The entrance to your condominium from an enclosed staircase, hallway or a garage must comply with the City of Chicago building / fire code requirements.
There should be a label on the door edge stating fire rating - a “B” labeled door and frame is a typical assembly for stairway enclosures and has been designed to resist fire for a period of at least one hour. Solid wood doors may also meet 1 hour fire resistance requirements, but finding a label …
The most commonly used closing mechanisms on Chicago condo doors are spring hinges and self closing device mounted along the door top edge – again they are required and must be functional. During the construction process self-closing is often disengaged and forgotten after the completion.
Fire rated condo doors are heavier than regular doors and require at least 2 spring hinges installed – if they don’t work, they might be broken or missing pins / this must be repaired for your safety.
Weather stripping around the condo entrance doors – look for damaged strip (it often happens during the construction process) and proper threshold adjustment. If you see gaps between the threshold – door bottom and between the door frame and door edge, the door rattles, threshold is loose – this needs to be adjusted in order to resist passage of smoke from the hallway / staircase / garage.
Check condo exterior entrance doors (balcony, deck, patio), threshold should be secured and sealed along the seam with an exterior surface. There should be no gaps between the door bottom, weather strip – the threshold and along the exterior frame seams / trim.
Chicago Municipal Code – selections from the Code that govern condo, apartment, and house rentals in the City of Chicago.
This article was written by Dariusz Rudnicki
I'm a retired Illinois home inspector, founder and editor of checkthishouse.com, a blog which attracts around 2 thousand readers daily and is dedicated to answering the many questions of home owners and home buyers. Connect with me on Google+ Find me on Google+ Local