NFPA 80, 2016 is Available! (Part 2A)

09/01/2015 8:31 AM | Keith Pardoe (Administrator)

[This article was originally posted by Keith E. Pardoe on September 1, 2015 on, PardoeConsultingLLC.com.]

This article is the second in a series of articles dedicated to the changes in the new NFPA 80. You may read these articles in any order, but the first article includes some helpful tips for accessing NFPA 80 online. Tips for highlighting your copy of NFPA 80 are also in the first article.

As we go through the following changes, remember the provisions and requirements of Chapter 4 General Requirements apply to many of the fire door assemblies covered in NFPA 80. Users need to refer to both Chapter 4 and the applicable chapter for each particular fire door assembly.

Changes in Chapter 4 General Requirements include new:

  1. Provisions for job site preparations
  2. Information printed on labels
  3. Marking requirements for glazing in fire doors and door frames
  4. Provisions for oversized fire doors
  5. Provisions for detectors and fusible links
  6. Provisions for listed products installed at or under door bottoms

Additionally, several other changes occur in this chapter.

Provisions for Job Site Preparations

Changes in Section 4.1.3 Appurtenances include reordering its existing content and adding new requirements. The term appurtenance refers to many items (e.g., door hardware) that attach to fire door assemblies. Factories prepare doors and door frames for hardware items that require mortised cutouts and reinforcements. This type of work is made according to “…the manufacturer’s inspection service procedure and under label service” (see 4.1.3.1). In other words, only the factories or their authorized (licensed) distributors prepare doors and door frames for hardware in their shops. Authorized distributors subscribe to periodic inspection services from a nationally recognized testing lab (e.g., Underwriters Laboratories and Intertek/Warnock Hersey). During installation, installers in the field drill holes in the doors and frames for surface-mounted hardware. Section 4.1.3 lists the preparations made by the factories and the installers. Since NFPA 80 limits work in the field to drilling round holes during installation (see 4.1.3.2.1), all other work is done by the factories or authorized distributors.

No changes occur in paragraph 4.1.3.1. Work that is expressly allowed by installers is in paragraph 4.1.3.2*, which is now in list format for improved readability; there were no technical changes.

“4.1.3.2* The following job site preparations shall be permitted:

  1.  Holes for surface-applied hardware, function holes for mortise locks, and holes for labeled viewers
  2.  A maximum ¾ in. (19 mm) wood and composite door undercutting
  3.  Installation of protection plates (see 6.4.5)”

Follow the asterisk to paragraph A.4.1.3.2 in Annex A, which is new; it explains undercutting of wood and composite doors. The term undercutting refers to the practice of removing a portion of the door leaf, across its width and parallel to the bottom edge, to reduce its height. Undercutting doors increases the clearance dimension between the bottom of the door and finished floor. NFPA 80 limits the maximum clearance under a door to ¾ in. (see 4.8.4.2). When the clearance under the door leaf is already ¾ in., undercutting the door is not allowed. Sometimes clearance under the door is less than ¾ in. and undercutting of the door might be necessary for it to swing easily. Taking too much material off the bottom of the door structurally weakens it and might cause it to fail in a fire. When considering undercutting wood and composite doors, verify with the door manufacturer first since undercutting some doors is not allowed. Otherwise, installers might unknowingly ruin the doors.

Note: While not expressly prohibited by NFPA 80, trimming wood and composite doors in width (e.g., planing the vertical edges) is not allowed. Nor, is trimming the top edge of wood and composite doors. 4.1.3.2(2) only allows undercutting of wood and composite doors.

Paragraph 4.1.3.2.2 now includes the phrase; “…unless otherwise permitted by 4.1.3.2.3.” New paragraph 4.1.3.2.3 recognizes that some door hardware items require round holes that are greater than 1 in. (25.4 mm) in diameter. Drilling of larger holes is allowed, as long as both the listing of the door and hardware item allow it.

New paragraphs 4.1.3.2.4 and 4.1.3.2.5 include provisions for drilling raceways in doors. A raceway is a long hole that is bored through the width of the door. Adding electrified locking functions to existing fire-rated doors is common, which requires a raceway in the doors. In fact, several years ago, Intertek developed training and certification for individuals doing this kind of work, it’s called the Perfect Raceway Program. Installers attach their drilling equipment to the hinge edge of the door and bore a hole through to the lockset cutout in the lock edge. Next, installers pass a cable consisting of stranded copper conductors (color coded). They drill another hole in the hinge reinforcement in the door frame. Through-wire hinges conceal the wiring that is passing from the wall to the door. Once completed, installers attach a supplemental label on the door.

