BCAB #1297 - Smoke Detector Location for Hold-open Devices, Sentence 3.1.6.8.(3) (1985 B.C.B.C.)

January 21, 1993

BCAB #1297

Re: Smoke Detector Location for Hold-open Devices, Sentence 3.1.6.8.(3) (1985 B.C.B.C.)

Project Description

The project in question incorporates automatic fire doors where the firewall crosses the main corridor on each floor. These doors are connected to hold-open devices which release the doors on a signal from the fire alarm system.

Reason for Appeal

Sentence 3.1.6.8.(3) permits these doors to be held open provided the hold-open devices are designed to release in conformance with Sentence 3.1.6.8.(4). Sentence (4) requires the hold-open devices to release "(a) upon a signal from a smoke detector located as described in Appendix A* of NFPA 80, "Fire Doors and Windows,".......,and (b) upon a signal from the building fire alarm system...."

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends that the smoke detectors installed in the corridors as part of the buildings' fire alarm system meet the requirements of Clauses (4)(a) and (b). These smoke detectors are located 7 metres on either side of the fire doors which conforms with the requirements of CAN4-S524, the fire alarm installation standard. The appellant points out that NFPA 80, in section 2-8.6.1, permits smoke detectors for fire doors to be part of a building fire alarm system. However, Appendix A of NFPA 80 seems to contravene CAN4-S524 by calling for smoke detectors to be within 1.5 metres of the fire door rather than up to 8.25 metres away as permitted by CAN4-S524. In further defense of the location of the smoke detectors in this project the appellant notes that in NFPA 72 (referred to by NFPA 80) only requires smoke detectors specifically for the fire doors when "smoke door release (is) not initiated by a fire alarm system...." The appellant concludes that smoke detectors within 1.5 metres of the fire doors are only required where there is no fire alarm system or the fire alarm system has no smoke detection.

Building Official's Position

The building official contends that Sentence 3.1.6.8.(4) requires the fire doors to be released by a signal from a smoke detector located within 1.5 metres of the doors as required by NFPA 80 and by the building fire alarm system where there is a fire alarm system. The building official further contends that only Appendix A of NFPA 80 is to considered in this application. and points out that the detectors need not be part of the general fire alarm system.

Appeal Board Decision #1297

It is the determination of the Board that the smoke detectors required for the hold-open devices permitted by Article 3.1.6.8. must be located not more than 1.5 m from the doors in conformance with the requirements of Appendix A* in NFPA 80, 'Fire Doors and Windows." The smoke detectors required as part of the fire alarm system could fulfill the requirements of Sentence 3.1.6.8.(4) for the hold-open devices but only if they can be located in compliance with both NFPA 80 and CAN4-S524.

George R. Humphrey, Chair

* An editorial error was created when the referenced standards were upgraded through the 1st Revision to the B.C. Building Code. The 1986 NFPA 80 added a new Appendix and the Appendix A referred to in 3.1.6.8.(4) should have been changed to Appendix B. This errata had no effect on this appeal.