Safety

Keyes Q&A: Door labels, boom tests, ventilation, oxygen cylinders

Healthcare Life Safety Compliance, March 11, 2021

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Healthcare Life Safety Compliance.

Editor’s note: Each month, Brad Keyes, CHSP, owner of Keyes Life Safety Compliance, answers your questions about life safety compliance. Follow Keyes’ blog on life safety at www.complianceonegroup.com/lifesafety for up to date information.   

Door labels painted over

Q: Our building is an existing healthcare occupancy. When it was built, it had two firewalls that are masonry block and extend 30 inches beyond the structure. One door set is fire rated for three hours. The label on the doors has been painted over. Building plans were not available. Does section 8.5.3 of the 2012 Life Safety Code® (LSC) allow firewalls to be “downgraded” to smoke barriers?

A: No. Section 8.5.3 of the 2012 LSC does NOT allow for a fire barrier to be downgraded to a smoke barrier. Section 8.5.3 is saying that if you have a requirement for a smoke barrier and a requirement for a fire barrier to run in the same wall of the facility, then it is OK to have that wall serve both purposes as long as you meet the requirements for both a fire barrier and smoke barrier. For example: A soiled utility room may have one-hour fire-rated barriers, but one of the one-hour fire-rated barriers is also a smoke barrier separating two smoke compartments (which happens very often). Section 8.5.3 is saying that one wall may serve two purposes: a fire-rated barrier for the soiled utility room, and a smoke barrier for the smoke compartment.

Section 4.5.8 of the 2012 LSC says once you have constructed a feature of life safety, you must forever maintain that feature for the life of the building, unless the new construction chapter allows for a change.  
Now, what you could do is design a change to the rated wall system in your facility. Have a new design for fire-rated barriers and a new design for smoke-rated barriers based on the new healthcare occupancy chapter, and perhaps you no longer will need the fire-rated barrier where the painted-over door label is located.

Other options include getting a big eraser and rubbing the paint off of the label, or hiring a door-certification company to recertify your doors. 

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Healthcare Life Safety Compliance.

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