Recently I attended a meeting of the California Fire Prevention Officers Association and asked the group how they felt about locksmiths or lngineers doing these inspections. Response were both pro and con in nature. One fire marshal said he was concerned that any inspection record may be “nothing more than an unqualified person signing off on a procedure.”
Another though was more positive, Sean Daugherty, Fire Inspector for the Long Beach Fire Department said: “As with any provision in the code that allows a ‘knowledgeable person’ to perform certain work, there is always a question of what that actually means for the code official. We like to see training certifications or work experience commensurate with the required task. I imagine that most AHJ’s would feel very comfortable with locksmiths conducting functional tests on door assemblies.” The more thorough and professional your inspection records look, the more comfortable the local AHJ will be accepting them as meeting the requirements of NFPA 80.
The web site https://www.inspectionhelp.com/ is one site that helps with the record keeping of inspections and formats the reports in a way that should satisfy even the most skeptical code official.
One aspect that is still unknown regarding this provision of NFPA 80 is how soon and to what extent local authorities will start enforcing it. Very soon, a Fire Marshal could walks into a facility and asks for you inspection records. If you are prepared to show documentation that you have done what is required, then you will be in stronger position. Prepare yourself for this and your customers or employer will see the value of having a locksmith they can count on to be familiar with all current code requirements.
Chris Clark started in the industry in 1975 as a commercial Locksmith. He currently works for Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies in Southern California.