Fire and Fire/Smoke Damper Inspections
•The following slides relate to installation problems which were identified on OSBI projectsand town assists I have performed.
•These violations and problems will be discussed or identified during the presentation.
•The incorrect installation of Fire Dampers, Smoke Dampers, and F/S damper systems are encountered on a regular basis by OSBI and OSFM.
Damper Inspections continued :
•Typical dampers encountered when performing our inspections:
•“Fire dampers” Static Type -only intended to be able to close when the flow in the system has been stopped by some other means.Dynamic Type–must be able to close while maximum airflow is occurring in the system.
•These damper applications are commonly mixed-up in the field. A Static Type damper cannotbe used in a airflow condition!
•Fire dampers, smoke dampers, combination fire/smoke dampers and ceiling radiation dampers located within air distribution and smoke control systems shall be installed according to the manufacturer’s installation instructions.
•Check for UL listings***Fire Dampers –UL 555 Smoke Dampers –UL555S Combination Fire/Smoke –UL555 and UL555S Ceiling Radiation Dampers –UL 555C
•Common violation –“Framing Issues” The intent of the damper is to maintain the integrity of the penetration.Many times the installers pay no attention to the installation instructions. The required framingis one of the most important parts of the installation.* The proposed damper sleeve must be properly anchored to the required framing. Many times the framing is missing and the damper sleeve is installed in sheetrock.
•Many times the framing required for the damper installation is incorrect and even entirely missing!
•The framing is normally not performed by the damper installer. The carpenters and masons are usually responsible for the opening required to accommodate the fire damper sleeves. The required opening cannot be correctly configured without the manufacturer’s installation instructions which can only be supplied by the damper installer. These instructions are usually never provided and annular spaces are usually incorrect!
•Damper framing instructions must be provided to the carpenters and masons prior to constructing walls and in some cases floors.
•Sheet metal and wood framing can be difficult at best to reconfigure when annular spaces are incorrect. Openings in concrete and cmuwalls and floors when done incorrectly are extremely difficult to correct and many times require extensive demolition and reconstruction.
•Dampers are proprietary and installation instructions vary somewhat from manufacturer to manufacturer. Manufacturer’s installation instructions are required for the correct installation and inspection!!!
•Once the framing has been confirmed the next important step is the annular space required between the damper sleeve and the required framing.
•The annular space is specified by the damper manufacturer and an important part of the installation.
•The purpose of the space is to allow the damper sleeve to expand under a high heat or fire condition and prevent the actual damper from racking or binding which would prevent the damper from proper operation.
•Once the annular space has been confirmed the installation requires some type of damper sleeve retainage or anchoring. The retaining angles along with the required framing hold the damper and sleeve in place in a fire event and maintain the integrity of the penetration.
•The required metal or wood framing must be inspected before the application of sheetrock!
•When dampers are installed in CMU walls the actual CMU wall is the framing and the actual opening in the CMU penetration must be confirmed before the installation of the damper sleeve. The overall opening must also include the damper manufacturer’s required annular space!
•Many times these damper sleeves are installed prior to our inspections and the required openings are usually incorrect. In many cases the installer has also installed the retaining angles making a proper inspection impossible.
•The basic forms of anchorage or retainage are what is referred to as one sided and two sided attachments.
•Not all dampers can be attached by either method. The manufacturer’s installation instructions will specify the method.
•A two sided attachment is currently the most common installation encountered in the field. The related retaining angles are attached to the damper sleeve only on both sides of the rated penetration.
•A one sided attachment is used many times on shaft penetrations which are difficult to perform retainage from inside the shaft. The one sided attachment requires the retaining angle to be anchored to both the damper framing and the sleeve,hence the one sided attachment.
•The annular spaces must always be inspected before the installation of the required retaining angles!
•Many of the dampers inspected by our offices are factory installed in the damper sleeve and even come with the factory retaining angles!
•The length of the sleeve is also very important. The damper manufacturer has specific requirements for the length of the sleeve beyond the penetration.
•A breakaway joint is required at these locations. The purpose of the breakaway joint is to allow the attached duct work to separate from the damper sleeve in a fire event allowing the damper to remain in the plane of the penetration and maintain the integrity of the penetration.
•The retaining angles are also a significant part of the installation.
•The angles are always attached to the damper sleeve and in a one-sided installation the angles are also attached to the building structure.
•The screw or fastener pattern is specific to the damper manufacturer.
•The retaining angle width must overlap the required annular space a minimum of one inch. Many times the installer does not follow the installation requirements for proper fastening and the fasteners are installed in the annular space void and have no anchoring value. Without proper anchoring the damper will not remain in place and the penetration is compromised!
•Testing of the installed dampers.
•Proper access is required to all installed dampers. Damper access should be identified when performing a plan review of the proposed installation! Identification at the review stage eliminates many problems after the unit has been incorrectly installed! Designers try to lay the responsibility on the installer but many times the design does not allow for proper access. Access doors are required to enable inspection and testing. These doors must be large enough to allow physical contact with the damper mechanism. Many times the access doors are not large enough!
•All dampers must be cycled or tested to confirm proper operation.
•PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED BY OSBI and OSFM:
•Screws and fasteners found in damper tracks preventing damper movement.
•Dampers incorrectly configured. Vertical to horizontal etc.
•Dampers installed in the wrong direction. The damper many times has a directional arrow. Contractors have even removed the sticker and reattached to match their incorrect installation.
•Damper vanes were actually missing when performing required testing. Problems such as this were discovered even after the installer claimed the units were pretested!
•Dampers must be reset once tested. Many installers want to reset the damper after the inspection, without the inspector. They usually have a good reason such as the access door (installed) is too small and reset will be difficult at best. BE SURE TO SEE THE DAMPER PROPERLY RESET!!!
•F/S dampers also contain a heat sensing device which must also be tested, usually with some type of heat gun. Many times we have found dampers that were not wired and again the installer claimed the dampers were pretested. We have also been given letters from damper manufacturers claiming the units were factory checked and testing is not recommended and may be detrimental. We test all dampers and many times find factory defects!!!
Access to code required duct smoke :
Proper access is a huge problem in the field.
Mechanical inspection issues
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Rough inspection framing issues
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