1. Painted or missing fire door labels

The fire rated door labels found on the edge or top of a fire door and frame may be made of metal, paper, or plastic, or may be stamped or die-cast into the door or frame. Labels must be visible and legible. Some embossed labels can still be read if they are painted, but if a painted label is illegible, the paint must be removed.  If labels are missing or can’t be made legible, the AHJ may require the doors or frames to be re-labeled by a laboratory.

2. Clearance deficiency dimensions around the door in the closed position

Shimming the hinges with metal shims may help to correct the problem, and there are metal edges available which are listed for use when a door needs to be increased in width to reduce the clearance. For clearances larger than allowed by NFPA 80, there are gasket products in development which may be allowed by the listing agencies as an alternative to replacing the door. 

3. Kick-down door holder

A kick-down door holder is a simple mechanical device which is mounted on the bottom corner of the door and flips down to hold the door open. Because fire rated door labels must be self-closing or automatic-closing, a kick-down holder is not an acceptable way of holding open a fire door. A mechanical hold-open feature in a door closer and other types of hold-opens such as wedges, hooks, and overhead holders are not allowed for fire doors either.

4. Auxiliary hardware items that get in the way of the intended function of the door

These auxiliary items may include creative ways of holding open the door or providing additional security.  In many cases the auxiliary items create an egress problem, for example, additional locks or surface bolts (most egress doors must unlatch with one operation), chains or creative devices used with panic hardware, or electronic access control products that have not been installed with the required release devices for code compliance. Hardware used on fire doors must be listed for that use, and items not listed for use on a fire door must be removed.  Holes left by the removal of auxiliary items must be filled in accordance with NFPA 80, typically either with steel fasteners, or with the same material as the door or frame.

5. Fire doors blocked to stay in the open position

If fire rated door labels are not able to close, it can’t compartmentalize the building and prevent the spread of fire and smoke.. Fire doors are typically blocked open for the convenience of the building’s occupants.  Many people don’t understand the function of fire doors and may compromise life safety without realizing the results of their actions. 

6. Area surrounding the fire door assembly blocked by furniture, equipment and/or boxes

In addition to the annual inspection of fire doors, recent editions of NFPA 101 – The Life Safety Code require certain egress doors to be inspected annually as well. The area leading to fire and egress doors must be kept clear for egress purposes, and to provide the required maneuvering clearance for accessible openings.

7. Broken, defective or missing hardware items

Hardware may not perform as designed and tested if it is missing parts or if the hardware has become damaged.  Bent closer arms may not close the door properly.  Missing cover plates may create a passage for smoke, and a missing strike or latch bolt could mean that the door does not stay positively latched when exposed to the pressures of a fire.  When defective hardware is noted, it must be repaired or replaced immediately.

8. Fire exit hardware installed on doors that are not labeled for use with fire exit hardware

When fire exit hardware is used, NFPA 80 requires the door to have a label stating, “Fire door to be equipped with fire exit hardware.”  This ensures that the door is properly reinforced for the fire exit hardware.  An existing door which is prepped for a lock set would not typically be reinforced for fire exit hardware or carry the proper label, so fire exit hardware should not be retrofitted to an existing door that was not originally prepped for it.

9. Missing or incorrect fasteners

Installers sometimes use other fasteners for faster installation or because the original fasteners have been lost.  There must be no missing fasteners on hardware installed on fire doors, and some products may require through-bolts if the door does not have adequate blocking or reinforcing.

10. Bottom flush bolts that do not project ½ inch into the strike

Flush bolts are used on the inactive leaf of pairs of doors when the active leaf has a lock set.  There are three types– manual, automatic, and constant-latching.  They typically project into the frame head and into the floor, although there are some automatic and constant-latching bolts which have a top bolt only, and incorporate an auxiliary fire pin which projects when a certain temperature is reached and engages into the edge of the other door.