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Code Considerations: Specifying Effective Fire Dampers
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Ensuring Damper PerformancePt. 2: How To Properly Inspect and Test Fire DampersPt. 3: This Page
Specifying the appropriate damper type in the appropriate location can have a large impact on inspection, testing, and maintenance for a facility for years to come.
We recently were approached by a medical center client to assist with the damper-testing process at its hospital. As part of this process, we reviewed the life-safety plans for the facility against the existing damper locations, as well as the adopted codes.
We were able to confirm the facility had fire-rated construction features that would not have been required if it were built under currently applicable building, fire and life safety codes. We worked with the local authority having jurisdiction to provide an updated life-safety plan for the facility that was approved.
Based on this approval, we were able to review all of the dampers against the updated life safety plan and remove 83 existing dampers from the hospital. When the facility was constructed, much of the building was required to have fire-rated construction.
By today’s standards, much of that space no longer must meet that requirement. This finding enabled the facility to go from 118 dampers to 35 and even deactivate duct detectors. The changes saved the facility money by lowering the amount of time and effort needed to test the system regularly, and it decreased the amount of paperwork needed to document testing and inspection.
— Mark Chrisman