#2 - Section 126.96.36.199, Who is performing fire door inspections?
As Staff Liaison to the NFPA 80 Technical Committee, one of the most frequently asked questions that I respond to relates to who can perform the mandated annual inspection of fire doors. Do they need formal training? Do they need to be certified? Does it need to be done by a third party inspection service?
In past editions of NFPA 80 (2007 and 2010), the document was not very specific on who could perform these inspections. The standard stated the following:
"Functional testing of fire door and window assemblies shall be performed by individuals with knowledge and understanding of the operating components of the type of door being subject to testing."
Of course, it has always been a requirement that the written records of the door inspections be signed and kept for inspection by the AHJ. This required that the AHJ, when verifying that the inspections has been conducted, also verified the person/organization that had performed them. The standard put the determination of who can perform inspections in the hands of the AHJ.
The 2013 edition of the standard has made a small, but powerful change, related to this issue. NFPA 80, 2013 states:
"188.8.131.52* Acceptance testing of fire door and window assemblies shall be performed by a qualified person with knowledge and understanding of the operating components of the type of assembly being subject to testing."
With the simple addition of the word qualified, NFPA 80 has defined the person(s) who are permitted to perform fire door inspections. The term "qualified person" is defined in Chapter 3 as:
"3.3.95 Qualified Person. A person who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, professional standing, or skill, and who, by knowledge, training, and experience, has demonstrated the ability to deal with the subject matter, the work, or the project."
This change now allows for AHJs and building owners to be more aware of NFPA 80's expectations regarding who is performing fire door inspections.
For more information, please refer to Chapter 5 of the new NFPA 80, 2013 edition, which is available to view online.