FDAI History and FAQ
A Fire Safety Essential
Fire safety in the built environment has taken a giant leap forward with the introduction, in 2007, of annual inspection of fire-rated door assemblies by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) as part of its NFPA 80 standard. NFPA 80, 2013 edition, is referenced in the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC), 2015 edition, and will eventually be included in the building codes of those provinces that do not use the NBCC.
Learn more about annual fire door assembly inspections
- Contact DHI Canada (email@example.com) to arrange a presentation to your group
To download the FDAI Canadian Brochure, click here.
The Rhode Island nightclub fire – 100 lives lost due fire doors that did not work correctly.
What is NFPA 80, and what does it require?
- NFPA 80 is the Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives. It outlines the requirements that fire-rated doors must meet:
- Chapter 5 of NFPA 80, “Care and Maintenance”, specifies that “Fire door assemblies shall be inspected and tested not less than annually, and a written record of the inspection shall be signed and kept for inspection by the AHJ (authority having jurisdiction).”
- Section 126.96.36.199 of NFPA 80 states “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.”
Who are the key players in annual fire door assembly inspections?
- The authority having jurisdiction (AHJ): fire marshals and building inspectors are usually the AHJs. They will confirm the inspections occurred by reviewing the documentation and verifying that the necessary corrective actions were taken to repair assemblies that were found to have deficiencies.
- Building owners and managers: responsibility for the maintenance and care of fire-rated door assemblies rests solidly on the shoulders of the building owners. They are charged with making the necessary actions; otherwise, they will run the risk of being cited for violations by the AHJ.
- Inspectors: as NFPA 80 states, inspection “shall be performed by individuals with knowledge and understanding of the operating components of the type of door being subject to testing.” CFDAIs and FDAIs are seasoned professionals and have been trained by DHI to be completely knowledgeable about the operation of swinging fire doors
- The Door and Hardware Institute: DHI provides the education and training necessary to ensure properly knowledgeable inspectors are available to assist AHJs and building owners in the inspection process.
A properly operating fire door contains fire damage.
What does an inspector look for?
- Damage to the door and frame
- Security of glazing, if present
- Security, alignment and operability of the door, frame, hinges and hardware
- Missing or broken parts
- Door clearances
- Properly operating self-closing device
- Operation of a coordinator, if installed
- Operation of latching hardware
- Presence of auxiliary hardware items which may interfere with door operation
- Illegal field modifications
- Presence and integrity of gasketing and edge seals
Can I conduct my own inspection of fire doors?
According to NFPA 80, 2013 edition, only a person “with knowledge and understanding of the operating components of the type of door being subject to testing” can inspect fire doors and sign the record of inspection. The level of knowledge and understanding required comes as the result of experience and proper training, such as that leading to the CFDAI or FDAI designations offered by DHI.
This is the kind of damage a properly operating fire door can contain.
Why conduct annual fire door assembly inspections?
- The requirement for annual inspections (NFPA 80, 2013 edition) may be incorporated by reference in your building and fire codes
- Even if it is not incorporated, the AHJs in your area may require it
- Failure to comply could lead to citation by the AHJ
- Improperly maintained fire door assemblies may lead to property damage and, in the event of fire, loss of life and loss of property
- Swinging fire doors are one of the most common and yet most complex methods of egress from a burning building
- Doors that do not work as designed may prevent safe egress and not act to contain fires properly
- Improperly operating fire doors, especially swinging doors, can actually retard the operation of sprinkler systems
- Ongoing inspection and maintenance of fire doors by skilled professionals helps reduce loss of life and property damage
NFPA 80, 2007 (or later) edition, is not currently enforced in my area. What are the benefits to me of annual inspections?
Even if not required, annual inspections by a properly trained inspector are still a good practice. They:
- Prevent loss of life due to improperly functioning doors and door hardware
- Prevent or contain loss of property
- Prevent or contain damage or loss of the building
- By reducing fire damage, help keep building insurance premiums down
- Provide particular security and safety in universities, schools and hospitals, where casualties and damage can be greatest
- Offer an extra level of security for residents of high-rise apartments and condominiums
How can I learn more about annual fire door assembly inspections?
- Purchase copies of the Guide to Annual Inspection of Swinging Fire Doors, or Field Reference Digest for Inspecting Swinging Fire Doors from the Door Security and Safety Foundation at https://www.doorsecuritysafety.org/Foundation/Resources/Foundation/Resources.aspx?hkey=89b4568b-ded7-4c0d-8a95-b91e7964d04c
Where can I find a DHI fire and egress door assembly professional near me?
Click here for a list of DHI professionals.