(N.F.I. Solid-Fuel, Gas & Pellet Certified Specialist)
A “Certified Specialist” is certified through the N.F.I., (National Fireplace Institute) and is focused on the planning and proper installation of residential hearth appliances and their venting systems. N.F.I. is the professional certification division of the HEARTH Education Foundation and provides tested education on the installation of gas-burning fireplaces, inserts, gas logs, wood-burning fireplaces and pellet stoves. The majority of their focus is on the familiarization of hearth products and increased awareness of their function and operation. NFI’s objective is to increase public safety while serving the public interest. This service includes meaningful credentials for professionals and the delivery of necessary education to ensure the proper installation and operation of their products. While they do cover masonry systems, their main focus is on factory-built appliances. The N.F.I. is the successor of the WHERF & HEARTH exam programs and was born out of the Hearth, Patio & Barbeque Association, which is the leading trade association in the Hearth Industry.
For more information contact N.F.I. at www.nficertified.org.
(F.I.R.E. Certified Inspector)
An “F.I.R.E. Certified Fireplace and Chimney Inspector” is certified through the F.I.R.E. Service (Fireplace Investigation, Research & Education Service) and is focused on the detailed inspection of all fireplaces, inserts, gas-burning appliances, chimneys, vent systems, stoves and other associated components. This training is based on the applicable building codes, manufacturer’s requirements, historical performance and the performance of individual products and materials. The F.I.R.E. Certification Program was born out the increasing necessity and demand for qualified inspectors. This program is fueled by information derived from the ongoing efforts of the fire investigation, home inspection and fireplace industries. F.I.R.E. Service supplies the required education and training to provide detailed and accurate inspections. This certification also assists the Home Inspectors, Fire Investigators, Contractors, Architects, Insurance Carriers and others by providing a qualified tool for their professional needs.
For more information contact F.I.R.E. Service at www.F-I-R-E-Service.com.
The first thing you need to understand is that the NFPA 211 standards are intended for the Fireplace, Chimney and Venting industry Only. These standards do not applied to you as home inspectors. However, everyone with the Fireplace & Chimney industry may be held accountable to chapter eleven within the 2000 edition & chapter fourteen within the 2003 edition of the NFPA 211 Standards. This professional responsibility exists whether the NFPA 211 was officially adopted within the local jurisdiction or not. For further clarification, chapter eleven, “Inspection of Existing Chimneys”, within the NFPA 211 standards, was first published in 2000. It was later moved to chapter fourteen in the 2003 edition. The inspection standards found within these chapters are recognized by the Fireplace, Chimney & Venting Industry as “The Industry Standards”. What this means is those in the fireplace, chimney and venting industry may be held accountable for their actions in a court of law, based directly on these standards. If the NFPA 211 has been adopted by your local jurisdiction, then the entire standard (all chapters) will be in effect for all contractors and inspectors working on these products, within that jurisdiction. If it has not been adopted, then currently, only chapter fourteen applies as “The Industry Standard”. However, please note that many of the recognized and adopted building codes, industry references and manufacturer’s specifications refer back to the NFPA 211 standard. Therefore, whether or not the NFPA 211 has been adopted within your area, there are a number of ways to arrive back at the 211 standards.
The inspection of the fireplaces and chimneys during the resale of property has been a very confusing issue. Some who might benefit would like you to believe that a fireplace and chimney inspection is required on “ALL” resale transactions. However the truth is simple…”IF” a fireplace and chimney inspection takes place, then it shall follow the NFPA 211 standards. There is no Federal or State Department enforcing fireplace & chimney inspections on any transaction of property. The choice still remains in the Consumers hands. However, these standards are written based on past disasters and injury. Please note that a change in burning habits can result in a fire loss or personal injury if the system does not meet or exceed the code and manufacturer’s requirements. This means that a change in operation or use, such as a property resale, is a time of higher risk. Also note that some manufacturers recommend more frequent inspections such as 2-3 times during the burning season by the Homeowner. This recommendation refers to a simple visual inspection for obvious damage, flue blockage or creosote development to assess the need for further inspection, sweep or professional services. This should not be confused with the Levels of inspection described within this article, which are written for professional inspection services and not homeowners.
Let’s review some of the text found within Chapter fourteen of the 2003 NFPA 211.
There are three levels of inspection, Level I, Level II & Level III. Please note that t he scope of the inspection, the areas of the chimney examined, and the degree of invasiveness of the inspection shall be appropriate for the conditions giving rise to the inspection. Another important note is that nothing shall prevent the examination of all or part of the fireplaces & chimney at a higher level than the minimum required by the standard.