In photo 1, you see the embossed label on the frame. This frame is embossed with a one and a half hour rating. Some frames will have a three hour rating that will allow any rated door from 20 minutes to three hours to be used in the frame.
Photo 2 shows a labeled wood door with the label attached to the door edge below the top hinge.
For the latch or lockset to be installed on a fire rated opening, it must be tested and listed with a testing laboratory. In photos 3A and 3B, you will see the (UL) F Mark on the scalp plate of the lock or latch bolt. The F mark indicates that the product has been tested and approved for use on a fire door assembly. Both of these are displaying the (UL) F Mark.
If you need to know the size of the latch projection, the door label will state a size of the latch on the label. If there is no size indicated on the door label, then the minimum acceptable size is ½ inch with the (UL) F Mark or the (WH) F Mark.
As you can see by the Listed F Mark, it is not too hard to identify fire rated hardware in the field. Some of the other items that will have the testing laboratory mark are the door closer, flush bolts, door viewers, and some hinges. Kick plates that exceed 16” from the bottom of the door need to be listed and have a mark showing on the plate.
In Photo 4, you can see the Listed Door Closer Body (UL) Mark on this spring hinge. Some rules of thumb to follow with spring hinges is that you must always have two spring hinges on a door assembly and the door cannot exceed seven foot in height. Ball bearing hinges conform to construction standards as specified by NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) in NFPA 80 (2010) 18.104.22.168 and are not required to be marked.
Fire Exit vs. Fire Panic Hardware
A good example of non-fire rated hardware are latches for residential use; these are generally not fire rated or listed.
There is some confusion between Fire Exit Hardware and Panic Exit Hardware. Even though a manufacturer may have two devices that look identical in design, function, and operation, the difference would be the testing label. All Fire Exit Hardware components are also listed as Panic Exit Hardware. The main difference besides the label is that Fire Exit Hardware does not have a mechanical dog down feature for the bar to leave it in the unlocked condition. The label in Photo 5 contains a wealth of information.
S Mark indicates the assembly has been evaluated to elevated ambient temperature air leakage tests. S Mark needs a Category H edge seal to be applied to the frame or door. Category H edge seals must be provided to meet the S Mark where required. Most likely, they will be required on any door rated 20 minutes and up in a smoke controlled environment.
Fire Exit Hardware means that it was tested on a door and burned in a testing laboratory to determine the rating that hardware will withstand and the label show that level.
The bottom line is you can only use Fire Exit Hardware on labeled fire door assemblies that require a panic device.
Many conditions would require Fire Exit or Panic Exit hardware. The first that comes to mind is the occupant load of the room. If the occupancy reaches or exceeds 50 then panic hardware is required and the doors must swing in the direction of egress travel. Another area would be High Hazard occupancies.
Panic Exit Hardware has not been fire tested to be used on a fire labeled assembly so you will see these devices on exterior doors since most of these doors are not fire labeled. This device will have a dogging feature so you can leave the door in the unlatched state. Exit discharges from a stairwell will not have the dogging feature because positive latching is required at all times.
What all this means is that the product is tested to a standard and listed in the testing laboratory’s directory. Here is a definition from NFPA 80 2007.
3.2.4 Listed. Equipment, materials, or services included in a list published by an organization that is acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction and concerned with evaluation of products or services, that maintains periodic inspection of production of listed equipment or materials or periodic evaluation of services, and whose listing states that either the equipment, material, or service meets appropriate designated standards or has been tested and found suitable for a specified purpose.