Last week I was teaching a class in a room with a pair of fire doors that had some issues.  Anyone care to list some of them?


While we were discussing the lack of positive-latching on these doors, someone mentioned that 20-minute doors didn’t need positive-latching at one point in time.  I had just received a copy of the 1961 edition of NFPA 80 that I bought on eBay for $4.99, so I looked for the 1961 requirements for 20-minute doors.  Guess what??  20-minute doors are not even mentioned in the 1961 edition!

I looked at a few committee reports online for the various editions, and 20-minute doors (and 30-minute doors) were included in the 1973 edition of the standard.  I can’t tell for sure whether that was the first edition where they were mentioned, and I do not see an exception for latching on 20-minute doors.  If you’re reading this and you remember non-latching 20-minute doors, let me know!

If you’re conducting a fire door inspection on an older building and you need an early edition of the standard, they are all available for sale as pdfs on the NFPA website.  My copy of the 1961 edition is tiny – only 4 3/4″ x 7 1/4″ and 57 pages, and much of the text and many of the drawings are eerily similar to the current standard.  The 1961 standard even required fire door inspection!  “A continual inspection and maintenance program is necessary…”  (see below).


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