Smoke Door Testing?
by Bob Armbrister, on Aug 14, 2019 12:00:00 AM
Q: The Joint Commission standard for annual door testing states "The hospital has written documentation of annual inspection and testing of door assemblies by individuals who can demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the operating components of the door being tested". The Joint Commission also references NFPA 105 (smoke doors). Would this include all smoke barrier doors?
A: It appears you have an older copy of the Joint Commission standards. In January, 2019, the standard in which you refer has been changed to specifically identify the need to inspect and test fire door assemblies. Their note to this standard says nonrated doors including smoke barrier doors are not subject to the annual inspection and testing requirements of either NFPA 80 or NFPA 105.
It is the position of CMS and all accreditation organizations that non-rated doors in smoke barriers (barriers that separate smoke compartments) do not have to be inspected on an annual basis.
Here is why: Even though section 18.104.22.168.2 of the 2012 LSC says (in part) smoke door assemblies need to be tested, that conflicts with the occupancy chapter for healthcare. Section 22.214.171.124 says when specific requirements in the occupancy chapters differ from the general requirements contained in the core chapters, the occupancy chapter shall govern. Section 126.96.36.199 says doors in smoke barriers shall comply with section 8.5.4. Section 188.8.131.52 says where required by chapters 11 -43 doors in smoke barriers that are required to be smoke leakaged-rated, must comply with section 184.108.40.206 (which requires testing).
Chapters 18 & 19 (healthcare occupancies) do not require smoke doors to be smoke leakaged-rated: Therefore, smoke barrier doors do not have to be tested in healthcare occupancies. Now… you may have an AHJ that believes differently. You may show them this code trail and perhaps they will allow you to not test your smoke doors, but ultimately they are an authority and if they say you have to test smoke doors, then you have to test smoke doors. But it is not required in healthcare occupancies according to the 2012 LSC.