As locksmiths, we are ideally suited to offer fire door inspections. We spend most of our lives looking at and servicing openings and door hardware in order to protect life and property. We not only install product, but also service existing hardware, knowing when to repair and when the product is no longer serviceable.
We have been hearing about the requirement for annual fire door inspections since the NFPA 80 2007 edition, Standard for Doors and Other Opening Protectives and the NFPA 101 2009 Life Safety Code became widely read. The pertinent section of the NFPA 80 requires that annual testing of fire door assemblies shall be performed by individuals with knowledge and understanding of the operation components of the type of door being subjected to testing. Recording and keeping proper records are part of the process.
Until this past year, such inspections were more of a recommendation than a requirement. However, many states including California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland have already either adopted the IBC and IFC 2009, or have adopted the NFPA 80, 2007 edition. Washington State and Utah have begun the process of adopting the requirement. Adoption of these codes and standards makes mandatory the enforcement of annual fire door assembly inspections. Other states are in the planning stages to adopt this requirement.
Some states have adopted the IFC (International Fire Code), which references the NFPA 80 requirement. Other states, such as Hawaii, have adopted NFPA 1, Fire Standard. Even though these are two different codes, NFPA 1 also requires annual fire door inspections since it references the requirement of NFPA 80, 2007 Edition.
For a full list of states that have adopted the requirement, visit the International Code Council’s web site for an interactive map. The ICC web site address is: http://www.iccsafe.org/gr/Pages/adoptions.aspx.
At this time, two recognized organizations provide education regarding fire door inspections. They are the Door Hardware Institute (DHI) and the International Fire Door Inspector Association (IFDIA). Both are involved in education and “best practices” development to bring about a system whereby annual fire door inspections are conducted by professionally trained personnel with an understanding of the scope of work.
Although the IFDIA and the DHI both offer professional services and training, there are very specific preconditions each has regarding enrollment and training.
According to available information, DHI requires that anyone wishing to be a Fire Door Assembly Inspector (FDAI) must meet DHI educational and professional standards that include four prerequisite classes. Architectural Hardware Consultant (AHC), Certified Door Consultant (CDC), Electrified Hardware Consultants (EHCs) and Architectural Openings Consultants (AOCs) are automatically eligible to enroll in the FDAI class without having to complete prerequisites.
DHI has contracted with Intertek Testing Services, N.A., a nationally recognized testing laboratory. Intertek has specific requirements for becoming a Certified Fire Door Inspector. Intertek authorizes DHI graduates to place the title “Certified” in front of their name. To be Intertek certified, graduates of the DHI course must enter into a contract with Intertek and pay an annual fee.
Contact Door Hardware Institute or Intertek for more information and a schedule of class locations.
The NFPA 1, 80 and 101 codes only call for inspectors to be “knowledgeable” in the area of fire doors and do not require any type of certification.
The International Fire Door Inspector Association (IFDIA) requires enrollees in their online accredited curriculum to pass a free web-based prequalification exam. Passage of the exam with an 80 percent or better score entitles the enrollee to sign up for the online course.
IFDIA, always mindful that some locksmiths might not know what they know, also offers a free Basic Guide to Fire Door Inspections. This guide can be downloaded in .PDF format for anyone who does not pass the qualification test.
Today’s security professional must have a firm grasp on all of the codes that affect how they go to market.