High Rises Can Post Particular Problem for Door Codes

  July 10, 2015

One important area that has changed a good bit in recent years is life safety and fire doors. With NFPA 80 requiring fire door inspections by certified inspectors, ensuring that these doors have the required clearances and operations can be challenging, because not all fire doors are used on a regular basis.

Rick Calhoun, who does a lot of high-rise work as president of Walters & Wolf Interiors, calls attention to one particular problem that often occurs in those types of buildings: The floor is often not level. This, in turn, makes it more difficult to ensure that the required undercuts — under NFPA 80, an undercut of 3/4 of an inch is required for all labeled fire doors — exist when the door is installed.

"When you start going up in the tower (of a high-rise), the level of the flooring can really vary," he says. "We've seen buildings where it's four to five inches difference in elevation from one end of the floor to the other."

Codes often call for certain hardware characteristics that may not be "conducive to a durable opening," says Mark Lineberger, vice president, Valley Doors and Hardware. But if the code requires certain hardware, then you don't want to be caught lacking when the inspector comes around, so keep your fire doors and other life safety features high on the priority list for ongoing inspections and maintenance.

Today's tip comes from Casey Laughman.

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