Questions Category

So, you want to be an independent fire door inspector, do you?

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 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.

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Posted by IFDIA

The International Fire Door Inspector Association is an independent association of contracted fire door inspectors who have been trained to the most rigid standards available. Our membership is free to building/property owners, credible fire door inspectors and AHJ code officials. We created this blog as a means to help the community understand the role that properly functioning fire doors provide in regards to life safety.
  1. Hello, I am seeking “certification” / credentials to inspect and re-certify fire door openings in the greater Los Angeles,San bernardino California area. Please guide me in the right direction. Your help is greatly appreciated.

    Thank You.

  2. Ray says:

    Hello Rhett,

    Thanks for posting your question to the blog comments section of the IFDIA Blog.

    In answer to your questions:

    1: By going to the IFDIA eLearning site, you can begin the process of learning about the intricacies of fire door inspections. First, you will need to click on the Pre Qualification Exam link. This exam is free and is used by the Association to determine the skill and knowledge level of persons wishing to become fire door inspectors. The test is made up of 30 questions, with a time limit of 15 minutes. A score of 80% or better is required to pass the Exam.

    2: After successfully completing and passing the Pre Qual, you will be invited to sign up for and pay for the Accredited Advanced Swinging Type Fire Door Inspector Curriculum. The IFDIA online course is accredited by the International Accreditation Agency, a sister company of the International Code Council. As you may be aware, the ICC is the generator of the Model Building and Fire Codes, such as IFC and IBC 2009.

    3: There is only one way to re-certify a fire door. That is by contacting the listing agency whose label appears on the door. In other words, fire door inspections can be performed by anyone who has been approved by the AHJ, but labeling (according to NFPA 80) can only be accomplished by the credentialed listing and labeling agency that originally labeled the door.

    Essentially, should you take our accredited training (either online or via classroom), you would have the knowledge and tools necessary to inspect fire doors to the current requirements. We have a number of IFDIA members who are AHJ’s and Code Officials. We are daily gaining recognition in the industry as having one of the best priced and most complete training programs available.

    Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance. We also have a discount coupon code that will save you $100.00 off the cost of the online course (not classroom). Let me know if you need the code.


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