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Apr 19 2018

QQ: Delayed-Action Closers on Fire Doors

Category: Door Closers,Quick QuestionLori @ 12:40 am Comments (9)

If this sounds familiar, it may be because I wrote about it back in 2013.  At that time, there wasn’t a clear answer to the question…

Can a delayed-action closer be installed on a fire door? 

A delayed-action closer is self-closing, but holds the door open for a minute or two when the door is opened fully.  This is a function of the valves that control the flow of fluid; it is not an electronic feature.  Installing a delayed-action closer on a fire door with the possibility that the door could stand open for a minute (+/-) before beginning to close, is not one of the things that keeps me up at night.  But because it was not specifically addressed in the model codes, interpretations were inconsistent.

A clarification was added to the 2018 International Building Code (IBC), which provides a solid answer to the question:

716.2.6.5 Delayed-action closers. Doors required to be self-closing and not required to be automatic closing shall be permitted to be equipped with delayed-action closers.

This paragraph is found in Section 716 – Opening Protectives, which means that delayed-action closers CAN be used on fire door assemblies.  Note that this added section does not include a specific limit on the amount of time that the closing cycle can be delayed.

9 Responses to “QQ: Delayed-Action Closers on Fire Doors”

  1. Dave Moyer says:

    I always allowed delayed action closers on fire-rated doors, but am glad to see this clarification will be added to the standard.

    I wrote to you previously about a code consultant who wasn’t inspecting fire-rated doors because the IBC doesn’t require inspections. He followed the requirements of the NFPA 80 standard regarding the installation of fire-rated doors, but he and state officials choose to ignore the inspection requirement in new construction, claiming the inspection isn’t defined as a requirement in IBC and therefore IBC takes precedent. Is this how other areas are also avoiding fire door inspections (except in healthcare)?


    • Lori says:

      Hi Dave –

      In my opinion, if the building code requires fire doors to be installed in accordance with NFPA 80, and the referenced edition of NFPA 80 requires fire doors to be inspected after installation, the inspection is required even if it is not specifically stated in the building code. And if the fire code requires fire doors to be maintained in accordance with NFPA 80, and the referenced edition of NFPA 80 requires fire doors to be inspected annually as part of the maintenance requirements, then the annual inspection is required. I don’t know why some jurisdictions choose to ignore the inspection requirements. It’s not really any extra work for the fire marshal, and it results in a safer building.

      – Lori

  2. Nolan thrope says:

    Delayed action closers for a few seconds is reasonable. More than 5-10 seconds is to much for any one on any door that I’ve seen

  3. David Scott Kenyon says:

    If a delayed action door closer could keep the door open for a minute ±, the pressue of a fire could possibly deter the closer action. A flashover of a room or space can occur in approximately 3 minutes. Therefore there are variables that exist which do not favor the use of a delayed action closer. My opinion on the code is that is should specify the delayed action time limit. Never-the-less, if there is a fire in a room and the door remains open for any period of time, smoke is release, flames could be released and life safety is jeopardized.

    • Lori says:

      Hi David –

      The code change proposal originally included a time limit of 1 minute, but the ICC Technical Committee recommended removal of the time limit.

      – Lori

  4. David Scott Kenyon says:

    Lori: I appreciate the response!! I guess our PROFESSIONAL OPINIONS DO NOT MATTER! As I am custom to reiterating “Life Sucks and They Keep me Alive” Oh well – I thought my statement was justified.


    • Lori says:

      Your responses are always justified and welcomed. As I’ve learned in the past 5 years, code development is very tricky. A proposal can be disapproved for a hundred different reasons. Sometimes changes get approved that aren’t perfect. At least the industry is trying to directly impact the codes, rather than waiting to see what changes were made by others that affect us.

      – Lori

  5. David Scott Kenyon says:

    Lori: Thanks again for a great response. Earlier this week I received an E-mail from Allegion concerning a news letter and they had the following question to test our knowledge:

    According to the 2016 edition of NFPA 80, which protection plate(s) would require a certification label from a listing laboratory? I answered the question correctly which was the second D – A, B and C. If it was not for your teaching expertise I probably would not have known. Thanks again for everything you bring to may table. You are an incredible knowledgeable lady!!


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