The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has specific requirements for the “construction, installation and maintenance of waste and recyclables storage rooms, containers, handling systems, incinerators, compactors and linen and laundry handling systems.” For community management, this means that trash rooms and trash chutes have to meet those requirements. One requirement is having chutes inspected and certified each year for fire safety compliance.
According to the NFPA, apartment complexes with trash chutes need
- Chute discharge doors that automatically shut off when triggered by heat
- Self-closing and self-latching chute doors
- A sprinkler system in the chute rooms on every floor
- An air ventilation system that allows gas and heat to be released outside the building
You’ll definitely want each of these items in good, working order when your fire inspection is due, and even before that. Trash chute maintenance is generally recommended twice per year to avoid bacterial and grease buildup, disrepair and other fire hazards. There are a few options to help you be pro-active in passing the fire inspection.
Have your team do a pre-inspection and repair of broken parts.
If your maintenance team is knowledgeable about NFPA 82 guidelines, they may be able to assess your trash chute parts and fix what is broken. With this option, you won’t have to outsource help. However, if your team is not familiar with chute maintenance and has their hands full with other on-site projects this might not be an effective solution.
Hire an independent contractor.
Another option is to hire an outside, independent contractor. You could go with a technician found by referral or one you stumbled upon online. Websites like Thumbtack allow you to locate contractors near you for specific projects like these. Whichever source you choose, this option requires finding the right person (someone with chute repair expertise) for the job at the right price, taking valuable time and energy.
Hire a trained technician from a team of experts.
Some companies, like Strategic, offer chute inspection and repair services to prepare you for fire safety compliance. In fact, the trash vendor your already use may provide this service. This option is convenient, can save you time and give you peace of mind that a trained professional will be working on the issue.
Whichever solution you use, we want you to be prepared for fire safety certification each year.