Door Hardware: Codes for Fire and Life Safety

By Thomas A. Westerkamp  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: This PagePt. 2: What is the Primary Goal of Fire-Exit Hardware?Pt. 3: The Three Parts of a Door Hardware Specification Document

Properly specifying door hardware for institutional and commercial facilities requires maintenance and engineering managers to balance a series of considerations, including initial and life-cycle costs, performance requirements, and security. But beyond these priorities, managers also need to factor in the impact of codes and standards when selecting and installing handles, locks, closers, hinges, and related products.

By reviewing applicable codes and guidelines for door-hardware products — most importantly, those related to fire and life safety and accessibility — managers can successfully incorporate these standards into the specification process.

Applicable Codes

The official publications that codifying bodies provide are the main source for information about codes and standards. These standards are available in hard-copy and online versions from reference libraries or by mail, phone, or online via the organization's websites.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1: Fire Code, contains references and summaries of more than 130 NFPA codes and standards covering a range of fire-protection and life-safety issues. Among the available references and summaries:

  • NFPA 13: Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems
  • NFPA 25: Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems
  • NFPA 54: National Fuel Gas Code
  • NFPA 30: Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code

NFPA 80: Standards for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives, codifies and references standards for fire doors and fire windows, while NFPA 101: Safety to Life in Buildings and Structures, covers the life safety code.

Authorities having jurisdiction determine the codes that apply in a specific geographic area. They use these codes as the basis for local building codes. Also, the International Code Council (ICC)/American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A117.1, American National Standard for Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities, codifies accessibility rules based on the guidelines established under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Continue Reading: Door Hardware: Code Considerations

Door Hardware: Codes for Fire and Life Safety

What is the Primary Goal of Fire-Exit Hardware?

The Three Parts of a Door Hardware Specification Document

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  posted on 7/5/2011   Article Use Policy

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