How to Work with Building Officials

© 2000 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Winter 2000
Author: Tom Wadsworth
Page 36

How to Work with Building Officials

Joe Hetzel, DASMA technical director, has had frequent contact with building officials about garage door issues. Even though building codes and enforcement may vary throughout the U.S., some concepts are true in most situations. In this article, Joe shares some of these concepts.

D&AS: What type of general garage door information seems to be most frequently requested by building officials?

Joe: Wind load compliance continues to be the primary concern. Occasionally, we get feedback from the field concerning inquiries about steel gauge, corrosion resistance, glazing, fire resistance, and R-value. The proposed DASMA labeling program has the potential to be a great benefit to building officials in presenting relevant product performance values.

D&AS: What type of details on garage door drawings do building department authorities require?

Joe: Drawings should show sufficient detail for inspection purposes. For example, if wind load compliance is required, information on door reinforcement, section materials, metal thicknesses, and jamb fasteners would be necessary. A suggested format is to provide elevations views and design pressures on the first page, with succeeding pages showing track/jamb/hinge details, door section view, track layout, and product-specific notations.

D&AS: How have building departments handled permits for different jobs that use the same garage door specifications?

Joe: A number of communities have created what is known as a “master file” program. First, a door manufacturer supplies a dealer with three “master sets” of signed and sealed door drawings. These drawings are prepared, signed, and stamped with a raised seal by a state-registered Professional Engineer.
Then, the dealer takes these drawings to the building department for review. If the drawings are approved, the building department stamps the drawings with a “code compliance stamp.” One stamped set is retained in a “master file” for future reference, while the other two are returned to the dealer. Then, for specific jobs, the dealer need only supply a copy of the approved drawing at the job site for final inspection.

D&AS: Are building departments regulating retrofit installations as well as new installations?

Joe: It’s best to know if the local codes address retrofit installations. Criteria for retrofitting may vary from one area to the next.

D&AS: How does DASMA work with local building departments?

Joe: First, we try to answer their specific questions. If necessary, we will call a meeting between industry representatives and building department personnel to resolve any issues. We are also glad to conduct an educational or interactive seminar tailored to their needs.

D&AS: What do you suggest to a local dealer who needs help for code enforcement situations?

Joe: They should first contact their door supplier for assistance. If the door supplier is a member of DASMA, they may enlist our assistance if the situation appears to be an industry concern versus an individual-company concern. Local building authorities generally welcome DASMA involvement. We can also assist a dealer if they need industry information.