Neglecting Door Assemblies Endangers Occupants. Fire Doors are only of value if they are properly maintained and close and latch at the time of the fire. Such opening protectives must be self-closing, free swinging, must operate easily, completely close and positively latch, everytime it is opened and then by all means of closing activation.
AB supply.net provides fire door inspection services.
Currently, four types of occupancies have adopted the above-mentioned requirements as mandatory to have inspections mandatorily performed for both new and existing facilities. These four occupancies are Assembly, Day Care, Education and Residential Board and Care.
Richard Howard AAADM AFL ARL CFDAI IQP
Architectural Builders Supply provides Fire and Egress Door Assembly Inspection services nationwide. ABsupply recognizes the building owner wants an expert, who has studied the code, who may possess more specific up to date knowledge of a product, its application and implementation potentially greater than the AHJ regarding the code and standards as it relates to swinging fire door assemblies, who can professionally, effectively and vigorously advocate on behalf of the building owner to help ensure all such assemblies are code compliant.
According to NFPA 80: "Fire Doors are only of value if they are properly maintained and close and latch at the time of a fire" (see K.6 in Annex K in NFPA 80). Neglecting Door Assemblies Endangers Occupants.
Our video as seen here elaborates on our services:
The title of section 5.2 was modified from Inspections to Inspection and Testing.
Annex paragraph A.5.2 (see page 80-53) was modified to read as follows:
"Doors, shutters, and windows are of no value unless they are properly maintained and
closed or are able to close at the time of fire. A periodic inspection and maintenance
program is generally the responsibility of the building owner."
Guide to Annual Inspections of Swinging Fire Doors published by Door Security & Safety Foundation
Click here for DOCX file
Fire Door Assembly Inspection Service by ABSupply.net
Doors and hardware play a significant role in life safety. The fire door assemblies, which are part of the building barriers, are essential elements in containing fire and smoke and play a major role in both providing safe areas of refuge within the building, and in allowing the building occupants and rescue personnel time to safely enter and egress the buildings in times of emergency based on the time limits designs.
It is critical that code officials, building owners and managers understand the importance of providing and maintaining the protective barriers in their facilities.
In addition to providing Fire Door Assembly Inspection services it is the mission of ABSupply.net to help our clients better understand the basic operation and features of fire doors, and the constant care and maintenance required to maintain the fire doors in compliance with governing code standards to ensure the safety of the building occupants.
The governing code document is NFPA 80 address documents list, details and maintains in a recurring cycle the inspection, testing and maintenance requires for swinging fire doors and other opening protectives.
Why NFPA 80? NFPA 80 provides the installation, inspection, testing and maintenance requirements for fire door assemblies. Door openings, openings in fire rated barriers, must maintain their integrity in a fire event laid out in NFPA 80. While fire doors to not necessarily prevent to spread of flame or toxic gases in 100% of fire events, but fire rated door assemblies are there to increase the time occupants have to safely exit the building and to ensure the compartmentalization the building was designed to maintain its integrity and in fact left as intact as possible. Proper fire door assemblies are a critical component to ensuring this performance exists.
To sides of the same door after a fire event:
The scope of NFPA 80, a unique and one-of-a-kind document, referenced by fire and life safety codes along with the model building codes (those documents that tell us when a fire rated door assembly is required), serves to regulate the installation and maintenance of assemblies and devices used to protect openings in walls, floors and ceilings against the spread of fire and smoke within, into or out of buildings. NFPA 80, being a unique document, tells us the specifics governing the above mentioned fire door assembly such as installation standards and also serves to tell the Authority Having Jurisdiction AHJ if the installed assembly meets the requirements for a fire door assembly.
The National Fire Protection Agency NFPA is a global, non-profit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission.
The NFPA mission:
We help save lives and reduce loss with information, knowledge and passion.
Our information and knowledge comes in many forms:
- Support for the development, adoption and enforcement of our 300 codes and standards
- Research and data analysis
- Technical training and certification
- Public education
- Outreach and advocacy
NFPA tells us an awareness of the roll that doors and hardware plan in life safety is critical for code officials, building owners and managers understand the importance of providing and maintaining the protective barriers in their facilities.