Factories install raceways in new doors. Authorized (licensed) distributors might also install raceways in new doors. Intertek’s certified Perfect Raceway Installers install raceways in existing fire-rated doors and have been for some time. New paragraphs 4.1.3.2.4 and 4.1.3.2.5 recognize this practice in the industry and contain provisions for installing raceways in doors as part of the installation process. Let’s take a look at these new provisions:

“4.1.3.2.4 Drilling raceways for wires when performed at the job site shall be in accordance with the door manufacturer’s listing and when permitted by the laboratory with which the door is listed.

4.1.3.2.5 Where the door manufacturer’s listing does not contain provisions for drilling raceways, the raceways shall be considered field modifications in accordance with 5.1.5.1.”

Before drilling raceways in existing doors, verify the listing of the doors includes raceways. (Remember, the term listing refers to how one of the national testing laboratories recognizes that manufacturer’s products—the testing lab publishes a listing for those products.) Current manufacturers’ websites contain technical information, which might include their listings. When the listing of the door includes raceways, verify the testing laboratory whose name is shown on the label of the door permits this work.

Older doors and doors from obsolete manufacturers might not have been tested or listed with raceways. Paragraph 4.1.3.2.5 states installing raceways in these doors is a field modification and is subject to paragraph 5.1.5.1 under Field Modifications.

Information Printed on Labels

Section 4.2 Listed or Labeled Products contains a great deal of new content. Labels on fire-rated door assemblies are extremely important, especially after installation. Inspectors, building supervisors, and maintenance personnel need know which doors are fire-rated. These labels tells us who made the doors, who tested the doors, and the level of fire-protection rating of the door. Depending on the type of fire door, the label might contain more information such as latch throw, fire exit hardware, degree of temperature rise, and smoke door (the so-called S-label) compliance.

Uniform fire door labels do not exist. Each testing laboratory issues its version of fire door labels, and they allow certain factories to print their own versions of the labels. Labels might be printed on thin metal plates or Mylar-type materials. Some labels contain very little information, making them specific to only a few fire doors. Other labels contain too much information, to the point where it is difficult for people in the field to assess the door correctly. Labels come in several colors (e.g., black, red, green, blue, and plain metallic). Examples of some fire door and door frame labels are shown below. To see more types of fire door labels, use your favorite Internet search engine and click on “view images.”

Previous editions of NFPA 80 didn’t specify what information needed to be printed on the fire door labels. The newly expanded Section 4.2 specifies the minimum information that is needed on fire door labels. It’s excerpted here for your convenience:

“4.2.1.1 At a minimum, the label for fire doors shall contain the following information:

  1. The words “fire door.”
  2. The manufacturer’s name or a code that can be traced back to the manufacturer.
  3. The marking of a third-party certification agency.
  4. The fire protection rating of the door.
  5. A unique serial number, if provided by the listing agency.
  6. The fire test standard designation to which the assembly was tested.
  7. *The temperature transmission rise at 30 minutes. If the temperature transmission rise of a fire door exceeds 650°F (361°C), the temperature rise shall be permitted to be omitted.”

Note: Follow the asterisk on item (7) to paragraph A.4.2.1.1(7) in Annex A.

“4.2.1.2 For Swinging doors provided with builders hardware, the minimum latch throw shall also be shown. (See 4.3.3.)”

Fire door labels on swinging doors list the minimum latch throw (sometimes called projection) for single doors and pairs of doors (see Fig. 1). In most cases, single doors require ½ in. latch throw and pairs of doors require ⅝ in. or ¾ in. latch throw. Latch bolt throw is important because it ensures latching hardware engages the strike plates sufficiently, such that the doors will remain closed in a fire. Where the operational clearance dimensions between the doors and door frames or between meeting stiles of pairs of doors are greater than that allowed by NFPA, latch bolt engagement in the strike plates in reduced. For example, wood fire doors are allowed up to ⅛ in. clearance between the door and door frame. Latch bolts with ½ in. throw (projection) project about ⅜ in. into the strike plate and will securely hold the doors closed in a fire. When the clearance between the door and frame is greater, the projection of the latch bolts into the strike plates is reduced. These doors are likely to fail in a fire.

