Since Maine and Massachusetts have adopted the 2007 edition of NFPA 80 which requires the annual inspection of fire doors, we have received enough questions about it that I put together a list of frequently asked questions.  Here they are:

The 2007 Edition of NFPA 80 – Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives (Section 5.2 “Inspections”) requires all fire doors to be inspected not less than annually.  As states, municipalities, and building/life-safety codes adopt or reference this edition of the standard, this requirement becomes effective and enforceable.  Note:  The 2010 edition of NFPA 80 contains the same requirements regarding inspections.

Who is responsible to make sure the inspections are performed?

It is the responsibility of building owners and property managers to initiate the inspections and produce written records of the inspections for the code official to review.

Who will perform the inspections?

NFPA 80 requires functional testing and inspections to be performed by “individuals with knowledge and understanding of the operating components of the applicable door type”.

Who are Intertek and the Door & Hardware Institute?

The Door & Hardware Institute, an industry association, has created a training program in conjunction with Intertek, a leader in testing and third-party certification.  This is currently a 4-day course including a 4-hour exam, and there are 3 prerequisite courses.  Those who pass the exam are eligible to become certified by Intertek as a Fire Door Assembly Inspector (FDAI).

Is the inspector required to be Intertek certified?

The Intertek certification assists building owners and code officials in identifying qualified inspectors, but NFPA 80 does not require this certification. Some code officials may prefer or require certification as a means of demonstrating knowledge and understanding of the products and applicable requirements.

What are the record-keeping requirements?

NFPA 80 does not detail the requirements for record-keeping except that the documentation must be signed, but code officials may have their own requirements.  There are standardized forms available for Intertek-certified inspectors.

What will be checked during the inspection process?

(1)   No open holes or breaks in the surface of the door or frame; no missing or broken parts

(2)   Glazing, vision light frames, and glazing beads intact and securely fastened

(3)  Door, frame, hinges, hardware, and thresholds secured, aligned, in working order and without damage

(4)   Proper clearance between door and frame, between meeting stiles of pairs, and at bottom of door

(5)  Self-closing devices and coordinators (where applicable) operational

(6)   Latching hardware operates and secures door in closed position

(7)   Auxiliary items that would interfere with operation are not installed

(8)    No field modifications have been performed that void the label; labels are present and visible

(9)   Gasketing and edge seals are present and in good condition

If deficiencies are found, when must they be repaired?

“Repairs shall be made and defects that could interfere with operation shall be corrected, without delay.” (

Is there another option for facilities with numerous fire doors?

The Performance-Based Option described in section 5.2.2 and Annex J is an alternate means of compliance that may be acceptable to the local code official.  This option can extend the inspection cycle to up to 3 years.


Excerpt from the 2007 and 2010 Editions of NFPA 80 – Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives

Reproduced with permission from NFPA 80, Fire doors and Other Opening Protectives, Copyright© 2007, 2010, National Fire Protection Association.  This reprinted material is not the complete and official position of the NFPA on the referenced subject, which is represented only by the standard in its entirety.

5.2* Inspections.

5.2.1* Fire door assemblies shall be inspected and tested not less than annually, and a written record of the inspection shall be signed and kept for inspection by the AHJ.

5.2.2* Performance-Based Option. As an alternate means of compliance with 5.2.1, subject to the AHJ, fire door assemblies shall be permitted to be inspected, tested, and maintained under a written performance based program. Goals established under a performance-based program shall provide assurance that the fire door assembly will perform its intended function when exposed to fire conditions. Technical justification for inspection, testing, and maintenance intervals shall be documented. The performance-based option shall include historical data acceptable to the AHJ.

5.2.3 Functional Testing. Functional testing of fire door and window assemblies shall be performed by individuals with knowledge and understanding of the operating components of the type of door being subject to testing. Before testing, a visual inspection shall be performed to identify any damaged or missing parts that can create a hazard during testing or affect operation or resetting.

5.2.4 Swinging Doors with Builders Hardware or Fire Door Hardware. Fire door assemblies shall be visually inspected from both sides to assess the overall condition of door assembly. As a minimum, the following items shall be verified:

(1)     No open holes or breaks exist in surfaces of either the door or frame.

(2)     Glazing, vision light frames, and glazing beads are intact and securely fastened in place, if so equipped.

(3)     The door, frame, hinges, hardware, and noncombustible threshold are secured, aligned, and in working order with no visible signs of damage.

(4)     No parts are missing or broken.

(5)     Door clearances at the door edge to the frame, on the pull side of the door, do not exceed clearances listed in 4.8.4 and 6.3.1.

(6)     The self-closing device is operational, that is, the active door completely closes when operated from the full open position.

(7)     If a coordinator is installed, the inactive leaf closes before active leaf.

(8)     Latching hardware operates and secures the door when it is in the closed position.

(9)     Auxiliary hardware items that interfere or prohibit operation are not installed on the door or frame.

(10)   No field modifications to the door assembly have been performed that void the label.

(11)   Gasketing and edge seals, where required, are inspected to verify their presence and integrity.

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