Safety

Smoke barrier doors: Fire-rated?

Hospital Safety Insider, December 1, 2016

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Our life safety expert tells you what you need to know to comply with the new LSC

Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the HCPro book, The New Life Safety Code®: How to Prepare in Advance, by Brad Keyes, CHSP. Keyes is owner and senior consultant for Keyes Life Safety Compliance and the senior life safety consultant for the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP), where his responsibilities include all areas of life safety as well as emergency management in directing accreditation decisions and policy. Visit http://hcmarketplace.com/analyzing-the-hospital-life-safety-survey-second-edition for more information or to order the book.

It is important to understand that smoke compartment barriers are not fire-rated barriers, even though they use walls that are required to be fire-rated. Sounds confusing? Well, don’t be surprised, as that just puts you in the same boat with approximately 50% of the architects, designers, consultants, facility managers, and even surveyors and inspectors who are assessing and making recommendations on smoke compartment barriers. Where the confusion begins is in Chapter 18. In the 2000 edition, Chapter 18 states that smoke compartment barriers must have a fire-resistive rating of not less than 1 hour. Well, a 1-hour fire-rated wall would require a 3/4-hour fire-rated door, right? Well, not in this case, because the smoke compartment barrier walls are not fire-rated walls. The 2000 edition went on to say that doors in smoke compartment barriers are required to be substantial doors, such as 1¾-inch-thick, solid-bonded wood-core doors, or must be of construction that resists fire for not less than 20 minutes. Aha: 20 minutes. It’s right there. The smoke compartment doors must be 20-minute fire-rated, right? Well, no, they are not. This section said the door can be of construction that resists fire for not less than 20 minutes; not that it has to be a 20-minute fire-rated door. That’s a big difference.

To make the issue more confusing, the 2000 edition went on in Chapter 18 to say that doors in smoke barriers must comply with a specific section in Chapter 8. Thumbing back to that section in Chapter 8, it says doors in smoke compartment barriers must be 20-minute fire-rated doors. So there! That’s where it says smoke compartment doors must be 20-minute fire-rated doors, right? Well, no. This is an example where something written in the core chapters (Chapter 1 to 11) conflicts with something written in an occupancy chapter. Remember, the occupancy chapter (Chapter 18) said doors in smoke barriers are required only to be substantial doors, 1¾-inch-thick, solid-bonded wood-core doors or be of such construction to resist fire for 20 minutes. So this description of a smoke barrier door in Chapter 18 does not agree with the description of a smoke barrier door in Chapter 8. What do we do?

Continue reading here.



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