Ask Joe Hetzel

© 2002 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Winter 2002
Author: Tom Wadsworth
Page 46

Ask Joe Hetzel
DASMA Technical Director

I occasionally have a problem getting my local building department to approve a particular door for an installation. The objection usually involves a product's test report. Is this a dealer issue, a manufacturer issue, or an industry issue?

Joe: I receive many calls from frustrated dealers seeking guidance about such matters. Usually, product design and documentation issues need input from a specific manufacturer. The task of supplying the right product to meet local requirements is usually a dealer issue.

Different situations require different responses. For example …

Situation #1: “They say we need a door that meets 30 pounds per square foot (PSF) wind loads, and our test report shows our door is good for 20 PSF wind loads.”

Responsibility: Dealer. The dealer must obtain and supply product that meets the local requirement.

Situation #2: “They say the garage door information on the test report is different from the information on our drawings.”

Responsibility: Manufacturer. The dealer must contact their manufacturer supplier to resolve the difference.

Situation #3: “They say they will not accept testing done according to the standard indicated in the test report.”

Responsibility: DASMA. We will contact the building department to clarify the appropriate standards. As we help to resolve the issue, we will keep both the manufacturer and the dealer informed during the process.

I've heard that adding struts to a garage door may not improve the wind resistance of the building. Is that true?

Joe: Believe it or not, there is a situation where adding reinforcement to a garage door has no net benefit for the wind resistance of a structure.

This situation involves an installation on a structure in a hurricane-prone, “windborne debris” region, where the windows don't need to resist breakage from flying objects.

Codes and wind standards refer to these structures as “partially enclosed.” The exterior of these structures may be designed for higher wind pressures than “enclosed structures.” The higher wind load is viewed as an alternative to window protection.

However, when windows break and allow wind pressure into these structures, the additional garage door reinforcement measures are almost meaningless. Broken windows can also result in lost or damaged contents within the structure.

The insurance industry is aware of these risks and is pushing for window protection in hurricane-prone, “windborne debris” regions. DASMA supports their efforts.

To address this problem, DASMA’s Commercial & Residential Garage Door Technical Committee is working on an industry strategy plan. We will keep you updated on their work.