Fire Door Inspection

Fire Door Inspection - What you need to know?

Fire Door Inspections for fire-rated doors is an integral part of your building’s overall fire protection system. An operating fire door, just like a properly operating fire damper, is a key component to the compartmentalization of a building to stop the spread of deadly fire, smoke, and toxic fumes.  If the fire door assembly isn’t working properly, your facility is at risk.

How long have annual Fire Door Inspection requirements been required?

Annual fire door inspections were introduced with the adoption of the 2007 Edition of NFPA 80. The newest standard still requires that fire-rated doors be tested for functionality no less than annually and that a written record of the inspection be kept on file for the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ).

How do you perform Fire Door Inspection and Fire Door Testing?

Step 1 - Figure out what type of door and frame you are inspecting to pinpoint the required NFPA 80 requirements. Step 2 - Download our free NFPA 80 Fire Door Inspection Checklist Step 3 - Make sure you have the correct fire door gauge to check for the appropriate clearances and proceed with checking your doors. Check that the door, frame, hinges, hardware, are aligned and in working order. Verify that the face of the door is flush or slightly inset with the face of the frame. Check that the top and bottom flush bolts project one-half inch into the strike. Look for signs of damage. You will want to use a door gap gauge to check the door margins to make sure they are within the outlined requirements. Note: Measure all clearance dimensions on the pull side of the door when doing a fire door inspection.

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How do you perform Fire Door Inspection and Fire Door Testing?

Check that the door, frame, hinges, hardware, are aligned and in working order. Verify that the face of the door is flush or slightly inset with the face of the frame. Check that the top and bottom flush bolts project one-half inch into the strike. Look for signs of damage.

You will want to use a door gap gauge to check the door margins to make sure they are within the outlined requirements. Note: Measure all clearance dimensions on the pull side of the door when doing a fire door inspection.

Step 1

Figure out what type of door and frame you are inspecting to pinpoint the required NFPA 80 requirements.

Step 2

Download our free NFPA 80 Fire Door Inspection Checklist

Step 3

Make sure you have the correct fire door gauge to check for the appropriate clearances and proceed with checking your doors.

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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to Fire Door Inspection, there is no shortage of information. The most frequently asked question about Fire Door Inspection has been answered by our team and we’ve provided you with some other relevant questions that often come up!

Step 1 Figure out what type of door and frame you are inspecting to pinpoint the NFPA 80 requirements.

Step 2 Measure the door frame gaps and check the door assembly.

Step 3 Verify that your door gaps fall within the required min and maximum requirement as required by NFPA 80 and adjust as required.

Top and Vertical Edge of NFPA 80 Door Gaps Requirements:

  • For Steel Doors Swinging in pairs the clearance between the top and the vertical edges of the door, the frame, and the meeting edges shall be 1/8″ – 1/16″.
  • For Wood Doors Swinging in pairs the clearance between the top and vertical edges of the door, the frame and the meeting edges shall not exceed 1/8″.

Bottom of Door Requirements:

  • The clearance under the bottom of a door and non-combustible surface where no sill exists shall be a maximum of 3/4″.
  • The clearance under the bottom of a door and raised non-combustible sills shall be a maximum of 3/8″.

Measuring the Top and Vertical Edge of Door Requirements:

  • Grab you gauge and locate the step portion of the gauge with the dimension that you are looking to measure.
  • Place the gauge in your hand so you can insert the gauge between the door and the frame. The gauge should fit in the gap between the door and the frame, sliding along the entire length of the gap along the top and vertical edges.

Measuring the Bottom of Door Requirements:

  • Grab you gauge and locate the step portion of the gauge with the dimension that you are looking to measure.
  • Place the gauge in your hand so you can insert the gauge under the bottom of the door and take an accurate measurement during the fire door inspection.

Step 4 Verify that your gaps fall within the min and maximum requirement as identified by NFPA 80 and adjust as required.

Inspections can be performed by employees of the facility, such as maintenance personnel. However, they must have the knowledge and understanding of the operating components of the type of assembly being tested — which typically will be swinging doors with builders hardware — and meet the definition of a qualified person. NFPA 80 defines a qualified person as a person, who by the possession of a recognized degree, certificate, professional standing, or skill, and who, by knowledge, training, and experience, has demonstrated the ability to deal with the subject matter, the work, or the project.

NFPA 80 requires visual inspections and acceptance testing to be performed by a qualified person with knowledge and understanding of the types of assemblies being inspected. A qualified person is someone who has the knowledge, training, and experience to conduct inspections, and who may demonstrate their ability by possession of a degree, certification, professional standing, or skill. Although a certification is not specifically required by NFPA 80, it may help an AHJ determine whether an inspector has the required expertise.

