Currently, the 2000 edition of the NFPA 101 Life Safety Code (LSC) does not address the speed in which an automatic door closing device actually closes the door. But when the new 2012 edition of the LSC is adopted, that changes. Section 188.8.131.52.7 (6) says:
“Door closures are adjusted properly to control the closing speed of door leaves in accordance with accessibility requirements.”
The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) guideline 4.13.10 of 1991 says the following about door closing speed:
“If a door is equipped with an automatic closing device (door closure), then the sweep range of the closure must be adjusted so that from an open position of 70 degrees, the door will take at least 3 seconds to move to a point 3 inches from the latch, measured to the leading edge of the door.”
You might say that this ADA requirement has been in effect for decades and you’d be correct. But for the most part, ADA requirements/guidelines are not enforced in an existing occupancy. Once the facility has passed its final occupancy permit inspection, ADA is rarely taken into consideration. This is simply due to the fact that there are few (or no) inspectors using the ADA guidelines as their standard. Now, that changes, at least for the door closing speed, as the LSC has finally referenced that specific issue into their code, which will be enforced by multiple AHJs.
Ironically, the LSC is still silent on the maximum amount of time required to close a swinging door equipped with an automatic closing device.