Recent NFPA 80 updates clarify fire rated applications

Code confusion has led to misapplications of fire rated glass and framing, which can have dangerous and/or expensive results. Two recent NFPA 80 revisions help clarify the confusion. SPONSORED CONTENT
April 25, 2014 |
Bill O'Keeffe

The construction industry refers to the IBC model building codes and NFPA 80 and 101 guidelines for the correct and code-approved applications of fire-rated assemblies.

Unfortunately, code confusion has led to misapplications of fire rated glass and framing, which can have dangerous and/or expensive results.  

Two recent NFPA 80 revisions that passed the first ballot in the current code cycle help clarify the confusion.

The first adds a fire rated glazing marking system to distinguish between fire protective vs. fire resistive glazing. The second adds an annex note to clarify situations where fire-resistive framing must be used.

 

NFPA 80 Update #1: Fire Rated Glass Labeling System 



 

This addition is consistent with the marking systems previously adopted into both the IBC and NFPA 101. Under this table:

  • Fire resistive glazing products that meet the fire wall test standard (ASTM E-119) and limit radiant heat and temperature rise are marked “W.”  
  • Fire protective products that meet the fire window test (NFPA 257) standard with hose stream but do not block radiant heat are marked “OH.”
  • Fire protective glazing products that meet the door test standard (NFPA 252) are marked “D.” Products are marked “H” where they have been tested with a hose stream. An additional marking of “T” is available to designate that the product also meets temperature rise limits of at least 450 F degrees, measured at 30-minutes.

Practically speaking, fire resistive products marked “W” that pass the more restrictive 250 F degree temperature rise limit of the wall test will also meet the “T” marking criteria. It is important to know that fire protective products such as ceramics, wired glass and specialty tempered, however, do not limit temperature rise or restrict radiant heat, and should never be marked “T”.  

 

NFPA 80 Update #2: Annex Note 6.3.3.3 and 6.3.3.4

Although the marking system and extensive IBC and NFPA 101 tables help design professionals choose the right fire protective vs fire resistive products for a given application, the same cannot be said for choosing the correct frame. This is where the proposed NFPA 80 annex note to Sections 6.3.3.3 and 6.3.3.4 helps. Simply put, where codes require fire resistive glazing, the entire framing assembly must meet the same fire resistive requirement.

Combining non-fire resistive framing products, such as standard hollow metal framing, with fire-resistive glazing downgrades the entire assembly, resulting in an insufficiently safe assembly and a failure to meet the true intent of the building code. Examples abound where the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) has ordered the removal of these non-compliant assemblies, which if you can imagine, causes several problems for the architect, contractor and the building owner.  

 

What’s a designer to do?

The first thing that design professionals must realize is that listing information does not equal code compliance. All fire rated glazing and framing products are required to be tested, listed and labeled by one of the nationally recognized test agencies. But remember, listing information is simply test information. It states that the products have been tested in certain sizes and certain frame applications, not that they are accepted for those sizes and end uses under a particular code.  

For example, ceramics and wired glass have been tested in door vision panel sizes that exceed IBC 2012 code limits. There are also listings of ceramics and wired glass tested in hollow metal frames listed for 60-and 90-minute sidelite applications, which neither the IBC nor NFPA 101 permit.

In our industry, we routinely encounter several quote requests where the wrong glass, the wrong frame, or both, is specified for the application. As a company, we make efforts to point out the code requirements and provide alternative quotes for the right product and frame, it is an uphill battle.  

For this reason, it is best to educate yourself on the code requirements and then seek out the expertise of a single-source fire-rated glass and framing manufacturer to help you choose the correct and code-approved products for every application.  

Editor's note: This is sponsored content. The text and images were provided by the sponsor company.

Bill O'Keeffe | Clear on Technical Glass
SAFTI FIRST Fire Rated Glazing Solutions

About the Author: Bill O’Keeffe is the President and CEO of SAFTI FIRST Fire Rated Glazing Solutions, a leading USA-manufacturer of advanced fire rated glass and framing systems.  An industry veteran and innovator with over 45 years of experience in architectural glazing, he was first to introduce and manufacture clear, fire resistive glazing products in the US.  He is also a safety advocate who exposed the dangers of traditional wired glass, which lead to code changes and fire rated glass products that are safe, affordable and clear alternatives to traditional wired glass.  Today, Bill continues to develop building products that enable architects to create beautiful, safe and energy-efficient spaces with advanced glazing systems.

