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News, Videos | September 28, 2018

A Code Update that’s a Boost to Building Owners!

A Code Update that Provides a Boost to Building Owners.

Doors are a major concern for building owners and facility managers. Ongoing maintenance of doors and architectural hardware represents a significant cost margin to building owners and nowhere is this truer than for healthcare facility and engineering managers where building footprints are vast – often in excess of 1 million square feet or more. Maintaining all doors in large facilities is always a challenge, but of even higher concern for healthcare engineers is fire and smoke barrier management, wherein door maintenance is a critical component. This point is not lost on a highly accomplished architect, Amanda Adams AIA, who has spent much of her career in significant restoration projects – she has noted first- hand how important fire and smoke door assemblies become in sustaining code compliance, providing a safe and healthy environment for building occupants and in achieving her overall architectural vision for a space. Ms. Adams highlighted this point to us at AEGIS, wherein she states,

“The foremost requirement of architecture is shelter. This ranks above aesthetics and creative efforts. All building occupants – users, visitors, tenants, residents – expect a building to provide shelter from the elements. At times, emergency situations arise that cause a building to offer shelter or protection from internal threats (often this is a fire threat)….whether that be protect in place or provide a safe exiting scenario. Passive life safety systems hold top priority in life safety; active systems increase safety and provide additional time. Properly functioning fire doors are a critical basic component to the passive system. A door must fit properly in its frame. Closing hardware must work properly. Positive latching hardware completes the barrier.”

Amanda Adams, Architect

The added strain on fiscal responsibilities for healthcare facilities to “do more with less” heightens theneed to challenge installers to do the work right the first time – it is often noted on our annual inspections of fire and smoke door assemblies that the ongoing challenges to maintenance stem from improper installation (i.e., improperly plumbed door frame and jamb, incorrect or insufficient hardware, incorrect door or glazing type, etc.).

According to the Door Security and Safety Foundation, although doors only represent 2 percent of a typical construction budget, more than 30 percent of punch-list items are on average door-related. It is therefore the opinion of many within the industry that it is in the best interest of building owners to verify fire and smoke doors are installed properly from the outset – a determination that committee members of NFPA 80, Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives also found imperative. In its most current published editions (2016 and 2019), NFPA 80 prescribes in section 5.2.1 that “upon completion of the installation” these assemblies are to be inspected and tested.

Here at AEGIS we believe as well that a comprehensive survey of door installation during construction benefits the building designer and can dramatically decrease ongoing maintenance costs associated with fire and smoke door assemblies. We are here to help you implement this on your next project and can work with your design team through specification and installation through final punch-out.

What is Fire System Commissioning (FCx)

NFPA 3, Recommended Practice for Commissioning of Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems delineates that the commissioning and
integrated testing process would include both active and passive components of fire protection systems. Commissioning is a procedure of verifying a quality process from design inception through development and construction and even extends through the life of the building by ongoing maintenance and operations. Passive fire protection systems, including fire and smoke rated door assemblies, serve as a primary component for most building life safety systems with varying degrees of complexity dependent as such things as occupancy and building geometry. Fire and smoke rated doors are often integrated with fire and life safety systems such as fire alarm, sprinkler, smoke control and emergency electrical systems, and it thus becomes imperative for the fire commissioning team (FCxT) to include qualified fire door commissioning agents (Cx) to be employed. Along with NFPA 3, NFPA also developed NFPA 4, Standard for the Integrated Fire Protection and Life Safety System Testing to work in concert with the recommended practices of commissioning in NFPA 3 to accomplish this task.

AEGIS with its partnerships with engineers and architects, has the practical experience and expertise to support your commissioning team with passive fire protection system components.

– Justin B. Biller, P.E., CHFM, CLSS-HC, CFPS | AEGIS Technical Director

Ask The Code Weenie! | September 26, 2018

Do Corridor Doors Require Smoke Gasketing in Healthcare Occupancies?

Do corridor doors require smoke gasketing in healthcare occupancies (which are classified as Group I-2 under the International Building Code® (IBC)?

There is often confusion encircling this question with facility managers, designers as well as even fire door inspectors. To what is often perceived as ambiguity in the codes related to this subject, this item is routinely missed during design and construction, which often leads to further confusion during the life cycle of the building that a facility manager also faces. The question is multi-faceted as there is various criterion to consider.

Through a series of questions answered, we intend to discuss 3 of the more common questions that we have noted in our work with fire and smoke door code compliance. In this series we cover our final question – refer to previous articles in the series for questions 1 and 2.