NFPA 80 is our governing document and applicable to new installations only, as a general rule. Chapter 4 of NFPA speaks about particular requirements broken up into top level categories. Here are those categories:
Appurtenances: This governs what can and cannot be done to a fire door assembly after the door leaves the factory. The concern is the unapproved field modifications made to a fire assembly after installation over the life span of that fire door assembly. A typical door will have several different people, engaged in different roles, potentially interacting with the door in ways that violate the integrity of the fire door assembly. Perhaps the maintenance staff applies excessive signage to a door or maybe a painter removes the fire door label from the door or frame or an installer drills holes for new hardware without filling in the original holes in a manner consistent with the guidelines of NFPA 80. The document discusses three areas of permissible field modifications to a door assembly and are listed here:
1. Holes for surface applied hardware, function holes for mortise locks and holes for labeled door viewers.
2. Maximum 3/4" undercutting (in the field) for wood and composite doors.
3. Installation of protection plates where the installed height of a plate does not exceed 16" as measured from the bottom of the door.
Any field modifications that are outside of the above listed three areas are considered violations of the integrity of the fire rating of the assembly.
Signage: We need to be concerned with the size (signage is limited to 5% of the total square footage size of the door it is attached to), weather or not the signage applied interferes with the operation of the door (the signage can in no way interfere with the proper closing and latching of the door) and lastly how the sign is attached to the door (adhesive is the only permissible means to attach signage to doors and screws, nails or other mechanical means are specifically disallowed). Signage, and in fact no product whatsoever, may be applied to glazing surfaces on a door.
Listed and Labeled Products: Fire door assemblies (comprised of 3 major parts which are a labeled fire door frame, a labeled fire door and labeled or listed builders hardware) must be labeled meaning the door and frame must feature visual evidence of its compliance, showing specific information (such as the testing laboratory, a serial number, specific hardware requirements, the name of the manufacturer and a specific rating the assembly is in compliance with), listing the requirements of the rating and application into with its is being applied. The installation of each component shall be in accordance with the published listing of each component. The physical labels must be accessible and viewable and not require special knowledge to view (cannot be hidden) and cannot be painted over or otherwise rendered unreadable. The governing document does not necessarily limit the type of label and can be mylar, metal or coined so long as it is durable and will remain viable for the anticipated life expectancy of the door system.
Classification - Door Types: Fire door assemblies are classified by their hourly rating and those ratings are listed here:
1. 1/3 hour / 20 minutes
2. 1/2 hour / 30 minutes
3. 3/4 hour / 45 minutes
4. 1 hour / 60 minutes
5. 1-1/2 hour / 90 minutes
6. 3 hour / 180 minutes
The determination of when specific rating is applied to a specific application comes from the model building code used within a buildings jurisdiction. The fire door rating of an assembly is limited by th rating of the door or frame whichever carries the shortest duration listing.
Fire Door Types: For fire rated applications only labeled and listed fire doors, frames and hardware shall (the term shall is used when a requirement is mandatory) be used.
Glazing Requirements: If glazing is to be used as part of a fire door assembly, only labeled fire resistant-rated or fire protection-rated glazing materials shall be used in fire door assemblies where permitted by the door listing. The maximum glazing area is limited to the maximum area tested for 1/2, 1/3, 3/4, 1 and 1-1/2 hour fire door ratings. 3 hour fire door rating openings are limited to 100 square inches.
Labeled or Listed Builders Hardware Components: The difference between Builders Hardware and Fire Door Hardware is that Builders Hardware can be supplied from a variety of different manufacturers and is perfectly permissible on a fire rated door opening as long as those individual components, such as hinges/pivots, locks/latches, door closers/coordinating devices, fire exit hardware, louvers, astragals, protection plates, glass and glazing are labeled as fire rated components (with individual labels indicating such) for use on the overall fire rated assembly design.
Supporting Construction: Items such as detectors or fusible links, sill construction in regards to its mandatory presence and composition, clearances (discussed next) and finally floor coverings.
Clearance Requirements: The clearance under the bottom of a door shall be a maximum of 3/4" to the top of the sill. Sill is defined as the non-combustible floor construction and not sill as in threshold applied to the top of non-combustible floor construction. Clearances at the jambs, head and meeting stiles between a pair of swinging doors is limited to 1/8" only for wood doors and 1/8" +/- 1/16" for metal doors. Clearances are crucial so as to permit the door to stay latched to the frame in the event of a fire. If the clearances exceed what is listed on the label a door will likely become unlatched in the event of a fire. This minimum latch throw is crucial as the hardware needs to not only span the clearance between the door and frame, but to sufficiently engage the strike jamb or inactive leaf on the door. If this does not occur a door will â€œpopâ€ open in the time of a fire.
