For Wordless Wednesday, most participating bloggers post a photo with no words; the photo needs no description to get their point across. I post photos that leave me Wordless (speechless) – usually because they are blatant code violations. I reserve the right to include words when I want to use the photo as a “teachable moment.” This is one of those posts.
Today’s photo is from Connor Jordan, originally posted on the Door Closer Enthusiasts page on Facebook. I don’t know for sure that this is a fire door, but let’s assume that it is for the sake of this lesson. NFPA 80 (2013) states: “5.1.5 Removal of Door or Window. Where a fire door or fire window opening no longer functions as an opening, or the door or window is removed and not replaced, the opening shall be filled to maintain the required rating of the wall assembly.” (This is also discussed in Annex K of NFPA 80.)
So a fire door or fire window that is no longer used as an opening must be removed, and the opening filled with construction that will maintain the rating of the wall. [Edit: As stated in a comment below, there may be a method of filling the opening that does not involve removing the door, but the AHJ should be consulted for approval.] The rating of an opening protective (fire door assembly, fire window, etc.) is typically less than the required rating of the wall, because the fuel load against the wall – furniture, stored items – is generally greater than the fuel load against an operable door. When a fire door is no longer operable, there’s the possibility that items could be placed against it which would increase the fuel load, as in this photo (imagine the cabinet is full of newspaper and oil-based paint to go with the roller pans). For this reason, inactive openings should be removed and replaced with the appropriate wall construction – just make sure the door is not required for egress.