#1 Reason Fire Doors Fail Their Inspection (Plus Reliable Ways to Avoid It)
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One of the most common deficiencies that our rated-door experts find when inspecting fire doors is missing or painted fire-rated labels.

Unfortunately, a door that passes all other points of its inspection will still be marked as a failed door if labels are missing. According to the NFPA, “labels on fire doors, fire door frames, or other components of a fire door assembly, are the identifying mark that the door or component has been tested to the required first test standards and has passed the criteria required by those test standards.” Rated-labels include key information about its assembly such as a unique ID number, the hourly rating, and the manufacturer. Without the required labels, there is no clear indication of whether or not a fire-rated door and frame are in-fact a fire-rated door or frame.

The hourly rating on a rated-label is critical for creating sections of your fire barriers as doors are typically rated for three-fourths of the surrounding wall’s rating. According to SDI, “a 3-hour fire door is used in a 4-hour rated wall; a 1-1/2-hour fire door is used in a 2-hour rated wall, and a 3/4-hour door is used in a one-hour rated wall.” A notable exception to the three-fourths rule is for 1/3-hour rated doors which are also used in one-hour rated walls. Without rated labels indicating the hourly ratings for door assemblies, it would be exceptionally difficult to ensure that door assemblies are being maintained throughout a facility according to code requirements.

What can you do if a fire door’s label is missing?

While it’s not uncommon for a fire door to fail its inspection due to missing labels (especially for doors located in high-traffic areas), it is an easy fix to get the door compliant again. Assuming the fire-rated door assembly has passed all other points of its inspection, the door can be re-certified once a new label is created and applied to the door and/or frame.

Another common occurrence our technicians see within facilities is rated-door assemblies that have labels that are no longer legible or have been painted over. Labels on door assemblies in high-traffic areas will inevitably suffer from wear and tear and may become illegible over time. This is an easy fix as a new label can be generated for the door. Labels that have been painted over, however, will continue to be an issue if staff and 3rd parties responsible for painting are not educated on the facility’s requirements for fire door labels. It’s important to educate responsible parties when painting is being done to help ensure code compliance.

Whether you’re managing a healthcare facility, manufacturing facility, or multi-unit residential facility, maintaining your fire doors is critical to the success of your life safety and fire barrier management programs. Contact us today to begin planning your next fire-rated door inspection to ensure compliance and safety within your facility.
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