Fire-Rated Code Proposal
One View on the Activities of the ICC’s
by Jeff Griffiths
In the fall of 2008, GANA’s Fire-Rated Glazing Council (FRGC) established
a task group to delve into the various issues arising from the implementation
of the existing fire-rated glazing labeling system (see August 2008 USGlass,
page 32, for more). The committee’s conclusions focused on three basic
issues: conflicting system interpretations, third-party listings versus
actual code compliance and the system’s practical purpose.
At the same time as the FRGC’s task group activity, the International
Code Council’s (ICC) Code Technical Committee (CTC) Labeling Study Group
began meeting in an effort to settle the debate over the marking standards
through ICC code change proposals. The CTC acknowledged that this issue
had been debated by the industry and within the standards writing organizations
without resolution. Therefore, the CTC Study Group defined its objective
as to identify root causes of problems encountered in the selection, specification,
installation and inspection of fire-protective and fire-resistive glazing
and other assembly components, including the frames. The CTC group decided
to explore specific label designations with respect to code-compliant
applications identified within the 2009 International Building Code.
ICC CTC Table 715.3 – Marking Fire-Rated
Fire Test Standard
Definition of Marking
Fire Test Standard
ASTM E119 or
Meets wall assembly criteria.
NFPA 257 or UL 9
Meets fire window assembly criteria including the
hose stream test.
NFPA 252 or UL 10B or UL 1
Meets fire door assembly criteria.
Meets fire door assembly “hose stream”
Meets 450º F temperature rise
criteria for 30 minutes.
The time in minutes of the fire resistance or fire protection rating
of the glazing assembly.
The End Result
The end result is a series of proposed code changes that, according to
the study group, are intended “to make the marking provisions of Chapter
7 easier to understand and enforce, and to minimize the possibility that
the system could result in confusion between fire protections-rated products
in applications where fire resistance-rated products meeting ASTM E 119
As a result of suggestions I and some other members of the GANA Labeling
Task Group made, a new Table 715.3 has been proposed. The table defines
and relates the various test standards for fire-rated glass to the designations
used to mark fire-rated glazing. A new definition of the term “fire-rated
glazing” also is included. The study group chose to delete all text used
to define and relate test standards to marking designations in favor of
including all of the required marking provisions in Tables 715.3, 715.4
and 715.5. This is intended to provide building and fire code officials
with easy access to all of the information needed when inspecting fire
door and window installations, including required marking designations.
If adopted, these changes will provide glaziers, architects, specifiers
and building officials with a single definitive source for confirming
the correct glazing for particular applications.
Undoubtedly, there will always be those that believe that understanding
the code requirements for fire-rated products is unnecessarily complicated.
However imperfect the codes may be, I believe the new IBC 2009 Chapter
7 tables will serve the public by marrying marking designations with code-compliant
applications. Whether or not these changes are readily adopted by your
local code authority, I feel you will be well served by keeping copies
of the new tables ready for quick reference.
Jeff Griffiths is the director of business development for SAFTI
FIRST/O’Keeffe’s Inc. Mr. Griffiths’ opinions are solely his own and not
necessarily those of this magazine.
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No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.