International Door & Operator Industry

NOV-DEC 2018

Garage door industry magazine for garage door dealers, garage door manufacturers, garage door distributors, garage door installers, loading docks, garage door operators and openers, gates, and tools for the door industry.

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Page 48 of 110

When I was new to this industry, circa 1983, I started attending fire protection-related seminars at our annual conventions, centered on why technician training or certification was important and how we needed to 'put teeth' behind the code mandating annual fire door inspection and drop testing. The idea of one, enforceable method to require building owners to test fire doors was compelling! One of the better discussions included convincing the insurance industry to help encourage their insureds to comply with the NFPA 80 standard to drop test their fire doors by annually dropping the rate schedules to reflect compliance. Personally, I think the strategic thinking behind this idea was spot on and will likely be the topic of an entire future article. However, back in the old days, door companies and technicians desperately needed a source providing independent, affordable and standardized training. Manufacturers were generally ambivalent about the idea for a variety of reasons. Building owners were getting the short end of the stick, as there was no way to judge the competence - or lack thereof - of the technicians and company performing the inspection possessed while performing testing and servicing. Bad practices could cost companies greatly in property and revenue loss. It's All about Life Safety Worse yet, the public and employees were clearly put at the greatest risk because dangerous conditions caused by inoperable fire doors and shutters - at one time estimated at over 70 percent - could cost them their lives. This responsibility of testing belonged to the property owner. Liability for a loss generally started with the owner and extended to the dealer who last performed the inspection or installation, as well as the manufacturer of the door. Flash forward to present day: The good news is we have made great strides in standardizing best practice training through IDEA, and this group of volunteers has and is doing an outstanding job of technician education and certification. Technicians are much savvier when trained in codes and standards, as well as product types and operations. Better decisions are being made in the field because of this training and the trend is heading in the right direction. Certified technicians, accredited door companies and the spread of information is clearly making a difference today compared to 1983. More people are recognizing the benefits and are participating more than ever, producing a groundswell of energy that is arguably raising the quality of our performance as an industry. It's Not All Good The bad news, in a nutshell, is this: There is still a huge issue surrounding owner compliance with the standard and of the quality of service we deliver. The NFPA 80 standard requiring annual inspection and drop testing still lacks concise and authoritative language. There is no enforcement because there are no fire door police, as we have written about this in the past. Owner compliance is generally driven by the desire to reduce one's liability profile and sometimes by the underwriter. Rolling fire door certification, in the opinion of many, still lacks the credibility it might otherwise deserve and also lacks the number of participants necessary 46 International Door & Operator Industryâ„¢ By: David Dawdy, director of fire and life safety new product development at CornellCookson TECHNICAL The Fire Door CERTIFICATION DEBATE There is a topic within our industry fueling hot discussions dating as far back as many of us can remember... The Fire Door CERTIFICATION DEBATE Continued on page 49

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