On March 27, 2019, New Mexico SB 143 was signed by New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham. This legislation makes New Mexico the first state in the United States to ensure that fire and smoke dampers and smoke control systems are properly tested and inspected in accordance with National Fire Protection Association standards requiring FLS Inspections of Fire, Fire/Smoke, and Smoke Dampers and Smoke Containment Systems.
SB 143 mandates that these lifesaving requirements will now apply to all public buildings, storage facilities and multifamily dwellings. This legislative breakthrough has been lauded by both contractors and union representatives.
Thomas E. Martin, president of T.H. Martin, Inc. comments that, “FLS is starting to get some real traction around the country.” In recent years, numerous localities and cities such as Cleveland, Pittsburgh and most recently Philadelphia have passed similar legislation.
SMART Union General President Joseph Sellers, Jr. notes that “these new regulations will go a long way in ensuring the safety of New Mexico families.”
During an event such as a fire or other emergency that introduces pollutants into the air, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) ductwork can act as a “freeway” by circulating smoke and toxins throughout a structure, even to rooms far away from the flashpoint. The successful operations of fire life safety building systems could mean the difference between a nuisance fire and an out of control catastrophe.
However, smoke and fire dampers experience a failure rate of up to 60%. Most of them could be found, repaired and prevented by a proper hands-on inspection performed by ICB/TABB certified ANSI-accredited professionals.
SB 143 requires the inspections to have Fire Marshall oversight and the competency of 3rd party inspectors as a basis to have an ANSI Accredited FLS program certification. Currently the ICB FLS-1 and FLS-2 is the only certification meeting this requirement and should increase the number of men working and open another revenue opportunity for SMACNA Contractors.
New Mexico SB 143 can be viewed in its entirety here.