Last week I posted my next Decoded article – about changes affecting door openings between the 2000 edition of NFPA 101 and the 2012 edition. These changes are important because hospitals will soon have to comply with the 2012 edition, which has been adopted by CMS. Paul Dzurinda of Russell Phillips & Associates sent me a few more changes that we should be aware of:
- Paragraph 22.214.171.124.2 was added in the 2012 edition, and allows the use of fire pins for less bottom rod (LBR) fire exit hardware or other hardware on fire door assemblies that becomes inoperable when exposed to elevated temperatures during a fire. Door hardware used on fire doors often contains fusible links which render the hardware inoperable when exposed to heat, but this occurs when conditions in the vicinity of the door are untenable for human occupancy and the door opening is no longer required to provide a viable egress path.
- Paragraph 126.96.36.199.10.6 is also new to the 2012 edition, and allows 2 releasing operations for existing hardware if the occupant load is 3 people or less and the hardware does not require the 2 operations to be performed simultaneously. Most egress doors require 1 operation to release the latch(es) with the exception of residential dwelling units, but this change addresses existing locations in other occupancy types with a low occupant load where 2 operations are acceptable.
- Paragraphs 188.8.131.52.10.2 and 184.108.40.206.10.2, specific to new and existing health care occupancies, allow the use of horizontal-sliding doors (without the breakaway feature) when there is an occupant load of less than 10. The sliding doors must serve an area with no high hazard contents and must be readily operable from either side with no special knowledge or effort. The force to open the door is limited to 30 lbf to set the door in motion, and 15 lbf to close the door or open the door to the minimum required width. If the door requires a fire rating, it must be self-closing or automatic-closing by smoke detection, and installed in accordance with NFPA 80. If installed in a location where corridor doors are required to latch, the sliding door must be equipped with a latch or other device that prevents it from rebounding into a partially-open position if closed forcefully.
- Paragraphs 220.127.116.11.12 and 18.104.22.168.12 allow protection plates of any height on corridor doors in a health care occupancy. In the 2000 edition of NFPA 101, these plates were limited to 48 inches in height. This section of NFPA 101 addresses corridor doors that are not required to comply with NFPA 80 – typically patient-room doors. The protection plates are not required to be labeled, and may be factory- or field-applied. For corridor doors that do require a fire rating, protection plates would be subject to the limitations of NFPA 80. Paragraphs 22.214.171.124.1 and 126.96.36.199.1 allow protection plates unlimited in height for smoke barrier doors; in the 2000 edition of NFPA 101, these were limited to 48 inches high.