Q: What is the guidance on clean utility rooms and door closers? Under 50 square feet no closer is required, but more than 50 square feet a closer is required? Does the clean utility room being located inside a suite make any difference? The normal supplies in there could be considered combustible based on the NFPA definition.
A: You have the 50-square-foot limit correct, but it does not matter if the clean utility room is located in a suite or not. It still must meet section 18/188.8.131.52 for hazardous areas. If it is a new clean utility room, then it must be 1-hour fire-rated and be protected with sprinklers. However, the room may meet an exception found in section 184.108.40.206 (2), regarding rehabilitation.
A change in use of a space in an existing healthcare occupancy does not have to meet new construction requirements for hazardous areas, provided the space does not exceed 250 square feet and the entire building is protected with sprinklers. But the space does have to meet the requirements for hazardous areas for existing conditions, which is 1-hour fire rated construction, or if the room is fully protected with sprinklers, then the door just needs to be self-closing and smoke resistant.
Brad Keyes, CHSP, is the owner of KEYES Life Safety Compliance, and his expertise is in the management of the Life Safety Program, including the Environment of Care and Emergency Management programs.
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