Bulletin 214 January 2017 Effectiveness ofBuilding Fire and Smoke Barriers.
- Posted at: September 25, 2021 02:26:11

Inmost buildings over time, the fire and smoke-resistant assemblies may be affected by renovations. Thewalls or a floor may be penetrated by pipes or cables thus impedingtheoriginally-listed design to safeguard adjacent areas. Building operatorsmustdevelop an effective fire safety strategyto routinely inspect the designatedsafe egress routesandthe constructedbarriers to fire and smoke. They must alsoreview the adequacy of fireresistance ratings to which the entire structure was designed and built. Often overlookedare the day-to-day concepts of operability and functionalitywhich areso very important for developing and maintaining a continuous level of fire safety within the building.This includes the integrity of fire door assemblies which,given extensive usage,become worse for wear and subsequently inoperable. It is to be noted that each type of fire door has varying characteristicsand was installed based on thehazard classifications of the building.This goes hand-in-hand with verifying the level of fire protection provided bydoor frames, latching devices, and swinging /sliding hardwarecomponents. It is critical to maintain the effectiveness of the entire assembly as a fire barrier,which could be compromised if any component is omitted or substituted with one of sub-standard quality.

Fire codes requirethat all fire exit doors and their hardware belabelled as meeting the requirements for fire safety andlifeprotection. These identification markingsindicateeither an hourly rating designation or alphabetical letter designation. Despite the fire safety provisions of fire doors, they are only designed to fully protect when closed,as well asbeing clear of materials on both sides. When combustible materials are piled against the door, thelevel of protection is reducedand potential egress is impeded. For this reason, combustible material should be kept well away from openings.To guide building operators with the ongoing task ofensuringthe integrity of fire barriers within the building, the approved fire safety plan lists the required frequencies of inspections and the associated maintenance to be performed.

This article was contributed by Firepoint Inc, serving the GTA since 1997, developing fire department approved fire safety plans for newly constructed and existing buildings. Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, the bulletin publishers and authors do not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current and shall not be liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the bulletin information. Bulletin reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without the written consent of Firepoint Inc. Copyright 2021 -All Rights Reserved.See www.firepoint.ca or call 905-874-9400.

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