Another item that is listed on some fire door labels is fire exit hardware. When fire exit hardware devices are used, the fire door label needs to state “Fire Door to be Equipped with Fire Exit Hardware”—which is stated in 4.3.3. Some hollow metal door companies print their fire door labels with the minimum latch throw dimensions and include the statement “Fire Door to be Equipped with Fire Exit Hardware” (see Fig. 2).

“4.2.1.3 Where applicable, a statement that no hose stream test was conducted shall be provided.”

In the case of 20-minute (1/3-hour) rated fire doors, many of these doors are not required to pass the hose stream test after passing the furnace test. NFPA 80’s labeling requirements require the fire door labels attached to these doors to include a statement that the doors were not subjected to the hose stream test (see Fig. 3).



Starting with paragraph 4.2.1.4, NFPA 80 lists the information needed for labels attached to fire door frames. Unlike the labels for fire doors, the labels for door frames do not include hardware requirements like latch throw and fire exit hardware. Nor, are they rated for temperature transmission rise.

“4.2.1.4 The label for fire door frames shall contain the following information:

  1. The words “fire door frame.”
  2. The manufacturer’s company name or a code that can be traced back to the manufacturer.
  3. The marking of a third-party certification agency.
  4. The fire protection rating of the frame.
  5. The fire test standard designation to which it was tested.

4.2.1.4.1 Fire door frames rated at 3 hours when installed with masonry anchors in masonry walls or rated at 1 ½ hours when provided with wood stud or steel stud anchors and installed in gypsum board walls shall not be required to be provided with a fire protection rating.

4.2.1.4.2 In lieu of 4.2.1.4.1, fire door frames shall be marked with the label or embossment of the third-party certification agency and the manufacturer’s name or a code that can be traced back to the manufacturer.

4.2.1.4.3 Where applicable, a statement that no hose stream test was conducted shall be provided.”

NFPA 80’s requirements for fire door frame labels follows the long-standing industry practice. Embossed labels are stamped into most fire-rated hollow metal door frames; some have metal labels. Aluminum, pressed steel, and wood fire door frames have metal or Mylar-like labels.

Frame labels for side light and transom light door frames might include the hourly rating of the frame, which matches the fire-protection rating of the door leaves (see Fig. 4). Most fire-rated side light and transom door frames are rated for 45-minutes (¾-hour) or less (see Fig. 5). Fire resistance-rated side light or transom light door frames are used where the fire ratings greater than 45-minutes are needed. These types of side light and transom light door frames are tested to ASTM E119 or UL 263 standards, rather than NFPA 252, UL 10B, or UL 10C and require fire resistance-rated glazing materials. In these cases, the labels state the fire resistance rating, not the fire protection rating of the door frame.

Frame labels for side panel and transom panel door frames might include the hourly rating of the frame. Depending on the application, side panel and transom panel door frames are fire protection-rated for up to 3 hours.

Paragraph 4.2.1.5 covers the minimum information that needs to be printed on fire window labels. Hollow metal fire windows (a.k.a. borrowed lights) are common. Fire windows formed by other materials such as aluminum, fiberglass, pressed-steel, steel, and wood composite materials are also used. (Fire windows are covered in NFPA 80, Chapter 17 Fire Windows.)

“4.2.1.5 At a minimum, the label for fire window frames shall contain the following information:

  1. The words “fire window frame”
  2. The manufacturer’s company name or a code that can be traced back to the manufacturer
  3. The marking of a third-party certification agency
  4. The fire protection rating
  5. The fire test standard designation to which it was tested”

Oversized fire doors cannot bear the standard fire door labels because they are too large to be tested. NFPA 80 and the model building codes allow the use of oversized fire doors, as long as they are labeled (or a certification of construction is on file), with the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) approval. Since the doors are too large to be tested, factories build the doors using the same materials, processes, and techniques as their fire-tested products. Engineering evaluation by third-party certification agencies (e.g., UL, Intertek/Warnock Hersey, and FM) determines the oversized fire doors meet the construction and quality of the standard products.

Labels on oversized fire door assemblies need to comply with paragraph 4.2.1.6, it states:

“The label for oversized doors shall contain the following information:

  1. The words “oversized fire door”
  2. The manufacturer’s company name or a code that can be traced back to the manufacturer
  3. The marking of a third-party certification agency
  4. The basis of a fire protection rating”


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