You can inspect if you have the right fire door inspection training. The NFPA requires that Annual Fire Door Inspections be performed by individuals with knowledge and understanding of the operating components of the type of door being inspected. You can become certified through a fire door inspector training by an organization such as DHI.

To minimize failures and improve reliability, NFPA 80 states, “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 Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ).”

In addition to the annual inspection and testing of fire assemblies, it is the facility manager’s responsibility to retain records — in either hard copy or digital form — for review by the authority having jurisdiction. CMS established January 1, 2018, as the date for full compliance with the annual fire door assembly inspection and testing.

Fire door assemblies are a critical part of a building’s passive fire protection system, as they help to compartmentalize the building and deter the spread of smoke, flames, and toxic gases. Over time, components of the assembly will require maintenance, adjustment, repair, or replacement. If deficiencies are not corrected, the opening protective may not function properly during a fire. Fire door inspections ensure that the fire door will function as designed and tested.

Beginning with the 2007 edition of NFPA 80 – Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives, requirements for periodic fire door assembly inspections (FDAI) have been included in the standard. In each of the subsequent editions, the inspection requirements have been modified and expanded. When an adopted code references one of these editions of NFPA 80, the inspection criteria become enforceable by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). The International Fire Code® 2009 edition was the first to adopt these requirements by reference to NFPA 80 2007.

Increased enforcement of the fire door inspection requirements has raised many questions about the inspection process.

  1. Check door leaves and frames for fire door labels and make sure that they are legible.
    1. Make sure the labels are legible. The door leaf label should be attached to the hinge edge of the door just below the top hinge or at the top edge of the door. A second label should be on the frame. If the labels are missing or painted over, the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) may require them replaced.
  2. Look for open holes/breaks in the door or frame.
    1. Look for holes from missing, removed or incorrect fasteners.
  3. Make sure glazing, glazing beads, and vision light frames are intact and securely fastened in place, if so equipped.
    1. Tighten loose and replace missing fasteners. Ensure that all glazing is labeled for the fire resistance of the opening.
    2. The glass should be free from damage and cracking?
    3. Make sure that the glazing is fire-rated and labeled accordingly.
  4. Check that the door, frame, hinges, hardware, and non-combustible thresholds are secure, aligned, and are in working order.
    1. Verify that the face of the door is flush or slightly inset with the edge of the frame. Check that the top and bottom flush bolts project one-half inch into the strike. Look for signs of damage. Realign or repair the damage.
  5. Inspect for missing, defective, or broken parts.
    1. During inspections, it is common that latch bolts, strike plates, closer arms, and cover plates have not broken.
  6. With the door closed, measure door clearances around the perimeter of the door from the pull side of the door to make sure the door clearances are within allowable limits.
    1. On paired doors, without overlapping astragals, measure between the meeting stiles. The clearance under the bottom of the door is generally ¾” and the top and vertical reveals are 1/8” +/- 1/16”. You should always look for wear and tear on the frame or the door. Wear more often than not indicates poor or miss-aligned margins.
  7. Open the door fully and confirm that the self-closing device is operational and completely closes and latches the door.
    1. Adjust the self-closing device to achieve full closure and latching without exceeding 15 lbs. of opening force pressure.
  8. When a coordinator gets installed, confirm that the inactive and active leaves operate in the correct sequence (pairs only).
    1. Open the door, then close it, observing whether the inactive leaf closes before the active leaf. If the door is not securely latching, evaluate whether it is a faulty latch bad coordinator or door misalignment.
  9. Check that the latching hardware operation secures the door when in a closed position from a self-closing position without additional help from a human.
    1. Make sure that the latch secures the door in the closed position.
  10. Look for auxiliary hardware items or objects that interfere or prohibit fire door operation or closure.
  11. Inspect for field modifications to the door assembly that void the fire door label.
    1. Look for barrel bolts, deadbolts, or kick-down door holders. Remove non-compliant addons.
  12. Verify the presence and integrity of any required meeting edge protection, smoke gasketing.
    1. Smoke gasketing cannot interfere with closing the door. Replace or repair as needed.
  13. Confirm that signage affixed to the door gets attached with adhesive.
    1. Signage should not get attached with any mechanical fasteners or screws.
    2. Signage cannot exceed five percent of the door surface.
  14. Hold Open Devices
    1. Door hold opens are tied into the fire alarm and work as designed when they are required.
  15. Fire Exit Hardware
    1. Make sure the hardware is Fire Exit Hardware as necessary
  16. Tools for inspecting fire-rated doors.
    1. There are several useful tools for checking fire door clearances quickly and accurately (much better than using a tape measure and "eyeballing" it). Purchase a door gap gauge today to make your work life more efficient by using the most innovative tool to make sure your fire-rated doors have the required clearance requirements per NFPA 80 on the market today.
  1. NFPA 80 details specific information that must be included in the records of all inspections and testing.  This includes information about the facility, the inspector, and each fire door assembly.  These records must be signed by the fire door assembly inspector and kept for review by the AHJ.

