Fire-rated Door Preventive Maintenance Ensures Function
April 9, 2012
Passive fire-protection elements such as fire-rated door are an important components of a strategy to protect against the spread of fire and smoke within a facility. But as with anything in a building, improper maintenance and operation can render useless any fire-rated door.
The National Fire Protection Association's standard NFPA 80, Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives, speaks to the necessary inspection, testing, and maintenance procedures for fire-door assemblies. The 2010 version of NFPA 80 contains a number of elements that must be documented as part of an annual inspection by a knowledgeable person.
The standard includes 11 minimum inspection elements for fire-door assemblies:
- Door surfaces and frames do not have holes or breaks.
- Glazing, vision light frames, and glazing beads are intact.
- Doors, frames, hinges, hardware, and thresholds are aligned.
- There are no missing or broken parts.
- Door clearances around frames and at thresholds are appropriate.
- Self-closure devices operate.
- Coordinators are installed with an inactive leaf closing before active leaf.
- Latching hardware operates and secures the door when closed.
- Auxiliary hardware does not interfere with operation of the door assembly.
- Modifications do not void the label.
- Gasket and edge seals are verified for presence and integrity.
Managers must ensure fire-door assemblies are maintained in a working condition to properly protect door openings in fire walls and smoke partitions. They must apply the annual inspection and testing elements to both new and existing installations. They must also ensure that knowledgeable individuals perform the inspections. Certified third parties generally perform these annual inspections, but qualified in-house staff also can perform them. Managers also must be certain the annual inspection is documented properly. Documentation should include a door index that minimally lists the door number, door type, fire rating, and location. It is important for the inspector to note the time, date, and location of the findings, since conditions of door assemblies can change relatively quickly.