Q: When comparing smoke dampers in smoke barriers vs smoke partitions, section 188.8.131.52 requires smoke dampers (with exemptions) for penetrations by ducts or air-transfer openings in a smoke barrier. Section 184.108.40.206 (smoke dampers in smoke partitions) only indicates air-transfer openings as required to have smoke dampers, with no mention of ducted openings, which we interpret to mean that ducted openings in a smoke partition do not require smoke dampers. However, we have been repeatedly told by mechanical engineers that smoke dampers are required for all ducts, transfer ducts, and air-transfer openings that pass through a smoke partition – which interpretation is correct?
A: It appears to me that your mechanical engineers are confusing smoke partitions with smoke barriers. To be sure, air-transfer openings are prohibited in corridor walls (which are smoke partitions) in healthcare occupancies, according to section 220.127.116.11.1 of the 2012 LSC. Also, section 18.104.22.168 (2) exempts smoke dampers in fully-ducted penetrations in smoke barriers, where the smoke compartments served by the smoke barriers are fully protected with Quick Response sprinklers. I do not see where smoke dampers are required in HVAC ductwork in smoke partitions.