Hello! I'm the Facilities Manager for a Pre-K-8 public school. Our staff wants to install door holders (kickstand type) on all our doors. I'm pretty sure this is a code violation, but I'm not sure. can someone advise?
Are the doors listed as part of a fire separation? Fire separation doors are to remain closed and usually have an automatic closer on them. An alternative solution would be installing a hold open device with a smoke detector integrated into the fire alarm system. This would allow the door to be held open but would release and close upon smoke entering the smoke detector or the fire alarm activating. "Doglegs" as they are sometimes referred to are not allowed in certain Provinces and States, check with your local Authority Having Jurisdiction.
The doors do have closers, but are wood doors at classroom entries.
I would be making assumptions but as the local AHJ we do not allow these "doglegs". Check with your local AHJ as they can assit you.
Solid core wood doors often are rated fire doors. Look on the hinge side edge or top of the door leaf for a tag that says the rating of the door. It seems likely they are required to be fire rated in a school if they have closers on them (lot of expense if they weren't required). This would be especially true if the school is not sprinklered?
We have a brand new tech school that has rated doors that are not self-closing on any occupied classroom, but are required to be self-closing on all other rooms that open into the corridor. This is of course a new building with a fully supervised sprinkler system.
Our general rule is if it is an existing fire protection feature, it must be maintained unless a design professional can prove why it is not necessary. Door closers are fire/life safety protection measures as they ensure compartmentalization of the fire area and limit smoke transfer to and from the means of egress. We would order the kick-stands removed immediately in my jurisdiction. There are code compliant ways to keep these doors open, but that requires integration with the alarm system to ensure they close upon smoke detection, sprinkler flow or other means of alarm initiation.
The most common answer to a fire protection question is "it depends". Regardless of the existence of the door closer you must know if the door in a rated barrier? If it's a rated barrier then the kickdown is illegal. If door hold open devices are that important then use a mag hold open system integrated into the fire alarm system and you're all set.
I had seen in several instances where kick down devices will jamb under an egress door when someone pushed or pulled the door, regardless of its fire resistant rating, that prevented the full operating swing of the door to where egress would be impeded. In our jurisdiction, the facilities with kick down devices on swinging doors failed to have self-closing doors and doors were equipped with devices that impeded egress. The citations were legally defensible by the codes.
The facility would fail to provide self-closing doors when using kick down door holders. If someone needs to hold open the door to move equipment by themselves, a piece of furniture or item from within the room may be use to hold it open temporarily. Otherwise rubber or wood door wedges under the doors will start showing up. You got to have a reasonable policy about the use of self-closing doors for ease of moving equipment for the facility's day-to-day use.
2015 NFPA 1 code sections:
Classroom doors held open? In our area all classroom doors are to be closed and locked against entry as a safety measure against armed intruders. The fire doors in the corridors are kept closed as well although they are not locked. Just provides another visual barrier while also providing closed fire rated doors.
This is certainly more often the case nowadays! Even closed doors take at least one hand to manipulate, any time you can add another step into the armed assailant's plan the less efficient they'll be. And in a parallel concern, closed doors limit smoke, heat and fire travel and may reduce sprinkler activation time; all positives!
I am sure, unless a privately funded, the school is partly funded by the federal government and is required to comply with a ADA standards.
ADA standards for manually operated doors.
404.2.10 Door and Gate Surfaces. Swinging door and gate surfaces within 10 inches (255 mm) of the finish floor or ground measured vertically shall have a smooth surface on the push side extending the full width of the door or gate. Parts creating horizontal or vertical joints in these surfaces shall be within 1/16 inch (1.6 mm) of the same plane as the other. Cavities created by added kick plates shall be capped.
The bottom 10-inch-high space for the full width of the door must have a smooth surface. Bottom rods and latches of surface-mounted vertical exit devices, kick-down and plunger holders, surface bolts, automatic door bottoms, and full-height door pulls can not be installed in this area of the door to comply with ADA standards.
To me installing the kick-down devices on egress doors in an invitation for multifaceted compliance issues with multiple branches of the local and federal government and should be officially prohibited by the school.
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