ADOPTS WITHOUT AMENDMENTS:

International Fire Code 2021 (IFC 2021)

Heads up: There are no amended sections in this chapter.

User note:

About this chapter: Chapter 7 provides requirements to maintain the fire-resistance ratings of building elements and to limit fire spread. Section 701 addresses the maintenance of and owner's responsibility for construction elements such as fire barriers and smoke barriers. The rest of the chapter deals with various aspects that also must be maintained to achieve overall fire resistance of the main fire- and smoke-resistive features. These include penetrations, joint protection, door and window openings, and duct and air transfer opening protection.

The provisions of this chapter shall govern the inspection and maintenance of the materials, systems and assemblies used for structural fire resistance, fire-resistance-rated construction separation of adjacent spaces and construction installed to resist the passage of smoke to safeguard against the spread of fire and smoke within a building and the spread of fire to or from buildings. New buildings shall comply with the International Building Code.

The fire-resistance rating of the following fire-resistance-rated construction shall be maintained:

  1. Structural members.
  2. Exterior walls.
  3. Fire walls, fire barriers, fire partitions.
  4. Horizontal assemblies.
  5. Shaft enclosures.
The hanging and displaying of salable goods and other decorative materials from acoustical ceiling systems that are part of a fire-resistance-rated horizontal assembly shall be prohibited.
The fire-resistance rating and smoke-resistant characteristics of smoke barriers shall be maintained.
The smoke-resistant characteristics of smoke partitions shall be maintained.
Materials, systems and devices used to repair or protect breaches and openings in fire-resistance-rated construction and construction installed to resist the passage of smoke shall be maintained in accordance with Sections 703 through 707.
The owner shall maintain an inventory of all required fire-resistance-rated construction, construction installed to resist the passage of smoke and the construction included in Sections 703 through 707 and Sections 602.4.1 and 602.4.2 of the International Building Code. Such construction shall be visually inspected by the owner annually and properly repaired, restored or replaced where damaged, altered, breached or penetrated. Records of inspections and repairs shall be maintained. Where concealed, such elements shall not be required to be visually inspected by the owner unless the concealed space is accessible by the removal or movement of a panel, access door, ceiling tile or similar movable entry to the space.

Where any components in this chapter are not maintained and do not function as intended or do not have the fire resistance or the resistance to the passage of smoke required by the code under which the building was constructed, remodeled or altered, such component (s) or portion thereof shall be deemed an unsafe condition, in accordance with Section 114.1.1. Components or portions thereof determined to be unsafe shall be repaired or replaced to conform to that code under which the building was constructed, remodeled or altered or this chapter, as deemed appropriate by the fire code official.

Where the condition of components is such that any building, structure or portion thereof presents an imminent danger to the occupants of the building, structure or portion thereof, the fire code official shall act in accordance with Section 114.2.

Materials and firestop systems used to protect membrane and through penetrations in fire-resistance-rated construction and construction installed to resist the passage of smoke shall be maintained. The materials and firestop systems shall be securely attached to or bonded to the construction being penetrated with no openings visible through or into the cavity of the construction. Where the system design number is known, the system shall be inspected to the listing criteria and manufacturer's installation instructions.
Where damaged, materials used to protect membrane- and through-penetrations shall be replaced or restored with materials or systems that meet or exceed the code requirements applicable at the time when the assembly was constructed, remodeled or altered.

Where required when the building was originally constructed, materials and systems used to protect joints and voids in the following locations shall be maintained. The materials and systems shall be securely attached to or bonded to the adjacent construction, without openings visible through the construction.

  1. Joints in or between fire-resistance-rated walls, floors or floor/ceiling assemblies and roof or roof/ceiling assemblies.
  2. Joints in smoke barriers.
  3. Voids at the intersection of a horizontal floor assembly and an exterior curtain wall.
  4. Voids at the intersection of a horizontal smoke barrier and an exterior curtain wall.
  5. Voids at the intersection of a nonfire-resistance-rated floor assembly and an exterior curtain wall.
  6. Voids at the intersection of a vertical fire barrier and an exterior curtain wall.
  7. Voids at the intersection of a vertical fire barrier and a nonfire-resistance-rated roof assembly.

Unprotected joints and voids do not need to be protected where such joints and voids were not required to be protected when the building was originally constructed. Where the system design number is known, the system shall be inspected to the listing criteria and manufacturer's installation instructions.

Where damaged, materials used to protect joints and voids shall be replaced or restored with materials or systems that meet or exceed the code requirements applicable at the time when the assembly was constructed, remodeled or altered.
Where openings are required to be protected, opening protectives shall be maintained self-closing or automatic-closing by smoke detection. Existing fusible-link-type automatic door-closing devices are permitted if the fusible link rating does not exceed 135°F (57°C).
Where required when the building was originally constructed, opening protectives installed in fire-resistance-rated assemblies, smoke barriers and smoke partitions shall be inspected and maintained in accordance with this section.
Opening protectives in fire-resistance-rated assemblies shall be inspected and maintained in accordance with NFPA 80. Opening protectives in smoke barriers shall be inspected and maintained in accordance with NFPA 80 and NFPA 105. Openings in smoke partitions shall be inspected and maintained in accordance with NFPA 105. Fire doors and smoke and draft control doors shall not be blocked, obstructed, or otherwise made inoperable. Fusible links shall be replaced promptly whenever fused or damaged. Opening protectives and smoke and draft control doors shall not be modified.
Where approved by the fire code official, the application of field-applied labels associated with the maintenance of opening protectives shall follow the requirements of the approved third-party certification organization accredited for listing the opening protective.

Where required by the fire code official, a sign shall be permanently displayed on or near each fire door in letters not less than 1 inch (25 mm) high to read as follows:

  1. For doors designed to be kept normally open: "FIRE DOOR—DO NOT BLOCK."
  2. For doors designed to be kept normally closed: "FIRE DOOR—KEEP CLOSED."
Hold-open devices and automatic door closers, where provided, shall be maintained. During the period that such device is out of service for repairs, the door it operates shall remain in the closed position.
Swinging fire doors shall close from the full-open position and latch automatically.
Smoke-activated doors shall be maintained to self-close or automatically close upon detection of smoke. Existing fusible-link-type automatic door-closing devices are permitted if the fusible link rating does not exceed 135°F (57°C).
Horizontal and vertical sliding and rolling fire doors shall be inspected and tested annually to confirm proper operation and full closure. Records of inspections and testing shall be maintained.
Dampers protecting ducts and air transfer openings shall be inspected and maintained in accordance with NFPA 80 and NFPA 105. Other products or materials used to protect the openings for ducts and air transfer openings shall be securely attached to or bonded to the construction containing the duct or air transfer opening, without visible openings through or into the cavity of the construction. Any damaged products or materials protecting duct and air transfer openings shall be repaired, restored or replaced.
Unprotected duct and air transfer openings in fire-resistance-rated construction and construction installed to resist the passage of smoke shall be protected so as to comply with requirements that were in effect when the building was constructed.
Required fireblocking and draftstopping in combustible concealed spaces shall be maintained to provide continuity and integrity of the construction.
Where required when the building was originally permitted and constructed, spray fire-resistant materials and intumescent fire-resistant materials shall be visually inspected to verify that the materials do not exhibit exposure to the substrate.
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