Fire Doors, Life Safety, and Hardware: Avoiding code confusion

6.4.4−Locks or Latches
Any lock, latch, or fire exit hardware shall meet both life safety (i.e. single motion to unlatch) and fire protection requirements. All single doors and the active leaves on pairs of doors shall have an active latch that cannot be held retracted, unless it projects automatically upon fire alarm.

The inactive leaf on pairs of doors not required for exit purposes may have automatic flush bolts, except where panic hardware is required. Listed manual flush bolts or listed surface bolts can be used on pairs of doors to rooms not normally occupied. Doors in a means of egress shall not have deadbolts unless retracted when the latch bolt is retracted (i.e. simultaneous latch retraction and interconnected locks).

6.4.5−Protection Plates
Protective plates more than 406 mm (16 in.) high require specific door manufacturer’s listing. To not need a label, the plate has to be located within the bottom 406 mm of the door. In other words, a stretcher plate needs a label because it is mounted above this area. Larger field-installed protection plates must be labelled and installed in accordance with their listing.

Doors swinging in pairs, where located in a means of egress, shall not be equipped with astragals that inhibit free use of either leaf. Pairs of doors that do require astragals must have at least one attached in place to project approximately 19 mm (3/4 in.) or as otherwise indicated in the individual published listings.

Gasketing on fire doors or frames shall be furnished only in accordance with the published listings of the door, frame, and gasketing material manufacturer.

All devices shall be installed in accordance to the manufacturer’s instructions and adjusted to function as described in the listing.

NFPA 80-2007, 5.2.1–Inspection
Fire door assemblies shall be inspected and tested not less than annually and a written report shall be signed and kept for inspection by the AHJ. Doors, frames, and hardware are tested and Underwriters Laboratories (UL)- or Intertek Testing Services (ITS)-labelled based on performance. No single door leaf may exceed 1219 mm (48 in.) in width or 3.1 m (10 ft) in height.

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  1. This is a concise review of some of the issues I see and deal with everyday.
    I would like it to be mandatory for all construction site Supervisor to be trained by an industry expert on NFPA – 80.
    As well if construction companies would accept responsibility to have all fire doors inspected and a written report provided, by an industry credentialed professional, prior to occupancy it would rectify issues prior to them becoming a problem.

    1. Yes, fire doors are to remain closed at all times unless a mechanical hold-open device is installed, and it is activated and released by the fire alarm. This would be tested and reported yearly by a fire alarm technician/fire door inspector. Otherwise, anything manually holding the door ie: wedge, kick down door holder, is not acceptable.

  2. In Ontario, are there rules for condominiums regarding residents’ unit doors? Specifically, I want to know the rules for installing a peep hole. Is it allowed? Can I have more than one? Where is the rule written?

    1. Iris. Yes a peephole or door viewer is allowed as long as hole diameter does not exceed the maximum of 3/4” or 19mm as stated in NFPA 80

  3. So many mind blowing stupidly written rules about doors.
    You all talk about fire door and safety and one motion latch release and yet you have round knobs on your fire and condo doors. Imagine someone running away from fire with child in hands and trying to open your very “safe”door….. What a joke of rules and regulations.

  4. Can I change a passage door handle to a privacy on a fire rated door? This is for a residential unit in a 3 storey building.

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