NFPA Proposals Could Impact Fire-Rated Glazing

NFPA 80 is currently undergoing public comment. The standard regulates the installation and maintenance of assemblies and devices used to protect openings in walls, floors, and ceilings against the spread of fire and smoke within, into, or out of buildings. As part of the technical meeting held earlier this year, Thom Zaremba, code consultant for the Glass Association of North America/Glazing Industry Code Committee (GANA/GICC), says there were several preliminary decisions made concerning fire-rated glazings.

As part of the NFPA 80 technical committee, GANA/GICC brought forward a proposal to incorporate the tables of marking fire-rated glazing from NFPA 101, the life safety code, into NFPA 80. According to Zaremba, NFPA 80 governs installation and maintenance of fire-rated doors and windows under both NFPA 101 and the International Building Code (IBC); it is also the standard that the building code officials use when inspecting fire doors and windows in the field. The GANA/GICC proposal was approved by unanimous vote at the technical committee meeting and has since been confirmed by written ballot, says Zaremba.

Likewise, as part of the current public comment period for revisions to NFPA 80, GANA/GICC is proposing a modification to the NFPA 101 table preliminarily adopted by the NFPA 80 technical committee. According to Zaremba, the proposed modification will add the fire-rated glazing marking provisions from the exterior wall sections of the IBC tables to those preliminarily incorporated from NFPA 101 into NFPA 80.  Zaremba says in that regard, NFPA 101 is a “life safety code” whereas the IBC addresses both property protection and life safety.

“The fire-rated requirements applicable to exterior walls in the IBC are intended to protect adjacent property and are not considered life safety requirements. Therefore, they are not included in the NFPA 101 tables,” he explains.

The public comment period as to these issues closes (for electronic submissions) on May 16, 2014. The final date for a technical committee second draft meeting is October 31, 2014; a date has not yet been set for a second draft technical committee meeting.

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