Fire safety: Building fire separation and closures

fire separation
Achim Hering, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

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It is not uncommon for fire officials to periodically visit buildings to ensure that the required checks, inspections and tests are being carried out as outlined in the city approved fire safety plan. As per the fire code, there are specific mandatory requirements for checking, inspecting and testing the fire safety equipment in buildings, as well as maintaining the records to verify completion of audits and any corrective action to repair defects or deficiencies.

Records are to be retained at the building premises for examination by the fire official for a period of at least two years after being prepared for the fire alarm, sprinklers and standpipe systems, emergency lighting, extinguishers, emergency generators, exit fixtures, etc.

Checks and inspections to fire separations are also mandatory under the fire code as these components protect from the spread of flames into adjoining areas. As floor plan renovations in buildings are common occurrences, fire separations between rooms, corridors, shafts and other spaces may be subject to weakening, which affects the integrity of their fire-resistance rating.

Closures in fire separations shall also be maintained to ensure that they are operable at all times, and that any fusible links and heat or smoke-actuated devices are in good standing, undamaged and free of paint or grim. This includes keeping guides, bearings and stay rolls clean and lubricated. Necessary adjustments and repairs are to be completed to the door hardware and accessories to ensure proper closing and latching. Fire doors with hold-opening mechanisms and automatic releasing devices play an integral part in slowing down the spread of flames to adjoining compartments.

In high traffic corridors, the likelihood of excessive usage of the fire doors may over time cause extreme deterioration, and reduce their originally intended fire barrier rating. The intumescent seals or stripping may also be subject to wear and lose their effectiveness in limiting the flowthrough of smoke; holes and/or gaps are to be repaired without delay.

The city approved fire safety plan specifies in detail the scheduled checks, inspections and tests to be completed to fire separations and closures in order for building owners and property managers to continue to be in full compliance with the fire code requirements.

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. See or call (905) 874-9400.


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