Q: Our hospital facility was constructed under the new construction chapter 18 in 2000 Life Safety Code, but is now considered existing conditions under the 2012 Life Safety Code. We have a soiled linen room that is greater than 100 square feet, and is sprinkled, and the door needs to be replaced due to damage. Does the door still need to be a 45-minute fire-rated door assembly, now that the facility is in the existing category of chapter 19?
A: Yes, it does, because sections 4.5.8 and 188.8.131.52 of the 2012 LSC says once a feature of life safety is required by the LSC, you must maintain that for the life of the building unless the new construction requirements change and no longer require it. Also, section 184.108.40.206 says the existing feature of life safety cannot be removed where such feature is a requirement for new construction. So, you need to replace it with a properly rated fire door assembly for new construction. The reason there is an existing healthcare chapter that does not require a ¾ hour fire-rated door on a hazardous room, is it is for the older hospitals that built hazardous rooms when they were not required to be 1-hour fire rated. They are permitted to remain in use without having to meet the new construction requirements. But since your facility was constructed under the 2000 LSC that did require 1-hour fire rated hazardous rooms, you need to maintain that for the life of the building.