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Information for Building and Code Officials
What is NFI?


The National Fireplace Institute® (NFI) is the professional certification division of the HPB Education Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization for the hearth industry. NFI’s objective is to increase public safety by establishing meaningful credentials for professionals involved in planning and installing residential hearth appliance and venting systems. NFI, established in 2002, certifies planners and installers in three hearth product categories based upon fuel type:
* NFI Gas Specialist
* NFI Woodburning Specialist
* NFI Pellet Specialist.

NFI also recognizes individuals who have successfully gained all three NFI Certifications as Master Hearth Professionals. These individuals have reached the highest level of certification in the hearth industry.

Why is there a need for fireplace/hearth installer credentials?
In two words: public safety. Hearth products, because they involve flame, heat and venting of combustion products, require specialized knowledge for planning and installing. The NFI exams are the only exams that test the knowledge needed to properly plan and install hearth products and their venting systems.

Where is NFI recognized?
NFI Certification is already recognized as the basis for a specialty license to install hearth products in a number of state, county and municipal jurisdictions, including the State of Rhode Island, Newcastle County, DE, the City of Lawrence, KS, the City of Lincoln, NE, the city of Salina, KS, and Pitkin County, CO.

What does NFI certification mean?

NFI Certification identifies those individuals who have passed an exam based on the knowledge needed to properly plan and install hearth products and their venting systems. Certification is regarded as an excellent indication of professional training and commitment.

What are the benefits of being NFI Certified?
Building officials prefer to work with certified contractors who have demonstrated their commitment to professional excellence. Manufacturers prefer qualified installers because they know their products are more likely to be installed correctly. Consumers feel more confident hiring certified specialists because of their experience and knowledge. NFI provides certified specialists with tools to identify and promote themselves, such as wallet ID cards, patches, and decals. NFI Certified Specialists are also listed here.

How does a hearth professional become NFI certified?
To become certified, a person must pass the multiple choice NFI certification exam(s). A person may become certified in one, two or all three of the specialties by passing the appropriate exams. NFI exams are offered at over 600 locations nationwide allowing the busy professional the convenience of testing close to home. NFI review courses and exams are also sponsored by a number of industry organizations and hearth products manufacturers.

How were NFI exams developed?
NFI contracted with the Personnel Decisions Research Institutes (PDRI), a nationally recognized testing consultant agency, to direct the process for developing the certification exams. PDRI followed nationally recognized guidelines in the development of the NFI exams.

What are the NFI exams based on?
The exams are based on a job analysis, a formal process that identifies the important knowledges needed to perform the tasks involved in planning and installing hearth products. Job analysis requires an industry-wide survey and input from multiple subject matter experts.
What types of knowledges are required for hearth products installations?
The knowledges include:
Fundamental Knowledges
* Combustion
* Heat/heat protection
* Safety guidelines/consequences of action
* Construction fundamentalsInstallation Knowledges
* Regulations and instructions
* Fuel delivery
* Appliance requirements
* Draft and ventilation principles
* Venting requirements
* Post installation inspection and service

How does one maintain certification?
During the three year validation period, the certified specialist may participate in the NFI Continuing Education Program for Certification Renewal by attending training programs accredited with NFI CEUs (Continuing Education Units). If the specialist does not wish to participate in the continuing education program, he may take the new exam just prior to the expiration of his certification(s).