Ask Joe Hetzel
© 2002 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Summer 2002
Author: Joe Hetzel
Ask Joe Hetzel
DASMA Technical Director
Why would a vent be needed in a garage door?
Joe: Venting is associated with the need of a building and not a garage door. The two most common reasons for venting a building involve water (potential flooding of the building in a low-lying area) and air (ventilation against carbon monoxide).
Building codes govern water-related venting, and mechanical codes govern air-related venting. Proper venting design will usually ensure that a building is not subject to being “pressurized” during high winds.
The garage door is often the easiest place to install a vent. However, a vent can compromise a garage door’s resistance to wind. If venting must be installed in a garage door, the vent should be installed per the garage door manufacturer’s guidance, especially in high-wind regions.
What is a “voluntary standard?”
Joe: There seems to be a great deal of confusion with regard to the concept of a “voluntary standard.” That’s probably because we usually think of the word “voluntary” in terms of free choice. But in standards language, that’s not really how the word is understood.
“Mandatory standards” are, in effect, laws. Failure to follow mandatory standards can result in legal penalties and liability. These standards are generally produced by government agencies and are adopted out of concern for safety.
“Voluntary standards” are not compulsory, but they are only theoretically voluntary. In practice, voluntary standards are widely adopted for the sake of safety, uniformity, and interchangeability. Generally created by industrial associations, they establish a common language for manufacturers, installing dealers, and consumers.
Once voluntary standards have been developed, however, associations cannot require its members to conform to the standards. Others, even non-association members, must be free to follow or reject the association’s standards. While there are no legal penalties for non-compliance, government agencies may monitor industries for compliance in order to determine if future rulemaking is warranted.
Naomi Angel, DASMA legal counsel, offers this advice:
“A voluntary standard is voluntary from the manufacturer’s perspective. The manufacturer chooses whether it wishes to comply with the standard, and if so, which product will comply. That product should then be installed according to the manufacturer’s written installation instructions that have incorporated the voluntary standard’s criteria.”
She adds that DASMA always encourages installing dealers to follow the manufacturers’ installation instructions, and does not support installation-related deviations from any applicable industry standard. She further cautions that these matters should be taken up between manufacturers and individual installing dealers.