For a general listing classification of protection methods, reference to UL is helpful in understanding the parameters of installation regarding Gasketing and Edge-sealing Materials for Fire Doors, Positive-pressure Tested, GVYI.

To address the question – do corridor doors require smoke gasketing in healthcare occupancies (which are classified as Group I-2 under the International Building Code (IBC), in general the following code excerpts from the model codes are included below:

the following code excerpts are considered:

Corridor Doors – NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, 2012

“18.3.6.2* Construction of Corridor Walls.
18.3.6.2.1 Corridor walls shall be permitted to terminate at the ceiling where the ceiling is constructed to limit the transfer of smoke.
18.3.6.2.2 No fire resistance rating shall be required for corridor walls. 18.3.6.2.3* Corridor walls shall form a barrier to limit the transfer of smoke.”

“18.3.6.3* Corridor Doors.
18.3.6.3.1* Doors protecting corridor openings shall be constructed to resist the passage of smoke, and the following also shall apply:

(1) Compliance with NFPA 80, Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives, shall not be required.

(2) A clearance between the bottom of the door and the floor covering not exceeding 1 in. (25 mm) shall be permitted for corridor doors.
(3) Doors to toilet rooms, bathrooms, shower rooms, sink closets, and similar auxiliary spaces that do not contain flammable or combustible material shall not be required to be constructed to resist the passage of smoke.”

As regards the application of NFPA 101 requirements for corridor walls and doors, it is important to recognize the distinction that this code makes from IBC, wherein it does not require corridor walls to be smoke partitions – note the explanatory annex language below specific to this issue:

“A.18.3.6.2.3 While a corridor wall is required to form a barrier to limit the transfer of smoke, such a barrier is not required to be either a smoke barrier or a smoke partition — two terms for which specific Code definitions and requirements apply.”

It is also important to note specifically, that NFPA 101 indicates that gasketing is NOT REQUIRED for corridor doors – note this explanatory language below:

“A.18.3.6.3.1 Gasketing of doors should not be necessary to achieve resistance to the passage of smoke if the door is relatively tight-fitting.”

Corridor Doors – International Building Code, 2012

“407.3 Corridor wall construction. Corridor walls shall be constructed as smoke partitions in accordance with Section 710.
407.3.1 Corridor doors. Corridor doors, other than those in a wall required to be rated by Section 509.4 or for the enclosure of a vertical opening or an exit, shall not have a required fire protection rating and shall not be required to be equipped with self-closing or automatic-closing devices, but shall provide an effective barrier to limit the transfer of smoke and shall be equipped with positive latching. Rollerlatches are not permitted. Other doors shall conform to Section 716.5.”

“710.5.2.2 Smoke and draft control doors. Where required elsewhere in the code, doors in smoke partitions shall meet the requirements for a smoke and draft control door assembly tested in accordance with UL 1784. The air leakage rate of the door assembly shall not exceed 3.0 cubic feet per minute per square foot (0.015424m3/(s • m2)) of door opening at 0.10 inch (24.9 Pa) of water for both the ambient temperature test and the elevated temperature exposure test. Installation of smoke doors shall be in accordance with NFPA 105.”

Conclusion

The IBC again is stricter in its application than NFPA 101 is for this requirement – note the ICC commentary for this section which clearly identifies corridor doors are to meet UL 1784:

“Only doors in smoke partitions that are required elsewhere in the code to be smoke and draft control doors must comply with section. Section 407.3.1 requires corridor doors in Group I-2 to ‘limit the transfer of smoke’; therefore, those doors must meet this section.”

As such, IBC does require corridor doors in I-2 occupancies to meet UL 1784. This results in the effect that life safety surveys involving the use of NFPA 101, 2012 cannot technically mandate the installation of smoke gasketing either for existing or new construction involving corridor doors.

The same would not hold true for fire prevention inspections conducted under the International Fire Code for facilities constructed to meet either the IBC or the legacy Uniform Building Code (UBC) – previously adopted throughout Western Pacific regions of the US. What strategy should facility managers take about existing fire doors where edge sealing is not equipped on fire doors in their facility? Like so many things in code compliance, the answer depends on the specifics of your individual facility. If you need any assistance in understanding this parameter for your facility, AEGIS has fire protection specialists here to help you with code consulting services and inspection services that can help maintain compliance with fire door strategies. What about smoke barrier doors – do the codes say I need to install gasketing on these doors? This question will be answered in our next article of this series.

