I’m currently working with the BHMA Codes, Government, and Industry Affairs Committee to help edit the Commentary for the 2021 IBC.  With each edition, we are bringing a little more clarity to the code sections related to doors and hardware.  The side benefit of reading the entire door section again (41 pages!) is that it reminds me of the changes that I need to mention here on iDigHardware.

During each code development cycle, BHMA submits dozens of proposals and helps to guide them through the approval process.  One of the proposals for the 2021 edition addressed terminated stops on fire door assemblies.  These stops are also known as hospital stops or sanitary stops.

I wrote a Decoded article on this topic back in 2014, but at the time the IBC did not specifically state whether terminated stops were allowed on fire door assemblies.  During the most recent code change cycle, BHMA’s change proposal was approved, and new language has been added to the 2021 IBC; the complete proposal begins on page 453 of the 2018 Group A Public Comment Agenda (note that the proposal was approved as submitted and was not modified by the public comments).

Although the IBC was previously silent on terminated stops, that does not mean terminated stops on fire door assemblies were not allowed by the IBC.  As my earlier article demonstrated, these stops were allowed by the frame manufacturers’ listings.  The change to the IBC merely clarifies where the stops are NOT allowed – they are acceptable for use in other locations.

The 2021 IBC will include a definition for terminated stops:

TERMINATED STOPS. Factory feature of a door frame where the stops of the door frame are terminated not more than 6 inches from the bottom of the door frame. Terminated stops are also known as “hospital stops” or “sanitary stops”.

And the following clarification has been added to the code section addressing smoke and draft control doors:

716. Smoke and draft control. The air leakage rate of the door assembly shall not exceed 3.0 cubic feet per minute per square foot (0.01524 m/s × m) of door opening at 0.10 inch (24.9 Pa) of water for both the ambient temperature and elevated temperature tests. Louvers shall be prohibited. Terminated stops shall be prohibited on doors required by Section 405.4.3 to comply with Section 716.2.2.1 and prohibited on doors required by Section 3006.3 Item 3, 3007.6.3, or 3008.6.3 to comply with Section 716.

This clarification means that if there is a door that is required to comply with this section, and it is required to have limited airflow in accordance with Section 716., and the door is installed in one of the following locations, the frame can not have terminated stops (terminated stops are allowed in locations not specifically listed here):

  • 405.4.3: Elevator lobby doors in underground buildings where the elevator serves more than one compartment
  • 3006.3, Item 3: Elevator hoistway doors where hoistway protection is required by Section 3006.2.
  • 3007.6.3: Doors to enclosed fire service access elevator lobbies, with the exception of doors to the hoistway, elevator control room, or elevator control space.
  • 3008.6.3: Doors to occupant evacuation elevator lobbies, with the exception of doors to the hoistway, elevator machine rooms, machinery spaces, control rooms, and control spaces within the lobby enclosure smoke barrier.

I hope this helps to clarify this issue…we’re starting work on the 2024 editions of the model codes, so if there are any sections that you think should be changed or clarified, let me know!

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