I know there have been a lot of posts this week and hopefully my subscribers aren’t getting sick of the email notifications, but I’ve got a couple of really important things to post so bear with me.  I can take next week off if you’re sick of me.  🙂

There has been a lot of discussion about exactly when a code referencing NFPA 80 results in the requirement for fire door inspections.  I talked it through with some code officials this week, and this staff opinion from the ICC confirms it:

From:  Michael W. Giachetti, P.E., Senior Staff Engineer – ICC – Chicago District Office

“With the exception of Section 410.3.5, which requires compliance with NFPA 80, the International Building Code only requires fire door assemblies and shutters to be installed in accordance with the provisions of NFPA 80.  The installation of fire doors does not refer to annual inspections.  As such, the International Building Code does not require annual inspection of fire doors.

Section 703.1.3 of the International Fire Code, however, requires all openings protected with approved doors or fire dampers to be maintained in accordance with NFPA 80. After opening protectives are installed and approved, they may become damaged, corroded or otherwise less effective than required.  Since the opening protectives are critical life safety components, they must be maintained throughout the life of the building.  Chapter 5 of the 2007 edition of NFPA 80, which is referenced in the 2009 International Codes, refers to annual inspections as part of the maintenance.  As such, the 2009 International Fire Code would require the fire doors to be annually inspected.

This opinion is based on the information which you have provided.  We have made no independent effort to verify the accuracy of this information nor have we conducted a review beyond the scope of your question.  As this opinion is only advisory, the final decision is the responsibility of the designated authority charged with the administration and enforcement of the code.”

This is what I said in a post earlier this week, but I think having this staff opinion from the ICC is great backup if there is any doubt.  I will continue my state-by-state analysis and let you know where to look in a state’s code to see the requirement for a fire door inspection.

I very much appreciate Michael Giachetti’s permission to post this staff opinion, as well as Ed Dueppen’s initiation of this discussion with him.

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