– Justin B. Biller, P.E., CHFM, CLSS-HC, CFPS | AEGIS Technical Director

Read the rest here »

Fire Safety, Videos | September 24, 2018

Fire Door Safety Week 2018. SUPERHEROES

INTRODUCING THE FIRE SAFETY SUPERHEROES!

Mark Waller-Dr. Door, www.aegisfirebarrier.com
Justin Biller-The Code Weenie-www.egafire.com
Aaron Johnson-The Code Coach-www.thecodecoach.com

#FireDoorsSaveLives  #firedoorsafetyweek

Fire Door Safety Week 2018-Pledge Your Support!

#FireDoorsSaveLives #AegisFireBarrierConsultants #firedoorsafetyweek

News | September 17, 2018

LifeDoor. The Sleep Safely Solution

We at AEGIS are committed to the values of life safety protection. And when we find other like-minded companies, we won’t hesitate to let you know. Which is why we just couldn’t wait to share our excitement about LifeDoor!

We first found LifeDoor by stumbling upon a post shared on LinkedIn. Two guys with an unbelievably simple but revolutionary idea were looking for supporters to back them on KickStarter. Joel Sellinger, a career firefighter, had seen first hand the life-saving value of closing the bedroom door at night. Together with Ben Docksteader, an engineer and project manager with years of experience bringing new tech to market, the two have created an elegant solution to an inherently human dilemma. Most of us just don’t like to sleep with the bedroom door shut even when told it can save our life in the event of a fire.

So, what exactly does LifeDoor do?  “LifeDoor is a new life-saving invention that keeps your family safe. In the event of a fire, a closed door slows the spread of flames and protects you from smoke and noxious fumes, buying you and your family time to escape to safety. No matter the reason for sleeping with a door open, whether it’s the kids, pets or personal preference, LifeDoor has got your family covered. Our patent pending technology listens for the distinct sound of a smoke detector so you can Sleep Safely.”-www.lifedoor.io

Q: Are my bedroom doors fire doors?

A: Likely not, however a closed bedroom door is a BARRIER that could save your life!

FIRE IS GETTING FASTER. “Because of synthetic materials, furniture and construction, fire spreads faster than ever.” -NIST Technical Note 1455-1 February 2008 Revision . You have approximately 3 minutes to flee to safety.“If you can’t get out of your house, the best thing you can possibly do is get a closed door between you and where the fire is.”Steve Kerber, Director UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute

“About half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m and 7 a.m., when most people are asleep.” -closeyourdoor.org

LifeDoor listens for the sound of your smoke detectors. The smoke alarm triggers LifeDoor to close the door, light the room and sound a secondary alarm. Genius idea, right? With so much attention being put on the importance of sleeping with your bedroom door closed in case of a fire emergency, we are confident LifeDoor is a product that will soon become an industry standard.

 

Q: Shouldn’t my goal be to get out of the house if it’s on fire?

A: Yes! But if you or a loved one can’t, remember that “Fire is FAST, HOT, DARK & DEADLY!  

LifeDoor. Because a closed door could save your life in the event of a fire!

-Karen Aliaga & Stephanie Smith | AEGIS

Ask The Code Weenie! | August 28, 2018

Smoke Gasketing in Healthcare Occupancies

Do fire and smoke rated doors require smoke gasketing in healthcare occupancies which are classified as Group I-2 under the International Building Code® (IBC)?

Ask The Code Weenie!

IN SHORT:

While NFPA 80 nor NFPA 105 specifically state fire doors and smoke doors require smoke gasketing, the key is to check the applicable code or standard, (i.e., International Building Code), for a limitation on air infiltration, typically a reference to UL 1784, Air Leakage Tests of Door Assemblies, as the test standard, and this would only be required on doors contained within a smoke barrier not part of a cross-corridor assembly.  For fire doors and smoke doors in certain locations, the limit for air infiltration is 3 cfm per square foot or less as tested at a pressure of 0.10 inch of water (0.02 m3/(s · m2) or less as tested at a pressure of 0.02 kPa)—for most door sizes, this cannot be achieved without smoke gasketing. The requirements for smoke doors and fire doors depend on where they are used. As such, IBC only requires fire rated smoke barrier doors to meet UL 1784.  This results in the effect that life safety surveys involving the use of NFPA 101, 2012 cannot technically mandate the installation of smoke gasketing either for existing or new construction involving smoke barrier doors.