Operation of Doors: All swinging doors shall be closed and latched at the time of the fire as fire doors are of value only if properly maintained so that they close or are closed at the time of fire.
Categories of Door Operation: Each of the following three closing door types are recognized by NFPA 80
1. Self Closing Doors
2. Automatic Doors
3. Power Operated Fire Doors
What all three of the above have in common is that during the event of a fire they all are self closing and self latching.
Door Frames: Only labeled door frames shall be used utilizing a method of anchoring specifically approved and in compliance with the requirements of a fire rated opening assembly.
Closers and Coordinators: A closing device shall be installed on every fire door. Coordinators are required at pairs of doors to allow the inactive leaf to close and latch before the active leaf.
Hinges & Pivots: Must be labeled or listed and must be made of steel, feature ball bearings if hinges, spring hinges must be labeled for use on fire doors, pilot holes must be drilled in fire doors when attaching this hardware and shims, when used to assist doors to meet clearance requirements must be made of steel.
Locks & Latches: Only labeled locks or latches or labeled fire exit hardware (differing from exit hardware in that fire exit hardware cannot be manually dogged in the unlatched position requiring a manual operation to undog the device) meeting both life safety and fire protection requirements shall be used. The latch throw shall be not less than the minimum shown on the fire door label or as specified but the manufacturers installation instructions.
Door Bolts: The are three types of door bolts which are self latching/automatic which are used on an inactive leaf of a pair and will typically require a door coordinator be installed, manual and surface bolts.
Protection Plates: The plates may be used on fire rated doors provided they are labeled in accordance with the rating and cannot be in part or whole above 16" from the bottom of the without said label.
Astragals: These items must extend of the door edge by 3/4" and shall run the full height of the doors and be securely fastened to the door. An astragal cannot be used to â€œcoverâ€ or close an excessive gap between two doors.
Gasketing: These products must be listed or labeled, be continuous around the perimeter of the door without discontinuity and mut make full contact with the door frame.
Chapter 5 of NFPA 80 talks about Care and Maintenance. The tenants of the section talk about:
1. Application - the requirements of this chapter shall apply to new and existing installations
2. Operability - doors, shutters and windows shall be operable at all times
3. Replacement - where required replacements shall meet the requirements for fire protection and shall be installed and tested as required by this standard for new installations.
4. Removal of a Door or Window - Where a door or window opening is no longer in use, the opening shall be filled with the construction equivalent to that of the wall.
5. Field Modifications - This section represents among the biggest issue for compliance as a result of being field modified in ways that violate the fire door assembly requires for a code complaint fire door assembly. Anything done to a fire rated door assembly once it leaves the factory must be classified as a field modification. Most field modifications are done without the knowledge of what is and what is not permitted to be done to a fire door assembly. Often times the door manufacturer and original testing agency must must consulted to verify the field modification will maintain the fire assembly integrity and rating of the door unit. In fact most times this due diligence is not conducted, the door opening is modified and brought, as a result, to a condition of below required compliance level.
NFPA 80 Inspection and Testing: A fire door assembly must be inspected at three different milestones of the life of a door.
1. Upon completion of the installation of the fire door assembly the unit shall be inspected and tested
2. Whenever any maintenance is conducted on the door assembly it shall be inspected and tested
3. Annually (unless other arrangements are in place under approval of the AHJ) the fire door assembly shall be inspected and tested.
Record keeping and record retainage is also mandatory for fire door assemblies. A fire door assembly inspector shall create an inspection report after the unit is installed, after maintenance is conducted and annually. Records of acceptance tests shall be kept for the life of the assembly. The initial acceptance test and all other acceptance tests are kept for the life of the assembly. Inspections are kept available for the AHJ for a minimum of three years. These records can be on paper or saved electronically. These records must include the following pieces of information:
1. Date of Inspection
2. Name and Address of Facility
3. Inspector Name
4. Name and Address of Inspecting Company
5. Signature of Inspector of Record
6. Individual Record of each Inspected Door Assembly
7. Identifier and Location of each Fire Door Assembly
8. Type and Description of each Fire Door Assembly
9. Verification of Visual and Functional Operation
10. List of the Deficiencies and Corrective Action
Acceptance testing of fire door assemblies shall be performed by a qualified person with knowledge and understanding of the operating components of the type of assembly being subject to testing. It is the rool of the AHJ to determine who is qualified to conduct these tests. Acceptance testing shall be conducted to include all means activation when closing the door.
