Free NFPA 80 Webinar

Free Webinar:  NFPA 80, Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Swinging Fire Doors

Sponsored by DHI, FDAI, Door Security & Safety Foundation, & Intertek August 28, 12:30 – 2:00 pm EST

Building owners and managers, authorities having jurisdiction, and the fire door inspectors all have important roles and responsibilities in a building’s annual fire door inspection process. This webinar will discuss the current requirements of the 2010 NFPA 80: Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives, related to the inspection, testing, and maintenance of fire door assemblies as well as the specific responsibilities of all parties involved in the door inspection process. Some of the changes to the 2013 edition of NFPA 80 will also be highlighted. In addition, common door deficiencies and inspection issues to look for in the field will be shown.

This is a timely offer from NFPA as the 2010 edition of NFPA 80 will be referenced by the new 2012 edition of the Life Safety Code when that is finally adopted by CMS. Be ready for the new testing and inspection requirements for all fire doors by attending this free webinar.

Solving Fire Door Penetrations

I ran across a vendor called Fire Door Solutions, Inc. ( who has come up with a unique solution for those pesky penetrations in fire rated doors. On older fire doors, it is not uncommon for the facility to replace the automatic closure with a new device, but the mounting hole pattern on the new device does not always line up with the old one. NFPA 80 Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives (2010 edition), section permits holes in doors to be filled with a steel bolt, or the same material that the door is made of. I quote the 2010 edition of NFPA 80 as that is the edition that healthcare organization will need to be in compliant with once the new 2012 edition of the Life Safety Code is adopted. Also, the 1999 edition of NFPA 80 does not address repairing holes in fire rated doors.


What I commonly see in the healthcare industry as I conduct inspections and surveys, is a maintenance person will take a standard steel bolt, nut and washers and insert them to fill the left-over holes in the door. While this meets the intent of the standard, it leaves a slightly unprofessional look to the door, to say the least. Fire Door Solutions has developed a thru-bolt that has flat heads on both ends, has both male and female threads, and screws into itself. Once installed it leaves a very clean look without the ‘tail end’ of the bolt extending through the door with washers and a nut. (See picture to the left, which is courtesy of Lori Greene)







Another product which Fire Door Solutions developed and markets is a firestop caulk to fill holes in fire rated doors. One might think that they could just use one of the many different firestop caulks available on the market today, and just squirt some of the ‘red stuff’ into the hole, and be good. Well, one would be wrong, as until recently, there was no firestop caulk available on the market with an approved listing from an independent testing laboratory for fire door repairs, according to Fire Door Solutions. They developed this firestop caulk, had it tested by a well-known independent testing laboratory and now have the only listed firestop caulk approved for use to fill holes in fire rated doors, up to 3/4 inch. According to their literature, the thru-bolts and firestop caulk are paint-able. I talked with their VP of Operations recently, and he told me the big problem with standard firestop caulk used to fill  is it would not withstand the hose stream test that NFPA standards require. His new caulk passed those tests without difficulty.

Now, I’m not endorsing these products as I have never used them. But it seems to me that they could serve to solve frequent problems when changing out defective hardware on fire rated doors, rather than tossing the doors away and purchase new ones. Since operation funds are always tight for hospitals and nursing homes, this could go a long way to keep those operating budgets in check.

Door Closing Speed

Here’s another interesting compliance issue that hospital facility managers will soon have to deal with…. door closing speed on doors mounted with automatic closing devices (doors closures).

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 (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.


Fire and Smoke Doors

When the 2012 edition of the LSC is finally adopted (sometime in 2013, presumably) one of the more striking changes that facility managers will have to adjust to, is the annual fire and smoke door inspection requirement. Section of the 2012 edition of the LSC requires compliance with section 7.2.1. Section requires compliance with NFPA 80 Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives (2010 edition), and NFPA 105 Standard for Smoke Door Assemblies and Other Opening Protectives (2010 edition). Also, just as a ‘good measure’, this testing and inspection requirement is repeated in section in the 2012 edition of the LSC for fire doors.