 The same would not hold true for fire prevention inspections conducted under the International Fire Codeâ for facilities constructed to meet either the IBC or the legacy Uniform Building Code (UBC) – previously adopted throughout Western Pacific regions of the US.  What strategy should facility managers take about existing fire doors where edge sealing is not equipped on fire doors in their facility?  Like so many things in code compliance, the answer depends on the specifics of your individual facility.  If you need any assistance in understanding this parameter for your facility, AEGIS has fire protection specialists here to help you with code consulting services and inspection services that can help maintain compliance with fire door strategies.  What about smoke barrier doors – do the codes say I need to install gasketing on these doors?  This question will be answered in our next article of this series.

Read the rest here »

FAQ | June 21, 2018

Field Labeling Verifies the Door Will Perform As Specified in a Fire

BUYER BEWARE! We recently found this example of incorrect field labeling as shown in the photos. The labels have purposefully been blurred to protect the not so innocent. In the second photo you can see that the “accredited” company added their own label specifying the rating of the door right below the original label. The original label is still clearly visible and says that the door has a 3/4 hour or 45 minute rating.  See the issue with the incorrect field label? The “accredited” company labeled the door as having a 90 minute rating even though the original label is marked as a 45 minute door.  The original label is by UL. UL is one of the 19 Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories. A testing laboratory is a company that actually performs the fire tests and they are the experts on fire rated manufacturing. Follow this link for a complete list of NRTLs. The “accredited” company has created its own label which is not backed by a testing laboratory.

The correct process for field labeling a door includes:

  • Before field labeling the door, frame or hardware the original specifications must be verified & documented.
  • A fire door can’t be rated higher than the wall rating.
  • The door, hardware and frame are installed per NFPA 80.

AEGIS partners with QAI Laboratories for our relabeling service. And our technicians are Certified as FDAI (Fire Door Assembly Inpector) to repair and relabel the fire door components.

Read the rest here »

News | June 18, 2018

eVA Registered & SWaM MICRO Certified

AEGIS is proud announce that we are eVA registered and SWaM micro certified. What does this mean for you?

TAX INCENTIVES! Companies committed to conducting business operations with SWAM certified companies acquire the benefits of federal and state tax incentives. One of the core procurement values throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia is to purchase from SWaM businesses. Virginia prefers to infuse money into its own economy statewide, which is why we are so proud to be SWaM Micro Certified.

Ask The Code Weenie! | March 20, 2018

When Do I Need to Install Edge-Sealing Devices on Protective Openings?

There is often confusion encircling this question with facility managers, designers as well as even fire door inspectors. To what is often perceived as ambiguity in the codes related to this subject, this item is routinely missed during design and construction, which often leads to further confusion during the life cycle of the building that a facility manager also faces. The question is multi-faceted as there is various criterion to consider.

Through a series of questions answered, we intend to discuss 3 of the more common questions that we have noted in our work with fire and smoke door code compliance. In this series we cover our first question, with the other 2 questions to follow shortly in subsequent discussions.

  1. When is edge sealing specifically required for fire protection rated doors?
  2. Do fire and smoke rated doors require smoke gasketing in healthcare occupancies which are classified as Group I-2 under the International Building Code® (IBC)?
  3. Do corridor doors require smoke gasketing in healthcare occupancies (which are classified as Group I-2 under the International Building Code® (IBC)?

For a general listing classification of protection methods, reference to UL is helpful in understanding the parameters of installation regarding Gasketing and Edge-sealing Materials for Fire Doors, Positive-pressure Tested, GVYI

To address the question – when edge sealing is specifically required for fire protection rated door openings, in general the following code excerpt from the model code adopted throughout most of the US – the International Cod Council’s International Building Code:

Edge Sealing for Fire Doors – International Building Code® (IBC), 2012

“716.5.1 Side-hinged or pivoted swinging doors. Fire door assemblies with side-hinged and pivoted swinging doors shall be tested in accordance with NFPA 252 or UL 10C. After 5 minutes into the NFPA 252 test, the neutral pressure level in the furnace shall be established at 40 inches (1016 mm) or less above the sill.”

While the UL 10C test method referenced in this section specifically addresses testing for positive pressure on during burn tests for doors, the NFPA 252 test standard does not. Positive pressure testing, however is still mandated by this section since the IBC section specifically establishes a neutral plane height (first established under UBC 7-2) for testing purposes.

Positive pressure testing is required to more closely mimic real fire conditions -as heat develops within an enclosure, pressure begins to develop within the compartment relative to the pressure outside of the room. The pressure continues to increase until the availability of oxygen relative to fuel load causes the fire to reach equilibrium. The transition between the positive and negative pressure in a compartment is referred to as the neutral pressure plane.