The test is to be conducted annually and to include a Function Test and a Visual Inspection. The Visual Inspection is to include:
1. Labels to be clearly visual and legible.
2. No open holes or breaks on the surface of the door or frame.
3. Glazing and vision light frames must too be intact and secure.
4. Signage shall not be installed on the glazing material of the door assembly.
5. All components are to be secured, aligned and are in working order.
6. There are to be no missing or broken components.
7. Door clearances do not exceed those previously listed either vertically or horizontally.
8. The self closing device must be present and operational and this door closing device fully closes and latches the door.
9. For coordinators, when present, must function properly forcing the inactive door to close first and then the active door permitting a closed and latched door assembly.
10. Latching Hardware such as Locks, Latches and Exit Devices present are to function so as to allow the door to be positively latched with the frame when the door s in the closed position. Must be labeled. Must be confirmed the exit device is a Fire Exit Device and not Panic Hardware as they differ in vital ways.
11. Any modifications to the fire door assembly that interfere or prohibit the proper operation of the required operations are expressly disallowed.
12. Verify that no field modifications have been conducted that would void the fire label.
13. When meeting edge protection, gasketing and edge seals are required they are to be inspected to verify both their presence and integrity.
14. Doors cannot be blocked, propped open or otherwise concealed.
15. Closing mechanisms must be in working condition at all times and tested frequently to ensure proper operation.
16. Any Repair Work that has been must be done with parts obtained as original replacement parts, labeled or listed and after work the assembly must be tested to ensure the repair was done correctly, that proper operation and full compliance are obtained. Holes where fasteners once existed must be filled with steel fasteners.
AHJ and Code Officials: These individuals are the responsible parties to ensure Installation and Maintenance along with annual inspections are conducted along with verifying those individuals conducting the annual inspections are qualified with proper knowledge of the subject matter. They will too establish acceptable inspection parameters and determine and grant acceptable grace periods(s) for making corrective actions.
Facility Managers play a huge role as they are responsible for installation, ongoing maintenance and periodic inspection and operational testing of fire door assemblies. Specifically they are to locate and identify all fire door assemblies within their scope of responsibility, maintain records of these inspections and document maintenance is performed all within the guidelines of NFPA 80 including the execution of annual inspections by qualified individuals.
Facility Maintenance Personnel must be properly trained on how to recognize fire rated assemblies and the requirements for the proper installation and maintenance of builders hardware installed on the rated swinging doors. A knowledge of what field modification may and may not be permitted and be prepared to conduct a visual inspection of the rated assemblies.
The Top Ten Fire Door Deficiencies:
1. Painted or missing fire door labels
2. Poor clearance dimensions around the perimeter of the door in the closed position
3. Kick down door holders
4. Auxiliary hardware items that interfere with the intended function of the door (barrel bolts and dead bolts, etc)
5. Fire doors blocked to stay in the open position
6. Area surrounding the fire door assembly blocked by furniture, equipment and/or boxes
7. Broken defective or missing hardware items (latch bolts and/or strike plated, closer arms, cover plates, etc)
8. Fire exit hardware installed on doors that are not labeled for use with fire exit hardware
9. Missing or incorrect fasteners
10. Bottom flush bolts that do not project Â½" into the strike
The Role of the Fire Door Inspector:
- Responsible for the functional testing and inspecting listed and labeled fire door assemblies as directed by the owner.
- Responsible for recording and filing a comprehensive report of inspection findings.
- Finds doors compliant or non-compliant and submits a report with those findings.
- Willing to educate the owner and AHJ when needed.
The Role of the Building Owner:
- Responsible for ensuring fire door assemblies are compliant under the new requirements.
- Provides access to their facility and an escort.
- Provides plans, blue prints or hardware schedule and a list of openings to be inspected.
- Applies unique identifier (ID number) to each opening.Ensures any needed repairs are performed.
- Create an individual report for each door.
- Document and photograph all deficiencies and add to report.
- Compile report and issue to Building Owner with a copy for the AHJ.
CFDI Door Inspection Form
Fire & Egree Door Inspection Steps
Thank you: Richard Howard AAADM CFDAI CPL DHC DHT ICPL IQP
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