Understanding Ontario’s Fire Codes for Doors and Entryways

Get a Grip on Ontario’s Fire Codes for Doors & Entryways

Owners of houses, apartment buildings and commercial buildings need to know fire code requirements when installing new doors and locks or modifying existing hardware. These requirements are recorded in the Ontario Building Code (OBC) and Ontario Fire Code (OFC), which regulate construction design and materials for buildings in the province. They cover guidelines regarding life safety and fire containment.

The Basis of Ontario’s Fire Codes

blog 2 img 1 ontario fire codesThe OBC and OFC regulations on fire safety are based on codes developed by the National Fire Protection Association in Quincy, Massachusetts. The NFPA 80 specifies correct installation and maintenance of fire doors and hardware to protect against the spread of fire and smoke. The NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, covers requirements for the protection of occupants against fire, fumes and panic. Some Ontario municipalities require additional precautions for fire protection than those specified in the OBC or OFC such as main door automatic openers or wider door widths.

There are two main principles to be aware of when installing, maintaining or modifying any door, lock or other access device in a building. Together, these principles underlie specific fire code requirements:

  1. Unrestricted Egress (a clear way out) – Any door that is used as an exit from a building or fire separation door must allow exit by an occupant using normal force, without special steps that could restrict the exit or cause the occupant confusion.
  2. Fire and Smoke Protection – Fire doors must be certified and correctly installed to curtail the spread of smoke and fire. Modifications must not impede their intended operation

Fire Door Requirements

In general, the OBC and OFC require fire doors on building exits, corridor doors, laundry and garbage rooms. Fire doors must be certified and properly labeled after installation.

Modifications, including the installation of locks or access control mechanisms, must be inspected to ensure they do not compromise the safety, egress and fire containment features of the door and hardware associated with it. They are required to have a self-closing mechanism, which ensures that when they are used by occupants that they still provide protection.

 Latching and Locking Free Egress Requirements

Doors providing egress may have security locks to prevent entrance to a building, but they cannot in any way prevent easy egress. Doors that swing in both directions must provide unhindered egress in both directions. Double cylinder deadbolts or captive keys are not allowed.

Egress door latches and locks must be designed in such a way that a panicked person, including children and persons with disabilities, can exit quickly even in the dark.

Ask the Experts

Building and fire codes contain many details and exceptions. At Servcon, we’re well versed in code requirements and industry standards with regard to fire safety. We will ensure that your business complies with provincial and local codes and is secure and safe.

Give us a call today for a free consultation.

One thought on “Understanding Ontario’s Fire Codes for Doors and Entryways

  1. Hi
    I am a member of a Condo board that is doing things to improve the energy efficiency of the building. One of the movements towards improvement is to block the vent in the bottom of the door of our garbage room & use draft stoppers filled with kitty litter to abate the weather blowing in there every winter. That room has a small heater and it may as well be heating the great outdoors under current conditions in that room. It will remain quite cold in that room for the duration of the winter so garbage fumes will not be an issue.

    One of our superintendants told us that neither the vent insulation nor the draft stoppers would be allowed by law. There seems to be no reason for this so it did not ring true.

    The Ontario regulation & maintenance standards does not prohibit and it does not seem that Fire Regulations also do not prohibit this so I was wondering if the Ontario Building Code would prohibit it. The superintendents used to put big pieces of cardboard against the door to try and control the drafts and they were told they could not do that. I’m guessing the cardboard could be viewed as both trip hazard and fire hazard. The big doubles doors in question are used only for garbage pickup and people moving in or out. They are not a point of egress – in fact they are padlocked when not in use.

    Can you offer an opinion in consideration of this information?
    Thank you for your help with this.

    Claire Vanden Pol

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