Field labeling and relabeling are terms that describe the process for applying new labels to installed/existing fire-rated door frames and door leaves.
The former term field labeling is most accurately used to describe the practice of applying labels to fire-rated door frames and door leaves that were not labeled during the manufacturing and/or fabrication processes. These products are identical to their properly labeled counterparts, they were simply shipped into the field (to the job site) without their labels (or they were mislabeled). Manufacturers and their agents are not permitted to apply labels to their products once they ship from the factories or point of fabrication (e.g., a shop authorized and operating under the manufacturer’s label label service program). In these cases, the certifying agency/organization who maintains that manufacturer’s files and listings for the specific products in question is the only entity who can apply the correct labels to the door frames and doors.
For example, when a manufacturer’s fire-rated door leaf is tested, certified, and labeled by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and that new product is shipped into the field without its label, UL is the only certifying agency/organization who can field label that door (because UL maintains that manufacturer’s listings). In these situations, the certifying agency/organization has access to all of the product-specific details and can verify (with the manufacturer) how the products were fabricated. In other words, the certifying agency/organization has confidence that the products in question are identical to those that were tested by the manufacturer.
Field relabeling is the term that best describes the practice of replacing original labels on fire-rated door frames and doors that have become illegible (e.g., painted over) and damaged, or have been removed. Identifying the manufacturer of some existing door frames and doors can be problematic.
Another factor that complicates this issue is that there are many serviceable door frames and doors in use today that are products from manufacturers who have ceased operations. Consequently, any official testing records and product listings that were once available through one or more of the nationally recognized testing labs are not readily available.
The original labels on fire-rated door leaves contain significant amount of information regarding the construction of the doors; internal construction that cannot be assessed visually during a field relabeling inspection. This important information is lost forever when the labels are rendered illegible or are missing. For this reason, relabeling labels placed on existing door frames and doors most likely will not identify the manufacturer, and might not identify the original certifying agency/organization.
It’s important to know that the persons performing field relabeling evaluation inspection services rely on other information to assess the condition and suitability of installed door frames and doors. For example, most field relabeling service providers will rely on the installation requirements specified in NFPA 80, Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives, and the prevailing building, fire, and life safety codes that are applicable to the building in which the doors are installed. (To be clear, NFPA 80 is NOT a fire door test standard and its requirements cannot be considered equivalent to a fire door test standard.) They might also rely on installation standards such as the Steel Door Institute’s SDI-122, Installation and Troubleshooting Guide for Standard Steel Doors and Frames, or the Hollow Metal Manufacturers Association’s HMMA-840, Guide Specifications for Installation and Storage of Hollow Metal Doors and Frames.
Another standard that might be used to evaluate steel (aka, hollow metal) door frames Underwriters Laboratories (UL) publication UL 63, Outline Investigation of Fire Door Frames.
The following list (in alphabetical order) of field labeling and relabeling service providers is offered for your consideration. We strongly encourage you to research each of the providers to determine which might be the most appropriate for your needs. (Note: Other service providers might be available regionally.)
CAUTION: Before contracting with any field labeling or relabeling service provider, confirm their labels will be accepted by the appropriate code enforcement office or authority having jurisdiction.
DISCLAIMER: Due to the disparity between non-testing/non-certifying agencies, their accreditation, and their relabeling practices, DoorSafety ONLY recommends and endorses the field labeling and relabeling practices of the nationally recognized testing/certifying agencies.