Business Occupancy Hazardous Area
by Brad Keyes, CHSP, on Jul 20, 2021 1:00:00 AM
Q: In a business occupancy, I want to convert an office to file storage, mainly files in Banker Boxes. The room is 60 square feet, sprinkled, and the door is not rated. We are Joint Commission accredited. Am I compliant by just adding a door closer?
A: It would be compliant as-is without adding a door closer with NFPA, as section 188.8.131.52 of the 2012 Life Safety Code references section 8.7 regarding hazardous areas, and section 184.108.40.206 says a hazardous area (this is for business occupancy) is required to have 1-hour fire-rated barriers or the area be protected with automatic sprinklers. Since your area is already protected with sprinklers, you do not need to have a door that is self-closing. Technically, you don’t even need to have the door.
However, Joint Commission released new standards effective July 1, 2021 on Business Occupancies, and section LS.05.01.30, EP 1 actually requires more than what NFPA says. Joint Commission says hazardous areas are protected with 1-hour fire-rated construction, or by smoke-resistive barriers and automatic sprinklers. And they say doors must be self-closing with positive latching hardware. You would have to ensure that the hazardous area is actually smoke-resistive if you plan on using the sprinkler option.
So, you appear to meet NFPA requirements, but not Joint Commission requirements.