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Dec 08 2016

FDAI in the News

Category: FDAI,Fire Doors,Health Care,NewsLori @ 12:39 am Comments (12)

newsI have several Google News alerts set, so every day I receive a few emails with lists of articles that might be interesting to the readers of iDigHardware.  There was one on today’s list about fire door inspection – not a topic you see a lot of news reports about!

You can read the article from the Cleveland Daily Banner here, but I want to share a few of the highlights.  A health care facility in Cleveland, Tennessee was recently visited by a state surveyor, who mentioned that NFPA 101-2012 requires all of the doors in the facility to be inspected (or at least, that’s what the facility personnel heard).  At an estimated cost of $18,000 to have all of their doors inspected by a 3rd party, this came as an unwelcome surprise.

The article goes on to say that a fire door inspector from Wm. S Trimble Co, came to the facility and educated their staff about their fire doors.  There were 16 fire doors to be inspected – much more palatable than ALL of the doors, and after being educated by the fire door inspector, the facility staff will be able to take better care of their fire door assemblies, and maybe even self-inspect.

Some of you may not be fans of facilities doing their own inspections, but given the multitude of fire doors out there, I have always felt that a good option would be to educate each facility’s staff about their fire doors and help them out when they have questions or some particularly tough openings.  You know what they say about teaching a man (or woman!) to fish, right?  This won’t work for every facility – there are some facilities that don’t have people on staff who are knowledgeable about fire door assemblies, but I am already seeing many facilities doing their own inspections.  I’m curious to know what other fire door inspectors think about this.

The article also sheds some light on a question that I have often been asked – how much does a fire door inspection cost?  For this facility, the cost quoted in the article was $65/opening.  Of course, this cost can vary, but if any of you have insight into the range of costs for a fire door inspection, it would be very helpful if you’d leave a comment on this post and share that information with the rest of the iDH community.

Image: Brian A Jackson/

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12 Responses to “FDAI in the News”

  1. Bob Caron says:

    There are a couple times when we meet with the end user of a facility, once at a keying meeting and then when we hand over the fully set-up key cabinet and explain how the index works. This sounds like a great time to also discuss the door schedule and which doors are fire rated so they are well aware of which openings require special maintenance. Do you have a consumer oriented checklist of things they need to stay on top of, like self latching and closing, rated glass, holes in the door and proper repair if possible? Your article, has a good list but something easier to digest for the end user would be nice.

  2. MartinB (aka lauxmyth) says:

    I cannot comment directly on the price quoted but do want to observe my past jobs. I have been in places where I had to be screened for radiation and wear the monitor to get in there. There was no radiation but it burns time to do the process. And that kind of delay can result from infection control, fall protection and a few dozen other reasons. At first glance, you think you just walk to the door but testing requires opening and that impacts the security of the area. It is for these reasons, local inspection with training and documentation saves everybody money.

  3. Bryan McKeehan says:

    As I age and think about moving from the physical labor of door and hardware installation and service to inspection or such I have to ask, how does one get the certification as a fire door inspector?

    • Lori says:

      Hi Bryan –

      I took the DHI course back in 2008, and Intertek offers a certification for people who take that course and pass the test.

      – Lori

  4. Chuck Park says:

    My Fire Door inspection fees vary by the number of openings to be inspected and the area of operation. For example, I operate in the NYC metro area. If I’m called out to inspect one opening, that’s $180. That price drops as the number of openings to be inspected grows. For sixteen openings, I would have quoted $80 each. For more than twenty-five openings, that figure drops to $60 each.

  5. Terry says:


    Fire and Smoke Doors

    Life Safety NFPA 101 2012:

    Section of the 2012 edition of the LSC requires compliance with section 7.2.1. Section requires compliance with NFPA 80 Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives (2010 edition), and NFPA 105 Standard for Smoke Door Assemblies and Other Opening Protectives (2010 edition). Also, just as a ‘good measure’, this testing and inspection requirement is repeated in section in the 2012 edition of the LSC for fire doors.

