Feb 22 2016

The Final Question on Corridor Doors

Category: BlogBKeyes @ 12:00 am
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Q: Are all types of corridor doors exempt from having to meet the requirements of NFPA 80?

A: The answer is no. If the corridor door is a fire-rated door, it must be compliant with the requirements of NFPA 80. If the door has a fire rated label, then it is a fire-rated door, and it must be mounted in a fire-rated frame, equipped with a self-closing device, and have positive latching hardware.  The problem that I observe in many hospitals is they used labeled fire-rated doors in walls and barriers that are not fire rated. Therefore, even though the wall or barrier is not required to have a fire-rated door, the fact that the door is fire-rated means the organization must maintain it as such, according to section 4.6.12.2 of the 2000 edition of the LSC. So, if you have a fire-rated door in a corridor wall, and the corridor wall is not required to be fire-rated, then you must still maintain the fire-rated door to the requirements of NFPA 80. Where I often find this problem in hospitals is the smoke compartment. Some designer/architect sees that smoke compartment barriers are required to be 1-hour rated so they specify ¾ hour fire rated doors. Again, a smoke compartment barrier wall is not a fire-rated wall, therefore, the conditions of 19.3.7.5 apply where 1¾ inch thick, solid-bonded, wood-core doors are allowed. Also, some designers/architects see that smoke compartment doors that are of such construction that resists fire for at least 20 minutes are permitted, so they specify 20-minute fire rated doors for smoke compartment openings. Again, this is not required to have fire-rated doors, but since the 20-minute fire-rated doors was installed, you must maintain it to NFPA 80 requirements, which means it must be mounted in a fire rated frame, be self-closing, and positive latching. I see a lot of 20-minute fire rated doors in smoke compartment barriers that do not have positive latching hardware, which is non-compliant with NFPA 80. The organization must maintain the door to NFPA 80, or simply remove the fire rated label, then the door is no longer a fire-rated door that is obvious to the general public, and does not need to be maintained as such.

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Feb 15 2016

What… More on Corridor Doors?

Category: BlogBKeyes @ 12:00 am
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Q:  These corridor doors (i.e. patient rooms); if they are in a 1-hour fire barrier then is it okay for them to only be rated20-minute and not ¾ hour?

A: The answer is no. If a corridor door is part of a fire-rated barrier that serves some other function, such as a vertical opening, exit, or hazardous area, then it must meet the most restrictive requirements of either. In the scenario that you mentioned in your question, the corridor door must be at least a ¾ hour fire rated door, mounted in a fire-rated frame, with self-closing and positive latching hardware. Vertical openings are elevator shafts, mechanical shafts, stairwells, and the like. Exits are horizontal exits and exit passageways. Hazardous areas are storage rooms >50 sq. ft. containing combustibles, soiled utility rooms, fuel-fire heater rooms, laundries >100 sq. ft., paint shops, repair shops, trash collection rooms, laboratories, medical gas rooms (storage rooms with >3,000 cubic feet of compressed gas), and gift shops. I don’t see where a patient room door would be part of any of these fire-rated barriers. However, a patient room door could be part of a smoke compartment barrier. Even though the smoke compartment barrier is required to be 1-hour rated, it is not a fire rated barrier, because the doors in a smoke compartment barrier are only required to be 1¾ inch thick, solid-bonded, wood core doors, or of such construction to resist fire for at least 20 minutes, and must be self-closing. They are just like corridor doors, but must have closers on them.

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Feb 08 2016

Still More on Corridor Doors

Category: BlogBKeyes @ 12:00 am
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Q: Do you think adding tons of signage, and coat hooks would be acceptable on a patient room door?

A: Well…. That depends. Coat hooks on a non-fire rated door? Yes, that would be allowed. Tons of signage? That depends… if the signs were considered ‘decorations’ then section 19.7.5.4 of the 2000 LSC applies and combustible signs that are considered decorations would not be permitted. Signs that were informational (i.e. contact precautions; oxygen administered; diet restrictions, etc.) would be permitted, even if they were combustible.

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Feb 01 2016

More on Corridor Doors

Category: BlogBKeyes @ 12:00 am
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Q: If the corridor doors are only required to resist fire for 20 minutes and someone plasters signage all over them or loads them up with coat racks adding to the fuel load, then who decides if they would still resist fire conditions for 20 minutes?

A: The doors are not required to resist fire for 20 minutes. They are required to be 1¾ inch thick, solid-bonded, wood core, or of such construction that resist fire for not less than 20 minutes. That is not the same as saying they are required to resist fire for 20 minutes.  Therefore, nobody has to decide if they still resist fire for 20 minutes, because the construction of the door was determined acceptable before any items were added to the door. This may sound like a technical loop-hole, but the point I’m trying to make is there should not be a reason for anyone to determine if a corridor door resists fire for 20 minutes. NFPA has indicated that a 1¾ inch solid-bonded, wood-core door is of such construction to resist fire for up to 20 minutes (see section 8.2.3.2.3.2 of the 2000 LSC).

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Jan 25 2016

Corridor Doors

Category: BlogBKeyes @ 12:00 am
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Q: I have read that corridor doors to patient rooms are not required to have closers. If they do have closers, I was told they can have the type that have hold open closer arms, then someone must physically close them.  Hospitals are defend in place facilities so why rely on people to accomplish this?

A: Corridor doors to patient rooms are not required to have closers, according to 19.3.6.3.2 of the 2000 LSC. The concept of having corridor doors to patient rooms without closers allows staff to visibly see into the room to detect any fire or smoke condition. If the door had a closer, then the Annex section recommends the room be protected with a smoke detector. The basic premise of a healthcare occupancy is there is adequate staff on hand to make these observations.

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