Bathroom doors removed in Schools (not sprinklered)

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HOME Forums Forums General Bathroom doors removed in Schools (not sprinklered)

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    • #9833

      Hello All,

      I have been dealing with School’s that are having real trouble with students using e-cigarettes  in the bathrooms.

      They went a head and removed the doors to the bathrooms to try and stop this activity.

      We were made aware of this by media coverage.

      They replaced the doors right away after Fire Prevention attended.

      I talked to a building official and this was his response:

      Thank you for your email. To make a full determination as to the exact Fire Resistance Rating, I would need more of the specifics of the building and to know if it is sprinklered; however, a school or assembly occupancy under requires the corridors to be constructed as fire separations with a Fire Resistance Rating typically not less than 1 hour. Therefore, all rooms and spaces coming off the corridor would require rated closures and door closers. To remove any closures contained within the corridor would compromise the fire separation and ultimately reduce life safety within the building.”

      I realize that most classroom doors do not have self closing devices, classrooms are general occupied and there is provision in the FSP to close the door after the last person has exited.

      I have recommended mag locks connected to the fire alarm system.

      I am looking for any information or ideas that other Fire Departments or School Boards have come up with regarding e-cigarettes and bathrooms.


      Thank you for your input,



    • #9834
      John WilsonJohn Wilson

      Hello Howie,

      Being part of both sides of the equation (FPO and Bldg Insp) I would agree with the Building Official you spoke with. To me, taking the door off would fall under FC because the original design had the doors.  That being said, there are many places that don’t have doors on the bathrooms to begin with (movie theatre, mall, some newer schools, etc)  I’m guessing in these circumstances, the bathroom is rated the same as the corridor.

      Another option to the mag hold-opens might be to consider fuseable links to keep them open as we all know it’s pretty easy to manually pull a door off the mag-hold.

      Ultimately, if this were brought to me here (which as of yet it has not) I would instruct the school that to remove the doors entirely, an Architect would have to evaluate it and move forward based on their recommendations.

    • #9953
      Karen DunsterKaren Dunster

      Were the doors originally designed as a closure in a fire separation?  Applying the current building code to a school built in the 50’s may not be the most appropriate action and there is no retrofit for school buildings.

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