Related Blogs

Project: Bucks County Community College in Newtown, PA; Architect: Schrader Group Architecture

Project: Bucks County Community College in Newtown, PA; Architect: Schrader Group Architecture

April 24, 2015 | Building Team | Clear on Technical Glass

There is no bigger annual gathering of architects and design professionals in North America quite like the...

Radiant Heat: The Invisible Killer

Since the 45 minute openings in this 1-hour exit corridor extend to all the way to the floor, the architects specified SuperLite II-XL 45, a fire resistive tempered product with hose stream that meets ASTM E-119.  SuperLite II-XL 45 effectively blocks smoke, flames and dangerous radiant heat to enable safe egress through the corridor. Photo courtesy of SaftiFirst.

April 01, 2015 | Fire and Life Safety | Clear on Technical Glass

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Where there’s fire, there’s the deadly threat of radiant heat.

State of the fire rated glazing industry

The value that today’s technologically advanced fire rated glazing is derived from the radiant heat protection it provides while adding aesthetic appeal and increased visibility within the surrounding building environment. Photo: SAFTI FIRST

February 12, 2015 | Fire-Rated Products | Clear on Technical Glass

Many years have passed since my days as the “Wired Warrior,” writes SAFTI FIRST's Bill O'Keeffe. Every year...

The designers were able to exceed 100 square inches in the door vision area in these 90-minute doors by using SuperLite II-XL 90, a fire resistive glass product that meets ASTM E-119/UL 263. The designers also specified SuperLite II-XL 120 in GPX Framing for the sidelites and transoms in this 2-hour stairwell application. The entire assembly meets ASTM E-119/UL 263. Project: CUNY School of Law in Long Island City, NY. Architect: KPF. Glazier: RG Creations. Photo: SAFTI FIRST

January 16, 2015 | Clear on Technical Glass

Much attention has been given to active fire protection systems, such as fire sprinklers, that are designed...

1-hour fire resistive wall with SuperLite II-XL 60 in GPX Framing. Architect: GSBS. Glazier: LCG Facades

December 11, 2014 | Clear on Technical Glass

One of the most exciting new buildings to open its doors this year is the Salt Lake City Public Safety Buil...

One of the many fire resistive and blast-rated exterior wall openings by SAFTI FIRST at the VA Primary Care Annex in Tampa, Fla. Photo: SAFTI FIRST

November 19, 2014 | Clear on Technical Glass

Security, safety and transparency don’t have to be mutually exclusive thanks to new glazing technology desi...

SuperLite III-XL in a butt-glazed assembly

October 19, 2014 | Clear on Technical Glass

Innovation is the engine of business success. Whether it’s the development of a brand-new product, a more e...

SuperLite II-XL 60 with Decorative Art Glass in Stainless Steel GPX Framing work together to make this 1-hour stairwell visually appealing and inviting. Architect: RRTL. Glazier: InterClad. Project: St. Cloud University ISELF Building in St. Cloud, Minn.

August 25, 2014 | Clear on Technical Glass

Within the architectural community, a movement called "active design" seeks to convert barren and unappeali...

Plaquemines Parish (La.) Detention Center, designed by L.R. Kimball. Glazier: Glass, Inc.; products used: SuperSecure II-XLS in SAFTIfire GPX Framing. Photo: courtesy SAFTI FIRST

July 24, 2014 | Clear on Technical Glass

Like it or not, the number of incarcerated people in the U.S. continues to rise. With that, increased secur...

Project: Las Olas Beach Club in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Architect: The Sieger Suarez Architectural Partnership. Products: 2-hour SAFTIfire Hurricane Wall System and 90 min. SAFTIfire Hurricane Door System

June 26, 2014 | Clear on Technical Glass

SPONSORED CONTENT As hurricane season kicks into high gear, it reinforces the importance of balancing the a...

 

Add new comment

Your Information
Your Comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Refresh Type the characters you see in this picture. Type the characters you see in the picture; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.  Switch to audio verification.
Overlay Init