D+AS MAGAZINE

TECHNICAL TIPS — ASK JOE HETZEL

© 2003 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Summer 2003
Author: Joe Hetzel
Page 60

ASK JOE HETZEL

By Joe Hetzel, DASMA Technical Director

Q: I hear that DASMA is often involved in developing and revising building codes. As a dealer, how does that help me?

Joe: We want to clear up as much confusion and frustration as possible for dealers who face code enforcement issues. Here are three examples of reactions I often hear from dealers.

1. “The code requirements are too extreme.”

I hear this one a lot, because garage door products are often treated like other products such as windows and entry doors. DASMA works to get the codes to treat our products separately and appropriately.

For example, DASMA works to ensure that wind load requirements in building codes are specific to garage doors. Unfortunately, some codes still apply wind load requirements uniformly to building products in general. But, as of June 30, the Florida Building Code includes a wind load table specifically for garage doors.

2. “The requirements are confusing.”

Yes, code requirements are often written poorly, leaving room for multiple interpretations. It sometimes seems that a specialized education in building codes is necessary to understand code requirements.

DASMA works to incorporate code requirements that the entire industry can understand. For example, DASMA successfully incorporated rolling door provisions in building codes to clarify the functions of a rolling steel fire door. That resulted in clear requirements that, so far, have not had any interpretation-related problems.

3. “The requirements should not apply to my product.”

When code requirements don’t specifically apply to garage doors, code officials can apply any requirements that they deem applicable. Here is where DASMA can step in to research and write code provisions to clarify the matter.

For example, prior to the mid-1990s, the major building codes had no specific fire-related requirements for residential garage doors. Code organizations often forced garage doors to comply with fire-related requirements for insulation in a home’s interior walls. However, DASMA persuaded code organizations to recognize that garage doors are different from interior walls and should have separate requirements.

DASMA continues to work with code development groups to ensure that industry products are properly represented. Stay tuned for the results of our current efforts.