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Frequently Asked Questions

Fire Labels

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A250.8-03, SDI 118-05 Fire Rated Doors and Frames Overview
  • If installing an accessory onto the top portion of a fire door, does the accessory need a fire label or listing if only penetrating one side of the door? what if penetrating completely thru the door? Would this change the field installation or rating of the accessory?

Components used as part of a fire door assembly are required to be listed for that purpose, unless there is an exception in NFPA 80. One example of an exception is that a listing is not required for protection plates installed within the bottom 16 inches of the door. Generally, NFPA 80 doesn't distinguish between where the item is located or whether it is attached on one side of the door or through the door.

  • Why are annual inspections required by "qualified" persons, not "certified" persons?

NFPA 80 does not define the term "certified person," but "qualified person" is defined as: "A person who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, professional standing, or skill, and who, by knowledge, training, and experience, has demonstrated the ability to deal with the subject matter, the work, or the project" (80-2016: 3.3.96). Chapter 5 states that acceptance testing shall be performed by a qualified person (80-2016: 5.2.3.1). NFPA 80-2016 does include the term "certified" in a new section on field labeling, which requires field labeling to be performed only by individuals or companies that have been certified or listed, or by indivuals or companies representing a labeling service that meets certain criteria (80-2016: 5.1.4). This section applies to field labeling of a component, but a certification is not required for an inspection.

  • Is there a label or listing requried when installing power door operators and accessories onto a fire rated doors?

The intent of NFPA 80 is to require each component installed on a fire door assembly to be listed or labeled, unless it is specifically excluded from this requirement. Although NFPA 80 does not specifically address labels for power door operators and accessories, the standard does require door closers to be labeled (80-2016: 3.3.38). In addition, NFPA 80 requires power operated fire doors to have a releasing device that automatically disconnects the operator at the time of a fire, allowing the door to close and latch (80-2016: 6.1.3.4).

  • Are smoke rated doors required to have a rating label?

"Smoke rated" doors are typically required by two different types of wall construction:

Smoke Partitions - where doors are required by the code, they must be tested per UL 1784. The code states that when these doors comply only with UL 1784, they "shall be permitted to show the letter "S" on the manufacturer's labeling."

Smoke Barriers - most smoke barrier walls are required to have a 1 hour fire-resistance rating and therefore the doors are also required to be fire rated. The codes states that the doors shall be tested to UL 1784 and shall show the letter “S” on the fire-rating label of the door.

  • Is it permissible to paint over the fire label on a hollow metal door or frame?

You may paint over an embossed label on a door or frame, unless prohibited by the specification. However, it is never permissible to paint over a Mylar label or applied metal label for a door or frame. The reason is that once a label is painted over it is impossible to discern the label information. 

  • Can we use European Standard Fire Rated Ironmongery on UL-labeled fire rated hollow metal doors?

Probably not. There are numerous differences between the EN (European) test standard and UL 10C, the North American standard. A major difference is that EN test standards do not require a hose stream test.

The Authority Having Jurisdiction determines if a combination of products allows for the opening to maintain a fire rating. Generally speaking, any listed fire rated product must be matched with similarly rated and approved products. If the doors have been tested with the hardware then most likely the rating will be extended to the opening.

However, if the door must be modified—cut out for the hardware, or any other modification—then it is likely that the door would not maintain its fire rating. The general rule is that no modification can be made to a fire door without approval of the rating agency, such as UL or WH.

  • Can doors with louvers be positive pressured fire labeled?

Doors with UL listed louvers may be positive pressure fire rated up to 90 minutes. The louver must be located in the bottom half of the door with a maximum size of 24" x 24".

  • Are frames required to have a label?

 Fire rated frames must have either an attached label or an embossment in the metal of the frame. The attached labels may be made of metal or tamper-evident Mylar design.

  • How is authority to field label conferred on a company and from whom does this authority come?

NFPA 80, “Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives” contains provisions specific to the case of field modifications of fire door assemblies and the subsequent field labeling of the assembly. In part, NFPA 80 states;

"The laboratory with which the product or component being modified is listed shall be contacted through the manufacturer and a written or graphic description of the modifications shall be presented to that laboratory. Field modifications shall be permitted without a field visit from the laboratory upon written authorization from that laboratory."

So the authority for field labeling is conferred by the third-party listing agency with whom the product is listed, and is communicated in writing.

  • If hardware is labeled, does it mean it can go on any labeled door?

Labeled hardware is permitted to be used on any brand of fire door, provided that door is properly listed and labeled for that hardware application. For instance, a door listed and labeled for single-point locks cannot be fitted with panic or fire exit hardware. A door specifically listed and labeled for this hardware application must be used.

  • Can doors with louvers be positive pressure fire labeled?

Yes. Fusible link louvers with a maximum size of 24" x 24" can obtain up to 90 minute fire labels.

  • Can the frame be cut or modified in any other way in the field without voiding the label?

Yes, NFPA 80 Chapter 4 specifies the allowable modifications for the application of hardware. No other modifications are allowed.