Let’s Talk About Closure and Separations
Good housekeeping can save time, money and most importantly, lives. Being on the losing side when accidents happen not only cost you a large amount of money in repairs but you as the owner or representative of the owner can be held liable if someone gets hurt. Property Managers and Maintenance Staff have a moral and legal responsibility to ensure the safety of building occupants and can be held accountable in the eyes of the law.
Fire separations can mean the difference between life and death, providing building occupants with the time they need to evacuate a building in an emergency situation. The locations of fire separations vary depending on the type of building and the hazards within. Fire separation consists of walls, ceilings and floors. All fire separations have openings such as doors, ductwork and cable raceways.
Now let’s talk about closure, not the type we will all need after COVID-19 is over but the closures required to complete a fire separation. Closures are required to protect the opening of a fire separation in the event of a fire emergency. A typical fire closure would have a fire-resistance rating of 30-45min between wall and corridors with the opening protected by a 20min fire-protection rating. The National and Provincial Building Codes regulate fire resistance rating found within a fire separation. An example of some common separations you may have in your building are:
Suites in residential occupancies shall be separated from adjacent rooms and suites by a fire separation having a fire-resistance rating of not less than 45 min.
Sleeping rooms in boarding, lodging or rooming houses where sleeping accommodation is provided for not more than 8 boarders or lodgers shall be separated from the remainder of the floor area by a fire separation having a fire-resistance rating of not less than 30 min where the sleeping rooms form part of the proprietor’s residence and do not contain cooking facilities.
Dwelling units that contain 2 or more story’s including basements shall be separated from the remainder of the building by a fire separation having a fire-resistance rating of not less than 1 h.
Public corridors shall be separated from the remainder of the building by a fire separation having not less than a 45 min fire-resistance rating.
Service rooms must be separated from the remainder of the building by a fire separation having a fire-resistance rating of not less than 1 h when the floor area containing a service room if it does not have an automatic sprinkler.
- The rating of a closure can be reduced if both sides of the closure are protected by an automatic sprinkler system and or interconnected smoke alarms.
A building should be inspected in its entirety from the top to bottom, room by room. Vertical and horizontal fire separations and closures for each fire compartment should be inspected. The national and provincial fire codes state that “a door in a fire separation shall be inspected monthly and dampers and fire-stop flaps shall be inspected annually or on an approved time schedule”.
- Inspect suite/apartment fire doors closures while performing the annual fire alarm inspection. Fire doors providing access to exit stairwells shall be inspected more frequently as they tend to get more wear and tear due to their frequent use. The key role these closures play in preventing the spread of fire and smoke during a fire emergency is critical.
Navigate various codes & regulations required for closures in a fire separation with this checklist
- Labels are clearly visible and legible.
- No open holes or breaks exist in surfaces of either the door or frame.
- No damage that would affect the integrity of their fire-protection rating.
- The door, frame, hinges, hardware, and noncombustible threshold are secured, aligned, and in working order with no visible signs of damage.
- No parts are missing or broken.
- Door clearance do not exceed clearances listed in 4.8.4 (Clearance under the bottom of the door shall not be more than ¾” (19mm) and 22.214.171.124. (The space between the top of the door or the vertical edge shall not be more the 1/8” and 1/16 “depending on the type of door)
- The self-closing device is operational; that is, the active door completely closes when operated from a fully open position.
- Repairing or replace any inoperative parts of hold-open devices and automatic releasing devices.
- Latching hardware operates and secures the door when it is in the closed position.
- No auxiliary hardware items that may interfere or prohibit operation are installed on the door or frame.
- No field modifications to the door assembly have been performed that void the label.
- Meeting edge protection, gasketing and edge seals, where required, are inspected to verify their presence and integrity.
- Keeping fusible links and heat or smoke-actuated devices undamaged and free of paint and dirt.
- Keeping guides, bearings and stay rolls clean and lubricated.
- Closures in fire separations shall not be obstructed, blocked, wedged open, or altered in any way that would prevent the intended operation of the closure.
- Signage affixed to a door meets the requirements listed in 4.1.4. (no nail or screws permitted only an approved adhesive, check manufactures requirements).
Safety media provides a wide range of products to help keep you and your business safe. Remember prevention is the key!