As a building owner or manager, you may have heard of NFPA 80. This National Fire Protection Association Code is very important, but few outside of the fire protection industry really understand why.
To really increase your knowledge, the best thing to do is to examine the scope and purpose of the regulation. An NFPA code’s scope describes the different areas and parts of your facilities the code applies to. The purpose of the code is basically the goals it tries to address for each portion of its scope.
In the case of NFPA 80, the scope covers both the installation and the maintenance of all openings in the walls, floors and ceilings of your buildings. The code also applies to the various devices used to prevent the spread of smoke or fire through these openings, such as fire doors, shutters and windows.
A closer examination of Code 80’s scope reveals that the rules also apply to other fire-safety related openings, including horizontal doors and sliding doors. There are exceptions, such as doors that open into incinerators, record vaults, dumbwaiters and other specific areas. Many of the fixtures exempted from NFPA 80’s scope, like accordion doors and fire resistant glazing materials used as walls, must be fire safety-tested under alternate codes. NFPA 251 details testing regulations for most materials.
Although the scope of NFPA 80 seems pretty broad, the fact that it addresses so many parts of your facilities is intentional. By making the regulation apply to various building components, NFPA rule makers were able to better improve the overall safety of buildings that adhere to the code and guarantee nothing got left out. Because the purpose of NFPA 80 is to help ensure that fire and smoke spread at a slower rate in the event of an emergency, this broad scope was absolutely necessary.
Fire codes, their scopes and purposes are by no means simple. Understanding them takes experience, and ensuring that buildings meet their requirements requires focused dedication. For more information about how to keep your facility compliant with nationally recognized standards like NFPA 80, contact a licensed fire safety inspection specialist. Although you may have a better theoretical understanding of NFPA 80 now, it’s important that you leave the actual compliance to someone who is qualified to get your building up to standard