Requirements for Existing Building Smoke Control Retesting

Do you remember the last time you tested your building’s smoke control system?

Since the 1980’s, 780 CMR, The Massachusetts State Building Code, has required existing smoke control systems to be tested on a periodic basis to ensure continued functionality and performance. As a means of enforcement, when work is occurring within an existing building containing a smoke control system, the Boston Fire Department’s Certificate of Occupancy Division is now requiring evidence that these systems are being maintained and tested when requesting occupancy. Certificate of occupancies may be held up if proof of inspection and testing by a certified inspector cannot be provided. Having this documentation readily available is critical to ensure that the Certificate of Occupancy for your next TI project is not delayed.

What are the applicable codes where this is required?

527 CMR, the Massachusetts Comprehensive Fire Safety Code, requires that all smoke control systems be maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and the building code to ensure that the system can control smoke for the required duration.

Further, a written record of testing and maintenance is required to be retained on the building’s premises.

As is required for all new systems, we recommend creating an inspection and maintenance plan that will serve as a guide to maintaining the building’s smoke control system. This document can be used to create a consistent testing methodology from year to year allowing for streamlined, cost effective testing.

How often is this required?

Dedicated smoke control systems are required to be tested semi-annually. Non-dedicated smoke control systems (shared with building’s normal HVAC) are required to be tested annually.

Who is Required to Test?

NPFA 92 requires testing to be performed by persons who are thoroughly knowledgeable in the operation, testing, and maintenance of the systems. New systems are required to be tested by a 3rd Party Special Inspector. Retesting should be performed by similarly competent entities. Smoke control system design has fundamentally changed in the codes over the past 30 years and finding individuals who are experienced with the specific types of smoke control systems in your building is critical to ensuring the appropriate testing is completed.

Contact Code Red Consultants at info@crcfire.com to assist with retesting your building’s smoke control system.