Aug 12 2013

Air-Handler Smoke Dampers

Category: Questions and Answers,Smoke DampersBKeyes @ 5:00 am
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Q: What is the amount of air delivery (in CFM) that an air handler needs to have before it is required to have a smoke damper on the discharge of the air-handler?

 A: Section 19.5.2.1 of the 2000 edition of the Life Safety Code requires compliance with section 9.2 concerning utilities. Section 9.2.1 requires compliance with NFPA 90A Standard for the Installation of Air-Conditioning and Ventilation Systems (1999 edition) for all air-conditioning, heating and ventilation equipment.  NFPA 90A section 2-3.9.2 says smoke dampers must be installed in (air handler) systems with a capacity greater than 15,000 cubic feet per minute (CFM) to isolate the air-handling equipment, including filters, from the remainder of the system in order to restrict the circulation of smoke. However, there are some exceptions to this requirement that you may qualify for:

  • Where the air-handling unit is located on the floor that it serves and serves only that floor, and;
  • Where the air-handling unit is located on the roof and serves only the floor immediately below the roof, then smoke dampers are not required on the air-handling equipment.

It is recommended that you contact your state and local authorities to determine if they have other requirements that you must follow.


Oct 29 2012

Smoke Dampers: Part 2- Can I remove smoke dampers that are not required by the LSC?

Category: Questions and Answers,Smoke DampersBKeyes @ 5:00 am
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[This week’s Q&A came from the 49th Annual Conference and Exhibition of the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE), held in San Antonio, TX, last July, and how it applies to life safety compliance. A plenary panel consisting of 5 industry experts answered key questions from the members. This question on smoke dampers was answered by Bill Koffel, President of Koffel Associates, Inc., and Frank Van Overmeiren, President of FP&C Consultants, Inc.]

Q: After my building has passed the final inspection with the building department, can I take those smoke dampers which are not required by the LSC out of service?

A: It depends. If the building code requires it, you need to comply with the building code and you can’t diminish the protection feature from the building code. If it is not required by the building code and it is not required by the LSC for new construction, then it would be permitted to be taken out of service.

Once you have determined that the damper can be removed, you can secure the damper in the open position. You can leave it in place, but you need to do some sort of documentation on your fire and smoke damper drawings to indicate that it has been affixed in the open position and taken out of service.


Oct 22 2012

Smoke Dampers: Part 1- Where are they required to be installed?

Category: Questions and Answers,Smoke DampersBKeyes @ 5:00 am
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[This week’s Q&A came from the 49th Annual Conference and Exhibition of the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE), held in San Antonio, TX, last July, and how it applies to life safety compliance. A plenary panel consisting of 5 industry experts answered key questions from the members. This question on smoke dampers was answered by Bill Koffel, President of Koffel Associates, Inc., and Frank Van Overmeiren, President of FP&C Consultants, Inc.]

Q: Where are smoke dampers required to be installed in a hospital?

A: The issue with smoke dampers results in the differences between the International Building Code (IBC) requirements and the Life Safety Code (LSC) requirements. For example, the LSC allows us to omit smoke dampers in duct penetrations of many smoke barriers in buildings protected with a sprinkler system with quick response sprinklers on both sides of the smoke barrier. That exception is not in the IBC and it is one of the issues the ASHE-IBC ad hoc committee is working on at this time. Also the IBC requires smoke dampers at duct penetrations of shafts so there are more smoke damper requirements in the IBC than the LSC.

There are also some folks who recall some previous building code requirements for smoke dampers where dampers were required in all duct penetrations of corridor walls. And some design professionals will require them in their documents.