The New DASMA 103

© 1999 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Winter 1999
Author: Tom Wadsworth
Page 8

The New DASMA 103
New Requirements for Spring Systems: What They Mean to You

An Interview with Joe Hetzel, DASMA Technical Director

After two years of work, DASMA’s Commercial & Residential Garage Door Division recently obtained industry approval on DASMA 103, a voluntary document entitled “Standard for Counterbalance Systems on Residential Sectional Garage Doors.” To find out what this means to door dealers, we talked with Joe Hetzel, DASMA technical director.

Hasn’t DASMA 103 actually been around for a while?
Joe: DASMA 103 was updated from NAGDM 103, which was developed in the 1970s by the National Association of Garage Door Manufacturers, the predecessor to DASMA. It was originally a voluntary standard that specified how to test extension springs.

So what’s new in DASMA 103?
Joe: The new document includes minor revisions to the content of NAGDM 103, but the big change is that it now addresses torsion springs, counterweights, and future counterbalance systems.

Why should a garage door dealer care about DASMA 103?
For two reasons. First, the standard states that all components that are under tension require special treatment. Installers work with these components every day. Second, dealers who comply with the new standard may have greater protection against lawsuits.

What components are we talking about?
Joe: We’re talking about counterbalance components that are under tension, such as corner brackets, torsion spring brackets, pulleys, and winding cones.

What kind of special treatment is required for these counterbalance components?
Joe: Manufacturers must provide these components in one of three ways. The first way is to install them so that they cannot be removed before tension is released from the door system. The second way is to provide fasteners that require special knowledge, skill, or tool to be removed. If not provided in one of these two ways, these components must be red in color, and they must be provided with warning labels.

So, will dealers begin to see red components in their hardware cartons?
 If the manufacturer has chosen the third option, yes. The red components would be the ones that are under tension and that can be removed.

Does the dealer apply the warning label?
Joe: Dealers would apply the labels according to the manufacturer's instructions. The labels essentially will warn the owner not to remove the red components.

Who contributed to development of the standard?
 While developing the standard, we consulted with the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). Thanks to input from the CPSC, DASMA legal counsel, and our DASMA manufacturer members, we believe that compliance with the standard will increase safety for everyone … the door owner, the dealer, and the manufacturer.

Do manufacturers have to comply with the new standard?
Joe: DASMA 103 is a voluntary standard. Manufacturers are not required by law to follow it. However, because of the methodical process utilized by the industry to develop DASMA 103, I believe most manufacturers will comply with this standard.

How will compliance help to protect the dealer from a lawsuit?
Joe: In two ways. First, compliance with the standard should reduce the chance of injury. That’s good for everyone. Second, if someone disregards the warning label and is injured while removing or tampering with a red component, there is less chance that the manufacturer or dealer will be blamed.