Overhead Doors are perhaps the largest and heaviest moving components of the home. There are many
things that can go wrong with them. When things do go wrong with them people can be killed or seriously injured. Home inspectors should be following the DASMA inspection protocols for testing these doors. “DASMA” stands for the “Door & Access Systems Manufacturers Association.” While this is quite a “handle,” it does accurately describe who they are and who they represent. These testing protocols are the “accepted” standard for testing garage overhead doors.
Listing agents should be educating their sellers that the doors are going to be subjected to these tests during the course of the Home Inspection. I recommend that sellers perform these tests themselves on the doors and if defects are found to have them repaired ahead of time. Failure of door and opener to respond properly to these tests can cause damage to the door and opener that was not present prior to testing.
THIS WOULD NOT BE THE “FAULT” OF THE INSPECTOR.
All parties involved in the sale of the home should be aware that these are recognized industry standard testing protocols that are designed to assess the proper operation of the door and opener. In other words, if there are problems with the door & opener, the inspector and the buyer want to know about it. Failure of the door opener to function properly, or that is possibly even damaged, just means that it is not functioning properly. For example failure of one of three reversing tests might result in the opener being ripped off the ceiling if it is not properly attached. Not a good thing to have happen even without a vehicle in the garage. Most inspectors won’t test these overhead doors if there are vehicles in the garage. During inspections automobiles should be moved out of the garage prior to the inspection so that the doors can be properly tested.
So while things can go wrong, inspectors also, as much as is possible, assess the door for signs of likely serious concerns prior to testing. These visual assessments are also part of the testing protocols.
Here are some pictures of the DASMA testing procedures—-frequent testing of your overhead doors is recommended. If you find these screens shots a little hard to read, they can be downloaded at DASMA.
Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector
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