  6. Terry says:

    NFPA 80 Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives (2010 edition)

    Fire Doors- General

    Section 5.2 of NFPA 80 provides the following basic requirements for the annual inspection and testing, which are summarized here:
    1. Fire door assemblies are required to be inspected and tested annually, with the written record of the inspection and test to be signed and dated.
    2. A written performance based inspection and testing program is permitted as an alternative means of compliance, but such programs need to be approved by all of your authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ).
    3. The functional test of the fire door must be performed by an individual with knowledge and understanding of the operating components of the door being tested. Since the standard does not specify what makes an individual “knowledgeable” or “understanding”, then the organization gets to make that determination. Be prepared to justify how you arrived at that determination, and have it documented.
    4. Before testing, a visual inspection must be performed on both sides of the door to identify any damage or missing parts that could create a hazard during the test.
    5. Inspections must include an operational test to verify that the assembly will close under fire conditions, and the door assembly must be rest after a successful test.
    6. Hardware must be examined and any inoperative hardware, parts, or other defects must be replaced without delay.
    7. Tin-clad and kalamein doors must be inspected for dry rot of the wood core.
    8. Chains and cables employed must be inspected for excessive wear and stretching.
    9. A written record that is signed and dated by the knowledgeable individual performing the inspection must be maintained and made available to the AHJ.

    Swinging Fire Doors
    On swinging doors, the following must be verified:
    1. No open holes or breaks exist in the surfaces of either the door or the frame
    2. Glazing, vision light frames, and glazing beads are intact and securely fastened in place
    3. The door, frame, hinges, hardware and noncombustible threshold are secured, aligned and in working order with no visible signs of damage
    4. No parts are missing or broken
    5. Clearances under the bottom of the door cannot exceed ¾ inch, and if the door is mounted more than 38 inches above the floor, then the clearance cannot exceed 3/8 inch. Clearances between the top and vertical edges of the door and the frame cannot exceed 1/8 inch for wood doors, and must be 1/8 inch (+ 1/16 inch) for steel doors, as measured on the pull side of the door.
    6. The self-closing device is operational and the active door must fully close when operated from the full open position
    7. If a coordinator is installed, the inactive leaf must close before the active leaf
    8. Positive latching hardware operates and secures the door when it is in the closed position
    9. Ensure that auxiliary hardware items that interfere with the proper operation of the door are not installed on the door or frame
    10. No field modifications have been made to the door or frame that would void the rated label
    11. Where gasketing and edge seals are required, inspect to verify their presence and integrity

    NFPA 105 Standard for Smoke Door Assemblies and Other Opening Protectives (2010 edition).
    Sliding and Overhead Fire Doors
    Section 5.2 of NFPA 105 requires horizontal sliding, vertical sliding or overhead rolling fire doors, the following must be verified:
    1. No open holes or breaks exist in the surfaces of the door or frame
    2. Slats, endlocks, bottom bar, guide assembly, curtain entry hood, and flame baffle are correctly installed and intact
    3. Glazing, vision light frames, and glazing beads are intact and securely fastened
    4. Curtain, barrel, and guides are aligned, level, plumb and true
    5. Expansion clearance is maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s listing
    6. Drop release arms and weights are not blocked or wedged
    7. Mounting and assembly bolts are intact and secured
    8. Attachments to jambs are with bolts, expansion anchors, or as otherwise required by the listing
    9. Smoke detectors, if equipped, are installed and operational
    10. No parts are missing or broken
    11. Fusible links, if equipped, are in the location; chain/cable, s-hooks, eyes, and so forth are in good condition, meaning they are not kinked, pinched, twisted or inflexible
    12. Auxiliary hardware items that interfere with the proper operation are not installed on the door or frame
    13. No field modifications to the door assembly have been performed that would void the door label Smoke Door Assemblies.

