Q: We have an existing overhead rolling fire door acting as a curtain-window between a phlebotomy area and the egress corridor that is no longer needed (like to those found in Pharmacy areas to the corridor). It is currently connected to the fire system for release and also has a fusible link. We want to disconnect it from the fire system, keep it closed, and drywall the window area so that it does not appear it was ever there. The question arose, can this be done, or do we need to go through the cost to physically remove it. It is viewed by some that once it was in place it must always be tested and inspected unless completely removed. However, I see this as being similar to walling off a dumbwaiter with “2 hr. shaft-wall” when it is no longer needed. We have been allowed to do this by our state agency. What do you think?
A: I think your analogy is apt for this situation. According to sections 4.5.8 and 188.8.131.52 of the 2012 LSC, whenever a device is required for code compliance, it must be continuously maintained. But, if you close-up the opening in such a way that complies with new construction requirements, then the over-head rolling fire door is no longer needed. So, boxing in the device and abandoning in place would be acceptable.
And, according to section 184.108.40.206 of the 2012 LSC, existing life safety features obvious to the public, if not required by the code, must be either maintained or removed. Well, if you box-up and cover the overhead rolling fire door (and it is no longer required), then it is no longer obvious to the public and can be removed.
While my personal choice would be to remove the overhead rolling fire door if it is no longer needed and used, your plan to cover it up would be acceptable as long as it is no longer needed.