Every so often, I wonder what I’m going to write about on this blog after I’ve covered all of the code requirements for doors and hardware. I mean, it’s a very specific subject area so at some point I could run out of questions. And then something comes up that I’ve never looked into, and I stop wondering. There will always be more questions. If hardware was easy, it would be called “easyware,” right?
Last week, a life safety consultant asked me about hospital stops, because a hospital had been cited for having stops that weren’t continuous on their fire-rated frames. Huh. It’s been a long time since I’ve even thought about hospital stops, or terminated stops as they’re also called. I know we covered them back in hardware school, but they’re not something you see every day (unless you work in a hospital).
For those of you who haven’t gone to hardware school, a hospital stop is a modification to a door frame, where the stop is terminated above the floor – usually at 4″, 6″, or 8″ from the bottom of the frame. The bottom of the stop is closed at a 45-degree or 90-degree angle. The purpose is to make it easier to clean that area of the floor without the extra corners to catch debris, and to avoid getting cart/bed wheels caught on the stop.
Should the facility be cited for having stops that aren’t continuous? Hospital stops aren’t specifically covered by any codes that I know of, so I would refer to the frame manufacturer’s listings. Steelcraft’s UL certificate of compliance specifically mentions that terminated stops are permitted, and many other manufacturers offer them as well. The UL Outline of Investigation for Fire Door Frames (UL63), includes the following reference to terminated stops:
7.23 Terminated stops
7.23.1 Single-unit type, pressed-steel frames and two-section type frames may be provided with terminated stops. See 7.4.3. The stops shall terminate not more than 6 inches (152 mm) above the floor line and shall be closed with a 45- or 90-degree angle.
7.4.3 Stainless-steel spats not over 8 inches (204 mm) in height may be provided on the bottom of the hinge and/or strike jambs.
The frame manufacturer will be able to confirm whether their procedure allows hospital stops, and what the maximum height is. If any hollow metal manufacturers want to chime in and tell us what your procedure calls for, feel free!
UPDATE: I received the following details from Rachel Smith of Karpen Steel, who confirmed that the maximum height allowed by their procedure is 6″ measured to the bottom of the stop, and they are able to do a version of a hospital stop on a labeled double egress frame.