Converted Office Doors
by Bob Armbrister, on Apr 22, 2020 12:00:00 AM
Q: We have quite a few rooms throughout our facility that initially required automatic closing and latching hardware for fire requirements. These rooms have now been 'converted' to office use, and occupants are propping the doors open for ease of access. Should we continue to maintain the doors and associated hardware as designed, or remove the hardware? Would this be the same approach in all occupancies?
A: You may certainly alter the closing hardware (i.e. remove the closer) from the doors provided the rooms are no longer hazardous areas, the doors are not located in a smoke barrier, and the doors are not labeled as fire-rated doors. If the rooms were originally designed to be hazardous rooms then the doors would have to have closers. But, there is the possibility that the door was a fire-rated door to begin with, and all doors in a smoke barrier (a barrier that separates two different smoke compartments) are required to be self-closing. So, in those cases, the door closer must remain since they are required for a fire-rated door and a smoke door.
But if the doors are not fire-rated and they are not located in a smoke barrier, then the closers are no longer required. Since the room has changed now that they are offices, you must comply with chapter 18 for new construction in healthcare occupancies, which does not require closers on corridor doors serving offices (see section 220.127.116.11 of the 2012 LSC). But the doors would still have to have positive latching hardware. And, no matter what the room serves, section 18.104.22.168.10 says you cannot prop open a corridor door to the room.
The same would be true for other occupancies.