficiencies www.hawaiifiredoors.com 808-943-1425 As more jurisdictions adopt the 2009 International Fire Code (IFC), the 2009 edition of NFPA 101 – The Life Safety Code, or other codes which reference the 2007 or 2010 edition of NFPA 80 – Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives, more attention is being focused on fire doors and egress doors. Fire door assemblies and certain egress doors must be inspected annually per these publications, and any deficiencies found must be corrected without delay. 1. Painted or missing fire door labels The label found on the edge or top of a fire door and in the rabbet of a fire-rated frame may be made of metal, paper, or plastic, or may be stamped or diecast into the door or frame. Labels must be visible and legible. Some embossed labels can still be read if they are painted, but if a painted label is illegible, the paint must be removed. If labels are missing or can’t be made legible, the Authority Having Jurisdiction may require the doors or frames to be re-labeled by a listing agency. 2. Poor clearance dimensions around the perimeter of the door in the closed position The maximum clearance allowed by NFPA 80 between a fire door and the frame at the head, jambs, and meeting stiles of pairs is 1/8” for wood doors, and 3/16” for hollow metal doors. The maximum clearance at the bottom of the door is ¾” between the bottom of the door and the top of the flooring or threshold. Prior to the 2007 edition, NFPA 80 included a variable requirement for the undercut, depending on the type of flooring. For clearances larger than allowed by NFPA 80, there are gasketing products in development which may be allowed by the listing agencies as an alternative to replacing the door. Shimming the hinges with metal shims may help to correct the problem, and there are metal edges available which are listed for use when a door needs to be increased in width to reduce the clearance. 3. Kick-down door holders A kick-down door holder is a simple mechanical device which is mounted on the bottom corner of the door and flips down to hold the door open. Because fire doors must be self-closing or automatic-closing (there are a few exceptions), a kick-down holder is not an acceptable way of holding open a fire door. A mechanical hold-open feature in a door closer and other types of hold-opens such as wedges, hooks, and overhead holders are not allowed for fire doors either. An automatic-closing fire door is held open electronically, and closes upon fire alarm. This may be accomplished with a wall- or floor-mounted magnetic holder, a closer-holder unit which receives a signal from the fire alarm system or incorporates its own smoke detector, or a separate hold-open unit which is paired with a standard door closer. There is also a battery-operated hold-open available which can be used in some retrofit applications. Existing fire doors may be equipped with fusible link closer arms, which incorporate a fusible link that is intended to melt during a fire and release the hold-open. Current building and life-safety codes do not allow fusible link arms on doors in a means of egress, because they do not allow the doors to control the spread of smoke. Automatic-closing doors must be initiated by the fire alarm system or smoke detection. 4. Auxiliary hardware items that interfere with the intended function of the door These auxiliary items may include creative ways of holding open the door or providing additional security. In many cases the auxiliary items create an egress problem, for example, additional locks or surface bolts (most egress doors must unlatch with one operation), chains or creative devices used with panic hardware, or electronic access control products that have not been installed with the required release devices for code compliance. Hardware used on fire doors must be listed for that use, and items not listed for use on a fire door must be removed. Holes left by the removal of auxiliary items must be filled in accordance with NFPA 80, typically either with steel fasteners, or with the same material as the door or frame. Field preparation for these auxiliary items may also create a problem on fire doors. NFPA 80 limits job site preparation of fire doors to holes for surface-applied hardware, function holes for mortise locks, and holes for labeled viewers. The maximum hole diameter is 1”, except holes for cylinders which may be any diameter. Protection plates may be field-installed, and wood and composite doors may be undercut in the field a maximum of ¾” (check with the door manufacturer first). Field modifications beyond what is allowed by NFPA 80 may void the label and require re-labeling of the assembly. 5. Fire doors blocked to stay in the open position If a fire door is not able to close, it can’t compartmentalize the building and prevent the spread of fire and smoke. Fire doors are typically blocked open for the convenience of the building’s occupants. Many people don’t understand the function of fire doors, and may compromise life safety without realizing the results of their actions. Educating facilities staff and the building’s occupants on fire door requirements can help to avoid a problem, and/or a fine from the local fire marshal. Aloha & Mahalo Richard Berrios Sr. Fire Door Inspector / Locksmith Fire Doors Hawaii.com www.hawaiifiredoors.com Affordable Locksmith & Son LLC 808-943-1425 www.affordablelocksmithandsons.com Hawaiifiredoors.com Fire Door Inspection Services include, at a minimum: Annual Fire Door Inspections Fire Door Code Compliance Completing and Performing Statement of Conditions *Inspect the Door & Door Frame *Perform an Operational test on the Door – (Swing Test; Close Test; Latch Test; Electric Door *Release; Door Bottom Drag; Door Frame Rub; Door Edge Overlap; Coordinator Malfunction) *Inspection of Hinge Assemblies *Inspection of Door Bolts & Locks *Inspect all Fire Exit Hardware *Inspect and Verify – (Thresholds/Saddle; Clearance, Astragal and Gaskets, Kick-Down Door *Holder, Wedge and Door Stop, Protection Plate, Signage properly installed) DOCUMENTATION AVAILABILITY 24 HOURS A DAY Contact us ..... We do inspections right! Affordable Locksmith & Son LLC 808-943-1425 www.affordablelocksmithandsons.com

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