How to Conduct Proper Fire Door Inspections

Fire door inspections are a vital part of keeping facilities safe, especially in the event of an emergency. But a lot of facility managers aren’t sure about how to go about performing them. That’s why the fire safety experts at Gleeson Powers have put together this article that explains how to conduct a thorough fire door inspection.

Fire and smoke doors are a critical component of a building’s fire protection system, protecting people from fire and toxic gases. They must be inspected and tested annually to ensure that they can continue to perform as intended in the event of an emergency. Fire door inspections require technicians to visually assess each of the fire doors and other opening protectives, then they must conduct operational testing to make sure that they are still functioning as intended. During these tests, technicians check for things like door clearances and self-closing mechanisms. They also examine the integrity of smoke and fire seals and verify that the doors are not blocked.

The requirements for fire door inspections are detailed in NFPA 80 — Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives. Most jurisdictions adopt NFPA standards by reference into their own fire codes. This means that the inspection requirements in NFPA 80 become legally binding on building owners and managers when they are adopted by reference into a local fire code.

As a result, NFPA requires that any person conducting fire door inspections must have knowledge and understanding of the type of opening protectives they are inspecting. Generally, this qualification includes some combination of education or training, professional standing, and skills. In some cases, this may be demonstrated through an official program or on-the-job training, or it may be attained through experience in the operation of a specific type of opening protective.

In order to properly conduct a fire door inspection, it is important to have a detailed checklist that covers all of the required components. Some of the items on the checklist should include:

Observe whether the glass kit and glazing are fastened, intact, and free from damage. Verify that the gap between the door and frame is within the specified range, that there is no auxiliary hardware that interferes with the door’s operations such as mechanical hold-open devices, that door coordinators function correctly, and that gasketing is present and of the proper type for the fire door.

The inspector should also note any indications of field modifications that could affect the fire-rating or functionality of the door such as ventilation louvers, vision light frames, auxiliary hardware items, or lock and strike preparations. Also, the inspection should include verification that the frame is not rusting through or corroding at any locations, that screws are used to close miter joints located at the corners of non-welded frames, and that there are no open holes in the corners of hollow metal frames caused by the removal of auxiliary hardware items. Finally, the inspector should observe that the latch throw is within the allowable limits.