When I walk around our Architectural Door and Hardware Department, I usually hear discussions about door codes. Everything from fire- and life-safety codes to ADA codes. You name it, these guys review it.
If you have ever cracked open the ADA or NFPA code books, you know there is a lot to know. While it may seem like a pain to ensure you are in compliance with these codes, it’s critically important. It can cost you in both fines and in the safety and well-being of your patrons and employees.
If you want to get started, here are some basic things to look for to start you down the path to sprucing up your compliance in all things related to door codes.
Our technicians regularly inform us of code violations they see in the field so we can work with corporate to correct the issues. Here are the top five issues reported to us:
- Blocked exits;
- Locked exits;
- The use of knob lock sets;
- Improper use of delayed egress; and
- Improper use of mag locks.
There are numerous facets to fire codes, some of which pertain to door codes. Regarding door codes, you should check the fire-rating of any doors that are designated as fire doors in the plans.
Each of these doors should have a fire-rated label that indicates how long a door will keep fire from passing through the opening. If you don’t see one, or if it’s painted over, beware; you are currently in violation of fire-code.
Next, visually inspect the door to see if there are any gaps or holes around the door. These compromise the integrity of the fire-rated opening.
Also, ensure the door is self-latching. This is critical as the door needs to maintain positive latching in the event of a fire.
The door codes section of the ADA book can be a bit confusing, especially when you compare the 2003 code to the 2010 code. It’s important to know which code your jurisdiction uses to ensure you are in proper compliance.
The most common ADA code violations are:
- Doors do not have a large enough clear opening width;
- Thresholds are too high;
- Locking hardware requires tight grasping or twisting of the wrist to operate;
- Doors close too quickly;
- Doors require too much force to open; and,
- Vision lights (door windows) are too high.
This is a 50,000 foot broad stroke on door codes. If you need help getting into the nitty-gritty details of your door and lock code compliance, feel free to reach out. We’re happy to help.
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