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Our industry organization has conducted quite a few trainings for code officials and they always seem to leave the training feeling like this is necessary and understanding what needs to happen. But there are very few jurisdictions actually requiring the inspections; therefore, the building owners are not doing them or having them done. Why is that?
I’m not asking because I want to spend my days doing fire door inspections – I don’t. My job is to educate and support people on code requirements related to doors, and I don’t have time to do inspections. I’m asking because I’m so frustrated that a fairly simple thing that could actually save lives is not happening, even in states where it is required by code. From your article I can see that I am not alone in this frustration – that there are other issues that are being overlooked as well. I just wondered if you had any thoughts on this topic.
Lori Greene, AHC/CDC, CCPR, FDAI
Manager, Codes & Resources
Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies
Daniel Byrne responds: Glad you enjoyed the article. The feedback has been all positive. Where do I start?
Too much regulation. There is so much regulation – hood systems, fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems, fire doors – that it is hard for business owners to keep up with all that needs to be done. To add to this issue is the lack of education and enforcement. There is no one out there educating them that it needs to be done and there is no consistency between jurisdictions. Not only does this create a compliance issue, but also sours the business owner’s relationship with the code officials because when they are “educated,” it is usually during a violation notice.
Business owners change almost constantly. The days of “mom-and-pop” stores where the owners are there for years are all but gone. Now it is all chain stores where managers rotate constantly, so even if you are active in educating, it is a non-stop process.
Money. The economy is down and if a business owner can cut an expense by not doing something he doesn’t see a need for, and may never get caught, then why spend the money? What one jurisdiction did, not too successfully, is require business owners to maintain a folder that was created by the fire department. In that folder were sections for the paperwork for all required inspections, and copies of the applicable code. Great idea, but when managers rotate, the folder gets lost.
Those are my thoughts. All we can do is the best we can so when we go home at night and stand in front of the mirror we know we did our jobs the best we could.
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