In the positive pressure zone in the upper part of the compartment smoke and hot gases are forced through any openings in the doors assembly. In laboratory furnaces implementing fire door testing, the neutral plane is achieved through controlled venting. By establishing the neutral plane at 40” or less, it subjects the door to positive pressures on the door forcing flames and heated gas through gaps and clearances in the tested door assembly.

As such, edge sealing performs a critical function in protecting door clearances and gaps – typically success of the positive pressure tests relies on edge sealing to be in place during the tests, and as such is required to be installed in the field as part of the assembly where required to meet IBC section 716.5.1. This requirement, thus applies to new construction required to meet IBC, and this has been a requirement in the 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009 codes previous since its inception.

This provision would apply to all IBC required fire doors. NFPA 101, Life Safety Code®, however does not have the same requirement – note excerpts below from the 2012 edition which is currently adopted for enforcement in many healthcare facilities throughout the US.

Edge Sealing for Fire Doors – NFPA® 101, Life Safety Code®, 2012

“8.3.3.1 Openings required to have a fire protection rating by Table 8.3.4.2 shall be protected by approved, listed, labeled fire door assemblies and fire window assemblies and their accompanying hardware, including all frames, closing devices, anchorage, and sills in accordance with the requirements of NFPA 80, Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives, except as otherwise specified in this Code.”

“8.3.3.2* Fire protection ratings for products required to comply with 8.3.3 shall be as determined and reported by a nationally recognized testing agency in accordance with NFPA 252, Standard Methods of Fire Tests of Door Assemblies; ANSI/UL 10B, Standard for Fire Tests of Door Assemblies; ANSI/UL 10C, Standard for Positive Pressure Fire Tests of Door Assemblies; NFPA 257, Standard on Fire Test for Window and Glass Block Assemblies; or ANSI/UL 9, Standard for Fire Tests of Window Assemblies.”

Conclusion

NFPA 101 section 8.3.3.2 does not specifically require compliance with test standard UL 10C and as such allows compliance with NFPA 252 or UL10B also which do not require the positive pressure testing parameter. This results in the effect that life safety surveys involving the use of NFPA 101, 2012 cannot technically mandate the installation of edge sealing either for existing or new construction involving fire doors. The same would not hold true for fire prevention inspections conducted under the International Fire Code® for facilities constructed to meet either the IBC or the legacy Uniform Building Code (UBC) – previously adopted throughout Western Pacific regions of the US.

What strategy should facility managers take about existing fire doors where edge sealing is not equipped on fire doors in their facility? Like so many things in code compliance, the answer depends on the specifics of your individual facility. If you need any assistance in understanding this parameter for your facility, AEGIS has fire protection specialists here to help you with code consulting services and inspection services that can help maintain compliance with fire door strategies. What about smoke barrier doors – do the codes say I need to install gasketing on these doors? This question will be answered in our next article of this series.

– Justin B. Biller, P.E., CHFM, CLSS-HC, CFPS | AEGIS Technical Director

Fire Safety | February 23, 2018

Moving Past the Apathy about Fire Door Inspection

We have sprinklers and alarms, are fire doors really all that important?

“Here’s the reality”, they begin, “There just isn’t enough money or time, and let’s face it, enforcement, to make door inspections part of the priority.” Or so the story goes. Talk to building managers, business owners or school superintendents and you will hear the same arguments over and over.

They continue, “The code is vague and open to interpretation. Doors that pass inspection today are non-compliant again tomorrow. The failure rate is too high. Inspections create legal paper work that makes me liable. No one is enforcing the code.” Or my personal favorite, “fire door inspection is a scam”.

Here’s the actual reality. Active and passive systems are meant to work together during a fire, not one in place of the other. Together they control fires and save lives. The code isn’t all that vague when interpreted by competent life safety professionals with the intention of proactively saving lives. The failure rate is high in most facilities. And this should be a very loud call to action. Inspections do create a paper trail that could lead to liability if you do nothing to maintain your doors, but death due to negligence is a larger problem.

The building code is a living document. It grows and matures based on real life experience. Real life experience like the one of Edward Pikinski, age eleven and pictured here. He is one of the 90 pupils who died in the Our Lady of Angels School Fire in 1958.

The primary cause of loss of life was the inadequacy of the exits, coupled with the use of substandard doors that were propped open at the time of the fire. The building code still enforces the invaluable lessons learned from Edward’s unnecessary death and the deaths of far too many other people. The lesson is clear: APATHY KILLS!

– Stephanie Smith | AEGIS Office Manager


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