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Fire doors have different safety requirements. Most people who own industrial, retail or commercial facilities feel like the fire codes are out to get them personally. Although this is absolutely inaccurate, it’s especially noticeable where doors and openings are concerned.
Owners try to get their buildings up to spec, but they find that the wide variance in regulations make it impossible to take a blanket approach. Sliding doors, rolling doors and standard fire doors all have different requirements and code specifications.
What these building owners don’t know is that these differences are designed to work towards the building occupants’ advantage. There’s no way that a single regulation could take care of the many different safety concerns presented by each type of door. As a result, NFPA Code 80 specifies specific requirements for each type.
While this may seem like more work for the responsible building owner, it actually saves them time and money. By adhering to each requirement in turn, you ensure that your building is far safer for people who use it. In the event of a fire disaster, you’re less likely to be sued or have to deal with the guilt of causing someone an avoidable injury.
So what’s the difference between rules for say, a rolling steel door and a vertically sliding fire door? There are actually a few. Obviously, these different door types operate using different mechanisms, so a regulation concerning the fire safety of the supporting construction varies. The same applies to rules about their assembly components and physical characteristics like clearances or opening widths. Rolling steel doors, which are often installed in exterior walls, are also subject to additional regulations concerning weather protection.
As you can probably see by now, the different fire safety requirements for different types of fire door exist with good reason. Although some of the rule changes from one type of opening to another seem purely circumstantial, they usually reflect fundamental differences in how the doors in question operate.
Again, remember that there’s no general rule that applies to everything. The only way to really ensure your facility is fire-safe and compliant with NFPA rules is to consult with a fire protection firm that is licensed to perform routine inspections.