A fire rated opening is part of a building’s passive fire protection system that provides two distinct functions: reduces the spread of fire and/or smoke and enables safe egress from the building in the event of a fire.
For an opening to qualify as fire rated, the door, jamb, hardware* and any required gasketing must be listed with an agency with laboratory that is in compliance with NFPA Standards 80 and 101, building codes and any ordinances.
*There are two exceptions for a fire rated opening. Kick plates below 16 inches tall do not require labeling, and until recently, fire rated hinges did not have to have a visible label.
Fire rated components include hinges, lock/exit device, door closer, astragal, door coordinators, power transfer devices, glass lites and door viewers. In addition, any add-on components including door and jamb protection must be listed if they are to be mounted onto or into the surface of the door or jamb.
NFPA 80 4.2 Listed and Labeled Products.
4.2.1 Listed items shall be identified by a label.
Every Listed component on a fire rated opening must have a marking from the listing/labeling agency. The marking must be in the form of a label, stamping on the product or any other marking means permitted by the agency. Examples of testing agencies are Underwriters’ Laboratory and Warnock Hersey.
NFPA 80, Annex A.
A.4.2.1 Labels can be permitted to be of metal, paper, or plastics and can be permitted to be stamped or die cast into the item. Labels should not be removed, defaced, or made illegible while the door is in service. If the label on an existing fire door has been removed or is no longer legible, it is acceptable to verify the rating of the fire door through other means acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction such as an inspection or certification service that provides acceptable documentation.
NFPA 80 4.2 Listed and Labeled Products.
4.2.2 Labels shall be applied in locations that are readily visible and convenient for identification by the AHJ after installation and assembly.
The door label is normally installed onto the hinge edge of the door above the middle hinge. The jamb label is normally positioned at the same height where the door edge would cover it or along the header. Some labels may be located out of sight to be hidden from casual observers.
According to 4.2.2, fire rated components’ labels, stamping or castings are supposed to be readily visible and convenient for identification. This is a bit of an exaggeration as some fire rated doors have labels on the top, making it more difficult to see.
Depending upon the year and manufacturer, labeling can be a metal plate that is nailed or riveted in place.
In addition to identifying the products as fire rated, fire rated door and jamb labels list the duration of the fire rating and can provide the minimum latch throw, gasketing requirement, positive pressure and the type of hardware that must be installed onto the door. Most doors are constructed for installation singly or in pairs.
For example, if the fire door is equipped with fire exit hardware, additional requirements come from NFPA 101, IBC 2012, and IFC 2012 cover building codes and local ordinances. All of these guide codes requires the device to open in the direction of exit travel. The length of the activating portion of the device must be at least half the width of the door leaf. Plus, the device cannot be installed at less than 30” nor more than 44” above the finished floor. To release the door latch, a force not to exceed 15 pounds is applied.
Chapter 4 General Requirements
4.1.1 Classification. Fire doors and fire windows shall be classified by designating a required fire protection rating expressed in hours or fractions thereof.
Fire rated doors and jambs have their own fire rating duration. Fire rated openings have fire rating durations expressed in minutes or in hours. Fire rated doors and jambs can have a duration time from a minimum of 20 minutes (1/3 hour) to a maximum of three hours (180 minutes).