Look for these when figuring out if your doors are up to fire code
• Does it work?
A door should close completely and in a controlled manner in about 5 seconds– does your door do this? If a door does not operate in the correct way, it will fail fire inspection. This doesn’t mean it merely closes, it means it closes in a timely manner and stays tightly shut.
• Is it Labeled?
All fire doors must be labeled with their correct specifications. Even if the door is completely functional, an illegible labeling will render the door unfit for use. To make a door fire code compliant, all labels must be visible and easy to read.
• Does it Close?
It is required that all fire doors have automatic or self-closing closers– having defective closers is one of the biggest reasons that commercial doors will fail their fire code inspection. Furthermore, if there is something wedged or stuck behind the door that does not allow it to close, even if the closer is perfectly functional, it will fail its fire code inspection.
• Does it Latch?
For whatever reason, latching hardware is often removed from fire doors. This may be because it makes its everyday usage more convenient, however this also eliminates any prospect of being fire code compliant. If you have a fire door that is otherwise up to code, consider upgrading new latches and knobs instead of buying and installing an entirely new door.
• Is There Too Much Clearance?
If there is too much clearance open when your door closes, it will not be fire code compliant. According to Lori Green of Ingersoll-Rand, “The maximum clearance allowed for wood doors is 1/8” at the head, jambs, and meeting stiles of pairs, with a maximum of 3/16” for hollow metal doors and a maximum of ¾” between the bottom of the door and the top of the flooring or threshold”.
• Are the Fasteners Correct?
The door was supplied with compliant fasteners when installed or delivered, but if those fasteners have been incorrectly added or if they were lost and replaced by non-compliant fasteners, the door will not be up to code.
• Are There Holes?
If there are any holes in the door, it will not be fire code compliant. This isn’t necessarily from violent damage or rust as hole can be left behind when hardware is removed or replaced. Often times these holes are filled with filler, but if this filler is not fire-code compliant, the door will still not be fire code compliant.
• Is the Glass Intact? Is it Impact Resistant?
If there are any cracks in your glass, obviously the door will not be fire code compliant. However, there is also a large portion of doors that, because of their age, were not manufactured with impact resistance fire glass. Make sure your door’s glass is not only uncracked, but also new enough to be impact resistant.
• Has it Been Modified?
If your door has been modified, it may not be fire code compliant. This could be from newly installed mortise locks, kick and protection plates, or even hole-viewers. Fire code dictates that these holes can only have a maximum width of between ¾” (for places and hardware) and 1” (for hole-viewers), make sure your doors are inline with these requirements or you risk failing a fire code inspection.