    On smoke compartment door assemblies, the following actions and functions must be verified:
    1. Smoke door assemblies must be inspected annually.
    2. Doors must be operated to confirm full closure.
    3. Hardware and gaskets shall be inspected annually, and if any parts found to be damaged or inoperative must be replaced.
    4. Tin-clad and kalamein doors shall be inspected for dry rot of the wood core.
    5. A written record that is signed and dated by the knowledgeable individual performing the inspection must be maintained and made available to the AHJ.
    6. Records must be maintained for at least 3 years.

  7. Dave says:

    Lori, Educating a clients appointed individual about FDAI is a good option as long as the AHJ approves. It could save the client some money. The negative side is that it has the potential to take business away from those who offer the FDAI service.
    Quoting a per opening price has the potential to exceed a client’s budget as indicated in your referenced article. Performing the FDAI service based on an hourly rate with a “Not to Exceed” clause is a viable option due to the many variables involved with the inspections such as travel, time of day or night to perform the inspections as not to disturb the clients work environment, review of “As-built” drawings, record keeping, re-inspection if required, meeting with the owner and AHJ for code review and so on.
    For those companies that do not have the staffing to perform the inspections; A proposal to the client to create a temporary position for you as a FDAI Project manager would have mutual benefits. Agree on a hourly rate; instead of $65.00 per opening; payment could be $65.00/hr. This would ease your liability and insurance issues and possible conflict of interest issues associated with recommendations as to who and how the corrections/repairs are performed. This would allow your client more control of overall costs of the inspection, review and correction of out of code issues.

    • Lori says:

      Hi Dave –

      I think there are various ways to provide this service – one of which is to charge an hourly rate. It can be difficult to calculate the number of hours needed, so it’s a little riskier than a per opening price. There are a lot of variables, as you know. I don’t know if there will ever be one particular model that works best.

      – Lori

  8. Mark Mitchell says:

    Lori. Your question caused me to process a lot. I have taken extensive courses through DHI and other organizations and a great cost of time and resources to become a FDAI. There are a group of people out there who were sold a bill of goods that once fire doors were required to be inspected annually and documented for CMS, that there would be a tremendous need for third party inspectors to properly provide this service for other facilities. That was one reason I made the investment. I anticipated a return. I developed software to perform the inspections. I established an LLC. I developed a website. I did not do any of those things with the intention of teaching others to potentially take away that business. I feel that if all my efforts were just to educate others that I pursued the wrong endeavor. I do believe that part of my service I can provide is some level of eduction I do t think that should be at the expense of my business. I suppose it’s a fine line. If a facility has 16 rated assemblies to inspect they should self inspect. I typically charge 10.00 per assembly. This cost includes barcoding if necessary and access to the clients own data on their personalized site. I can only provide that price point within a particular geographical radius. I think that is very reasonable. It is a lot of work and responsibility as you know. If I travel I would need to cover my expenses. My intent was to provide a service that was cost effective for everyone. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    • Lori says:

      Hi Mark –

      I hear you. I have taken the FDAI course through DHI as well, and I know many others who have made this investment. I think it has taken a lot longer than the industry thought to get enforcement of the inspections, and while we were waiting for that to happen, various business models have evolved. In my opinion, there is a tremendous need for 3rd-party inspectors, and given the training programs that are currently available I don’t know how we would ever have enough certified inspectors to inspect all of the fire doors every year. NFPA 101 also requires certain egress doors to be inspected annually. I think there will always be facilities that want/need to hire a 3rd-party inspector, but there are also facilities that will self-inspect. FDAIs can still play a role in that…offering training, overseeing inspections, and assisting with some of the more difficult openings. None of this should be done for free – I wouldn’t give this expertise away. I think your price is very reasonable and for some facilities it may be cost-effective to hire you rather than to try to manage it in-house. I am not in the business of fire door inspection but I think flexibility will be key to developing the right business model for each market.

      – Lori

    • Kevin says:

      Mark, How do you actual make money by providing this service for $10.00 per opening. Even with a customer base with 5000 openings it only equates to $125,000 per year for your valuable services, the cost of your training, website, software and recording and reporting…Thank you.

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