Contrary to what one might read online these days, there is no requirement that a person providing services as an independent fire door inspector actually have any type of certification. There is a group of fire door inspectors who call themselves certified, and in point of fact, they do have a certification from Intertek Testing Services, N.A, a nationally recognized testing laboratory. These fire door assembly inspectors have graduated from the Door & Hardware Institute’s FDAI course. There is a separate charge for Intertek certification.
In reality, the field of contracted fire door inspectors is wide open. The only real requirement regarding experience levels, knowledge and skill set are found in the National Fire Protection Association Standard number 80. Or most often called, NFPA80, Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives. The 2007 edition was the first time a requirement was made mandatory for any jurisdiction that adopted the standard to implement annual inspections of fire doors.
So, what exactly is the word according to the NFPA 80 Standard? Let’s take a look:
NFPA 80 188.8.131.52 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.
This means that if you want to be an inspector, you just have to have knowledge and understanding of the stuff you are going to inspect.
Here’s a great article written in the NFPA Journal, the print and online official publication of the National Fire Protection association. I have copied a small snippet of the text below for you, so you can read it from the horse’s mouth (sorry, mixing my metaphors).
Although no special licensing or certification is required, the door inspector must be familiar with the door components and how they operate, as noted …
Don’t be fooled into thinking you need to be certified, that a fire door inspection report needs to be generated by a “certified” fire door inspector.
Alright, now that we have the question of certification out of the way, let’s talk about whether or not you can become a fire door inspector.
At the IFDIA, we have developed an online training curriculum (did I mention it is accredited by the International Accreditation Services, whose parent company writes the International Fire and Building Codes?).
Since our online class is an Advanced Swinging Type Fire Door Assembly course, we require students to have the basic knowledge needed to pass a fairly stringent pre-qualification quiz. The quiz tests your knowledge of basic construction and code issues. Did I mention the quiz is free? Yep, free. If you pass the quiz, you can take the advanced accredited curriculum. Want to try it?
Essentially, what we do is determine if your knowledge level is sufficient to indicate you have some sort of experience in the construction and door hardware industry. If you do, great! If not, we have a primer course you can take for very little money to get you up to speed.
So, rather than try to restrict this brand new, exciting home based business to special people who call themselves “certified” we want to make sure that anyone who is capable and has the skill set to advance, can take our course and be assured of the most up-to-date training available.
Now, you might be thinking….(I do this a lot too), ‘if I don’t need to be certified and I just have to be knowledgeable, why should I take the IFDIA course?’ . Hey, we get it. We understand you may know more about fire doors than most people, but…does the Authority Having Jurisdiction, or Code Official know what you know? Do you know them personally? If you do, that’s great. You have nothing to worry about. But, what if you don’t know the AHJ and he / she does not know you? How will they determine whether or not your skill set is equivalent to the amorphous NFPA 80 requirement for “knowledge” needed?
That’s where the IFDIA can help. With an accredited curriculum, we are assuring the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (Fire Marshal, Code Enforcement, Building or Planning Dept etc.) that our students and members are trained with not only the basic knowledge needed, but also to an accredited curriculum. Now, the AHJ does not have to accept any inspector, or any report written by any particular inspector, but, since our accreditation is by IAS, they will most likely understand your training is top notch. After all, most cities, states, institutions etc., are accredited by the same agency. And as the child company of the International Code Council, IAS is the perfect entity to provide oversight for what we teach.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them on this page and we will be very happy to respond.