    Records of acceptance test must be retained for the life of the assembly, and inspection must be retained for 3 years unless otherwise specified.  The medium used for inspection and testing records may be paper or electronic but must be able to survive the retention period.

    For specific information about fire door assembly inspection in a particular jurisdiction, refer to the adopted codes.  If you have questions, consult the AHJ for assistance.  Inspecting fire door assemblies after installation, after maintenance work, and annually will help to ensure that the door, frame, hardware, and glazing are installed properly and will continue to function as intended if a fire occurs.

  1. The detailed requirements are found in NFPA 80, which is referenced by the model codes. The adopted fire code is typically enforced throughout the life of the building, so requirements for annual inspections would be found in the fire code rather than the building code. The majority of states adopt either the International Fire Code (IFC) or NFPA 1 – Fire Code which references NFPA 101 – Life Safety Code.

    Always consult the fire code that has been adopted where the building is located, as some states and local jurisdictions modify the model codes. Look for the fire door inspection and maintenance requirements for fire doors and a reference to NFPA 80. For example, the IFC states: “Opening protectives in fire-resistance-rated assemblies shall be inspected and maintained in accordance with NFPA 80.” NFPA 1 includes detailed information that is consistent with NFPA 80, as well as additional guidance in Annex A. NFPA 101 references the inspection and testing requirements of NFPA 80 in Chapter 8: “Fire door assemblies shall be installed, inspected, tested, and maintained in accordance with NFPA 80.”

NFPA 105 – Standard for Smoke Door Assemblies and Other Opening Protectives requires smoke door assemblies to be inspected and tested in accordance with the inspection requirements of NFPA 80. As there are various types of doors that are commonly called “smoke doors,” it is important to note that the inspection requirements apply to smoke doors that are required by code to comply with NFPA 105. For example, the IFC states, “Opening protectives in smoke barriers shall be inspected and maintained in accordance with NFPA 80 and NFPA 105.” If a “smoke door” is not required by code to comply with NFPA 105, it is not required to be inspected unless the adopted code or a local modification mandates the documented inspections.

If a labeled fire door assembly or component is installed in a location where a fire door is not required by code, is the assembly required to be inspected?

There are many circumstances where a fire door or other component with a label may be installed in a location where an opening protective is not required. A door may have been relocated from another opening, the configuration of the building may have changed, or a facility may stock labeled doors – especially labeled hollow metal doors or 20-minute wood doors where the difference in cost is minimal but the door is more versatile.

Although the presence of a label on a door or frame may cause confusion for an AHJ or fire door inspector, the model codes do not prohibit labeled components where they are not needed and do not mandate periodic inspections of these openings. There has been some controversy about this, as NFPA 101 requires life safety features that are obvious to the public to be maintained or removed if not required by code. Some AHJs considered labeled fire door assemblies as life safety features that are obvious to the public, but it appears that this was not the intent of NFPA 101. A change has been proposed for the 2021 edition of the Life Safety Code, which states, “4.6.12.4 Where a door or door frame that is not required to be fire protection-rated is equipped with a fire protection listing label, the door and the door frame shall not be required to meet NFPA 80.”

Based on this proposed change, extraneous labels could remain, without requiring the opening to be maintained as a fire door or inspected annually. However, some AHJs may continue to require these openings to be maintained and inspected as fire door assemblies as long as the labels are present. If it is determined that a labeled component is not required in a particular location, the labels can be removed or covered, depending on the policies of the AHJ. Note that once a label is removed, it can not be reattached.

The model codes and NFPA 80 do not differentiate between occupancy types when it comes to fire door assembly inspections; the inspection requirements apply to fire doors in all types of facilities. However, enforcement may vary locally. Health care facilities that receive funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) must conduct and document fire door assembly inspections, since the 2016 adoption of NFPA 101-2012.

Even if a state or local fire marshal is not widely enforcing the annual inspection requirements, it is likely that hospitals or nursing homes within that jurisdiction must perform fire door inspections due to enforcement by CMS.

Send us an e-mail and we will send you a fire door inspection checklist.

Fire door inspections after installation, after maintenance work, and annually will help to ensure the door, frame, hardware, and glazing are installed properly and will continue to function as intended if a fire occurs. These requirements are in addition to maintaining an inventory of the fire protection features of the building and inspection and maintenance requirements for other life safety systems, including dampers, walls, and fire stopping systems.