Doors and frames are fire rated together as an assembly, not individually as pieces. The integrity of the door assembly is critical to the success of the assembly to achieve and maintain its fire rating. Any penetrations into the door or frame will affect the ability of the assembly to hold its rated resistance to fire and smoke penetration.
Certain doors in a facility are considered “Path of Egress” doors.
- These are the doors that one must go through to get from the fire emergency to the safety outside.
- Such doors are dictated by building code and are designated as Path of Egress doors by the architect.
- Electrified locks can have an effect on door assembly fire ratings.
- It is essential to understand how security door/frame modifications can affect door assembly fire ratings to ensure that no changes are made to the door assembly that could void the door assembly’s fire rating.
What Are Fire Ratings?
- According to Section 18.104.22.168 of NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, : “Means of egress shall be continuously maintained free of all obstructions or impediments to full instant use in the case of fire or other emergency.”
- This is clear and unambiguous language indicating that the security system must take second place to Life Safety during a fire emergency.
How Should This Be Done?
- NFPA 72, Section 22.214.171.124, The National Fire Alarm Code , states: “Any device or system intended to actuate the locking or unlocking of exits shall be connected to the fire alarm system serving the protected premises.”
- NFPA 72, 2007 edition, Section 126.96.36.199, states: “All exits connected in accordance with 188.8.131.52 shall unlock upon receipt of any fire alarm signal by means of the fire alarm serving the protected premises.”
Fire Penetration Ratings
- Door assembly ratings are related to wall fire ratings.
- There is no need to place a fire-rated door into an unrated wall.
- Walls are rated by the “time” (in minutes or hours) they can withstand fire or smoke penetration.
Wall ratings are :
- 4 hour:
- Walls that separate buildings or divide a single building into individual fire areas
- 2 hour:
- Walls that enclose vertical spaces such as stairwells and elevator hoist-ways
- Exterior walls where there is a potential for severe fire exposure from the exterior of the building
- 1 hour:
- Walls that separate occupancies within a building
- Corridors or room partitions
- Exterior wall that could be exposed to a light or moderate fire from the exterior of the building
- Walls where smoke and draft control is required