I'm overseeing a common-area upgrade project in a six-story, 24-unit residential condo complex in a Victorian-era building in Boston's South End. Residents enter the building through an exterior door, a foyer, then another door into a common-area hallway and stairway. We are replacing the individual unit entry doors off these common hallways, and are getting conflicting information about the required fire rating on these replacement doors.

Six contractors have responded to our RFP. Some quotes have specified 20-minute doors, others say a 90-minute (Class B) door is required. (No one quoting a non-fire-rated door.) There's a big, budget-busting difference in cost.

Not sure it's relevant, but there is only one common-area hallway/stair, no rear hallway/stair, so each unit entry door is the only ingress/egress to the unit aside from a fire escape accessed through rear windows on the back of the building.

Can anyone provide clarity into the pertinent regulations? Who might I contact (the City of Boston's Inspectional Services Division?) to verify this information? I contacted the Boston Fire Department, but they could not provide a definitive answer.

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