When a building is constructed or maintained, the authorities, meaning building inspectors, code enforcement officer, fire marshal are responsible for determining what is acceptable for the building and their patron’s safety in any jurisdiction. They are responsible for ensuring that the buildings and structures in their jurisdiction are built and maintained in accordance with the building, fire, and life safety codes.
Building owners and property managers are responsible for adequately maintaining their buildings and facilities with applicable fire, life safety, and accessibility codes, daily. Their responsibility is to ensure that their facility complies with fire door and egress requirements at-all-times.
Exits and egress path need to be properly maintained without any type of obstructions, and with door component assemblies that are reliable throughout the life of their installation. Fire door assemblies are required to be installed at strategic locations within a building, forming compartments designed to contain fire and restrict the passage of deadly smoke and gases. In a perfect world, the fire will be contained and will provide enough time for the people to get to safety. Unfortunately, many times tragic incidents occur and claim the lives of people who were merely going about their normal every day routines.
Building owners or property managers may not know the details of proper installation requirements or maintenance instead rely on an unqualified person to inspect or install. Some incidents are improper maintenance of door hardware that are susceptible to wear and tear over time causing the door to improperly open or close. Another, improper installation of fire doors during new construction or remodeling can also be an issue. Properly installed fire doors must have required gap specifications and proper clearance to prevent tragic incidents such as smoke or gas leaks.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has enforced codes for the “Authority Having Jurisdiction” (AHJ)-to protect occupants from devastating and tragic incidents such as fires and other panic-inducing emergencies that require people to hurriedly evacuate a building, space, or structure. Building owners are also responsible for accessible elements such as areas of refuge within buildings, spaces, and structures, (a-safe-haven) for family, friends, employees, patrons etc. These areas require ongoing maintenance and periodic inspections to abide by the stringent requirements of the building and life safety codes (NFPA 101) including all these important elements involved.
Occupants need to be able to evacuate a building, space or structure safely and quickly at a moment’s notice or occupants may need a safe refuge. The International Building Code (IBC) requires the NFPA 101 and NFPA 80 Codes a necessary requirement for life safety of your patrons.