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Does this Meet Code 8

Many items in a building require routine inspection and maintenance.  The most basic inspection is the visual inspection where elements are reviewed to ensure compliance with the code or installation instructions.  Model codes such as NFPA 1, the Uniform Fire Code or the International Building Code have requirements for occupants to conduct visual inspections on fire separations and walls.

Dampers are forgotten due to their typically hidden location of this passive protective system.  Open protectives are critical in allowing building systems to penetrate a fire separation.  What happens when the protective opening is installed correctly but another contractor limits the ability of the system to work?

This picture shows an improper installation on many different levels, what would your red tag say?

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Paul Sabaj August 5, 2009, 7:55 am

    Greta article. I wonder if you had a electronic pad with note on what to make sure you check would be of help? Both for the current inspector and for the next guy that goes in. I would have like to be there when he told the occupant and to hear the responce. “It’s always been like that” I would love to see more of these types but also the follow up and how long it took to get taken care of. Thanks

  • Dan Wimmer August 5, 2009, 9:08 am

    I see this to often. Electricians, Phone installers and IT people are the worse about this as they don’t know or don’t care if its a fire or smoke barrier. Looks like phone installers just poke a hole in the wall beside the damper that wasn’t sealed. This should have had a sleeve that is secured to the assembly and sealed with a approved sealant.

  • Don Phillips August 5, 2009, 9:20 am

    This is a good example why low voltage contractors probably need to go through a plan review and inspection process. I have also seen them remove the “putty” around wall penetrations to run their wires and it is not put it back properly. Of course, I wonder how that MC cable got there without an inspection.

  • Wayne Morris August 5, 2009, 1:32 pm

    That’s why we will ALWAYS have job security. If we could charge the installing contractor(s) with tampering with fire equipment, or up to murder if a fire occurs and a person is killed due to this blatent disreguard for human safety, then it may not happen as much. Then again, Job Security, as Mr. Phillips says, require training for the contractors, until that type of requirement happens, it is up to the inspectors to educate them. WIth enough money they have to spend to re-install low voltage, etc, the contractors you see regularly will know not to do it. I feel that most just dont know WHY they cant punch a hole in the wall, or use the open damper. A little time “explaining” the issue to the GC or Sub will go a long way.

  • Mike August 22, 2009, 10:30 am

    Paul, Dan, Wayne, thanks for the great comments and inspection is the key

  • Code Weenie August 22, 2009, 10:34 am

    The other day we say this at a five story hospital, so we have another picture for the future

  • Dan Lawson August 24, 2009, 8:39 am

    I would site the building owner to have the fire safety system returned to proper working order as was intended use upon installation. I would also let everyone in my fire deptartment know this was found and to be on the lookout in case of an incident occuring there.

  • Brian Dove September 28, 2009, 7:31 am

    This is why I do not have a lot of faith in passive fire protection, it is all too often violated despite marking by low voltage contractors or by ingnorant owner’s running their own data lines. Fire Sprinklers properly installed and maintained trump this kind of carelessness.

    Of worthy note also if you were the fire inspector doing inspections on this building say 9 or 10 years after its CO was issued, how would you know what type of barrier this was supposed to be and if the damper were even required?

    How many of you when you saw this picture asked the question is the cable plenum rated cable? It is obviously a plenum or why else would you have fire damper in the wall?

    The other question that hits me, is the flex duct that is attached to the supply diffuser in the picture a Class 0 or 1 duct material – I see so little of the plastic flex duct that is.

    Thats my red tag…

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