Q: Do the NFPA standards for fire damper testing require the testing to be performed by a certified vendor/specialist or can it be performed internally by our engineering staff?
A: According to NFPA 80-2010, section 19.4 addresses the issues for testing fire dampers. While I do not see any restrictions in the standards regarding qualifications of the person conducting the fire damper test, the general understanding in other NFPA standards is the person should have knowledge and understanding of the operation of the equipment, which can be provided at the time of the test/inspection. So, to directly answer your question: No, fire damper testing does not have to be conducted by a certified vendor/specialist and may be conducted by your own staff. Although you did not ask, here is a summary of what NFPA 80-2010 requires for fire damper testing:
- Each damper shall be tested and inspected 1 year after installation.
- The test and inspection frequency shall then be every 4 years, except in hospitals, where the frequency shall be every 6 years.
- All tests shall be completed in a safe manner by personnel wearing personal protective equipment.
- Full unobstructed access to the fire or combination fire/smoke damper shall be verified and corrected as required.
- If the damper is equipped with a fusible link, the link shall be removed for testing to ensure full closure and lock-in-place if so equipped.
- The operational test of the damper shall verify that there is no damper interference due to rusted, bent, misaligned, or damaged frame or blades, or defective hinges or other moving parts.
- The damper frame shall not be penetrated by any foreign objects that would affect fire damper operations.
- The damper shall not be blocked from closure in any way.
- The fusible link shall be reinstalled after testing is complete.
- If the link is damaged or painted, it shall be replaced with a link of the same size, temperature, and load rating.
- All inspections and testing shall be documented, indicating the location of the fire damper or combination fire/smoke damper, date of inspection, name of the inspector, and deficiencies discovered.
- The documentation shall have a space to indicate when and how the deficiencies were corrected.
- All documentation shall be maintained and made available for review by the AHJ.
- Periodic inspections and testing of a combination fire/smoke damper shall also meet the inspection and testing requirements contained in Chapter 6 of NFPA 105-2010, Standard for Smoke Door Assemblies and Other Opening Protectives.