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Do Corridor Doors Require Smoke Gasketing in Healthcare Occupancies?

Archive for the ‘Ask The Code Weenie!’ Category

Do Corridor Doors Require Smoke Gasketing in Healthcare Occupancies?

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

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

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Smoke Gasketing in Healthcare Occupancies

Tuesday, August 28th, 2018

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.

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

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

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


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