Fire Doors- General

Section 5.2 of NFPA 80 provides the following basic requirements for the annual inspection and testing, which are summarized here:

  1. Fire door assemblies are required to be inspected and tested annually, with the written record of the inspection and test to be signed and dated.
  2. A written performance based inspection and testing program is permitted as an alternative means of compliance, but such programs need to be approved by all of your authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ).
  3. The functional test of the fire door must be performed by an individual with knowledge and understanding of the operating components of the door being tested. Since the standard does not specify what makes an individual “knowledgeable” or “understanding”, then the organization gets to make that determination. Be prepared to justify how you arrived at that determination, and have it documented.
  4. Before testing, a visual inspection must be performed on both sides of the door to identify any damage or missing parts that could create a hazard during the test.
  5. Inspections must include an operational test to verify that the assembly will close under fire conditions, and the door assembly must be rest after a successful test.
  6.  Hardware must be examined and any inoperative hardware, parts, or other defects must be replaced without delay.
  7. Tin-clad and kalamein doors must be inspected for dry rot of the wood core.
  8. Chains and cables employed must be inspected for excessive wear and stretching.
  9. A written record that is signed and dated by the knowledgeable individual performing the inspection must be maintained and made available to the AHJ.

Swinging Fire Doors

On swinging doors, the following must be verified:

  1. No open holes or breaks exist in the surfaces of either the door or the frame
  2. Glazing, vision light frames, and glazing beads are intact and securely fastened in place
  3. The door, frame, hinges, hardware and noncombustible threshold are secured, aligned and in working order with no visible signs of damage
  4. No parts are missing or broken
  5. Clearances under the bottom of the door cannot exceed ¾ inch, and if the door is mounted more than 38 inches above the floor, then the clearance cannot exceed 3/8 inch. Clearances between the top and vertical edges of the door and the frame cannot exceed 1/8 inch for wood doors, and must be 1/8 inch (+ 1/16 inch) for steel doors, as measured on the pull side of the door.
  6. The self-closing device is operational and the active door must fully close when operated from the full open position
  7. If a coordinator is installed, the inactive leaf must close before the active leaf
  8. Positive latching hardware operates and secures the door when it is in the closed position
  9. Ensure that auxiliary hardware items that interfere with the proper operation of the door are not installed on the door or frame
  10. No field modifications have been made to the door or frame that would void the rated label
  11. Where gasketing and edge seals are required, inspect to verify their presence and integrity

Sliding and Overhead Fire Doors

Section 5.2 of NFPA 105 requires horizontal sliding, vertical sliding or overhead rolling fire doors, the following must be verified:

  1. No open holes or breaks exist in the surfaces of the door or frame
  2. Slats, endlocks, bottom bar, guide assembly, curtain entry hood, and flame baffle are correctly installed and intact
  3. Glazing, vision light frames, and glazing beads are intact and securely fastened
  4. Curtain, barrel, and guides are aligned, level, plumb and true
  5. Expansion clearance is maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s listing
  6. Drop release arms and weights are not blocked or wedged
  7. Mounting and assembly bolts are intact and secured
  8. Attachments to jambs are with bolts, expansion anchors, or as otherwise required by the listing
  9. Smoke detectors, if equipped, are installed and operational
  10. No parts are missing or broken
  11. Fusible links, if equipped, are in the location; chain/cable, s-hooks, eyes, and so forth are in good condition, meaning they are not kinked, pinched, twisted or inflexible
  12. Auxiliary hardware items that  interfere with the proper operation are not installed on the door or frame
  13. No field modifications to the door assembly have been performed that would void the door label

Smoke Door Assemblies

On smoke compartment door assemblies, the following actions and functions must be verified:

  1. Smoke door assemblies must be inspected annually.
  2. Doors must be operated to confirm full closure.
  3. Hardware and gaskets shall be inspected annually, and if any parts found to be damaged or inoperative must be replaced.
  4. Tin-clad and kalamein doors shall be inspected for dry rot of the wood core.
  5. A written record that is signed and dated by the knowledgeable individual performing the inspection must be maintained and made available to the AHJ.
  6. Records must be maintained for at least 3 years.