While it is often challenging to determine which codes are being enforced in different cities across the country, New York city can be exceptionally challenging. With it’s own set of fire protection guidelines to abide by, many facility engineers and fire protection engineers find themselves a bit stumped when trying to ensure compliance with local laws. We want to take a minute to share with you what we know about passive fire protection code requirements in New York City to help fill in any grey areas you might have.
NEW YORK CITY ADMINISTRATIVE CODE, TITLE 29, NEW YORK CITY FIRE CODE states:
703.1.2 Smoke barriers. Required smoke barrier partitions shall be maintained to prevent passage of smoke and all openings protected with approved smoke barrier doors or leakage-rated (smoke) dampers
703.2 Maintenance of openings. Fire doors and fire windows shall be maintained in good working order in accordance with NFPA 80. Fire doors and smoke barrier doors shall not be blocked of obstructed or otherwise made operable. Fusible links shall be replaced promptly whenever fused, damaged or otherwise rendered inoperable. Fire door assemblies shall not be modified.
NEW YORK CITY MECHANICAL CODE
SECTION 2.7 — FIRE/SMOKE DOORS AND DAMPERS
2.7.1. Inspection of list fire doors, smoke partition doors, fire shutters, fire windows and horizontal fire/smoke doors
Inspections may be performed by authorized building or contract personnel and shell be in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines and NFPA 80. A written record of all inspections shall be maintained.
2.7.3 Fire and smoke damper inspections.
Each fire and smoke damper assembly in mechanical, electrical or air handler rooms and spaces, in firewalls or rated occupancy separation walls, or in floors, or part of a smoke evacuation system , shall be visually inspected at least annually to verify that their operations are not obstructed or impaired. Authorized building or contract personnel may perform visual inspections.A written record of inspection shall be maintained. Any dampers that are not accessible for inspection shall be noted in the inspection report.
2.7.4 Damper testing
An approved HVAC company shall conduct a full-function test and maintenance on all fire dampers at least every 4 years. All testing and maintenance shall be conducted in accordance with this standard and manufacturer’s guildelines and NFPA 90A and 92A. Testing shall include removal of fusible links to check that damper vanes, blades or shutters fully close that the latch mechanism (if provided) operate properly. Dampers should (where possible) be operated with normal system airflow to ensure that they close and are not held open by airstreams.
Exceptions: 1. Electrical and/or pneumatic operated fire smoke dampers shall be maintained, cycled and tested not less than every 6 months.
New York City Local Law 26 has additional requirements for damper and fire door inspections. We can help guide you in the right direction in regards to maintenance and testing requirements. A good rule of thumb is that the more stringent code requirement usually trumps the others.
Important facts to remember about code requirements in NYC:
- Fire doors are an annual requirement per the New York City fire code and must be maintained per NFPA 80, which is an annual inspection requirement.
- Fire rated walls maintenance is required per New York City Fire Code
- Per NYC Mechanical Code, fire and smoke dampers require inspection
- Per NYC Mechanical Code, fire doors require annual inspection
If you have any questions about the code requirements in NYC, or any other city/state for that matter, LSS can help point you in the right direction.
How many dampers, doors and fire rated walls do you think are being neglected across the country due to code confusion?