Smoke Control Special Inspection FAQ

  1. When is a Special Inspector required?
    • New smoke control systems designed to comply with IBC Section 909 are required to be tested by a Special Inspector (IBC Section 909.18.8.1).
    • Existing smoke control systems where the original design has been altered or where new smoke control equipment is installed may also require a smoke control Special Inspector as determined by the local AHJ.
    • Smoke control systems subject to the requirements of IBC Section 909 include any of the following active or passive systems:
      • Atrium smoke exhaust systems
      • Stairwell pressurization
      • Smokeproof enclosures (ventilated vestibules)
      • Elevator pressurization
      • Zone smoke control systems
      • Underground buildings
      • Use Group I-3 windowless buildings
  2. Who can serve as a Special Inspector?
    The Special Inspector is required to have expertise in fire protection engineering, mechanical engineering and certification as air balancers (IBC Section 909.18.8.2). It is not uncommon for the Special Inspector to consist of a team of individuals capable of satisfying the requirements for engineering expertise and air balancer certification.
  3. When should the smoke control Special Inspector get involved?
    It is recommended that the smoke control Special Inspector get involved during the design process. The Special Inspector can provide a review of the design with an eye towards properly integrating the many building components that make up a smoke control design.
  4. When is special inspection testing required to be performed?
    • Duct leakage testing is required to be performed prior to the concealment of ductwork (IBC Section 909.18.1(1))
    • Prior to occupancy and after sufficient completion, testing of pressure differentials, flow measurements, and detection and control verification is required (IBC Section 909.18.8.1(2))
  5. What documentation is required to be prepared by the Special Inspector?
    • The Special Inspector is required to prepare a complete testing report that is reviewed, signed and sealed by a registered design professional. A copy of the final report is required to be filed with the fire code official and a copy is required to be maintained in an approved location within the building (IBC Section 909.18.8.3.1).The report is required to include the following:
      • Identification of all devices by manufacturer
      • Nameplate data
      • Design Values
      • Measured Values