The Final Question on Corridor Doors

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 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 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.