The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released the 2016 edition of NFPA 80, Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives a few weeks ago. The new NFPA 80 contains several significant changes that users need to know, as well as how these changes might affect their work. You can read NFPA 80 read online (free) through their website, you can also buy it as a pdf file. Printed copies will be available soon.
NFPA used to mark changes that appeared in their new codes and standards, which made them easier to follow. They stopped marking the changes in their editions in 2014. If you want to study the changes that occur in the new NFPA 80 on your own, you can read the First and Second draft reports on NFPA’s website. (Click on the Read Archived revision information link, and choose the first and second draft reports.) Not only will you see the changes, but you’ll also see the committee and public input proposals from the last review cycle. You’ll see how the technical committee resolved the proposals and their reasons for accepting or declining proposed changes. It takes time and practice to learn your way around NFPA’s online code and standard development system. It helps you better understand how these publications evolve.
This article is the first in a series of articles that discuss changes in the new NFPA 80. You will find it helpful to have a copy of NFPA 80 to refer to as you read these articles. If these articles are your introduction to NFPA 80, you might have some difficulty following their context. NFPA publishes a handbook for NFPA 80, which you can use to learn more about it; the 2016 handbook will be available by the end year. Meanwhile, you can buy the 2013 handbook.
Make notes and highlights in your copy of NFPA 80 to help you later when you need to look up something.
Tip: Before highlighting your copy of NFPA 80 (or any reference book), think about how the marked up content might appear. Using a single color pen or marker changes the color of the page when highlighting a large area of text and might not be useful to you later on. Consider using different color markers, and only highlight the paragraph number or keywords and phrases that draw your attention. Write notes in the margins, especially when you might need to refer to related provisions and requirements in other sections or chapters. In other words, make your copy of NFPA 80 yours. Make it work for you.
Here are a few of the changes in NFPA 80:
- New Chapter 21 Fire Protective Curtain Assemblies.
- New glazing requirements in Chapter 4 General Requirements.
- New clearance requirements for Chapter 6 Swinging Doors with Builders Hardware.
- A new section in Chapter 5 Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance for Field Labeling of existing door assemblies.
- Revised and expanded provisions for Appurtenances and work that can be done at the job site.
- Expanded requirements for the installation of heat and smoke detectors, as well as fusible links.
This series of articles covers all of these changes, and more.
Before we go any further, it is worth pointing out how NFPA publications use asterisks (*). An asterisk that follows a section or paragraph number tells you there are additional comments in Annex A Explanatory Material. Annex A’s comments provide users of these publications with background information and context. As you study NFPA 80, read Annex A’s comments whenever you see passages marked with an asterisk; it is worth the time.
For simplicity’s sake, we’ll present the changes in the order they appear in NFPA 80; starting with Chapter 1 General and working our way through each of the following chapters. Editorial changes or renumbering of sections and paragraphs are not covered in these articles.
The only change in Chapter 1 General is in paragraph 1.1.4. A reference to ANSI/UL 263, Standard of Fire Tests for Building Construction and Materials was added as an equivalent standard to ASTM
E119, Standard Fire Test Methods of Building Construction and Materials. In fact, references to ANSI/UL 263 appear throughout NFPA 80 wherever refers it to ASTM E119.
Many of the changes in Chapter 2 Referenced Publications reflect the most recent publication dates of the codes and standards listed in this chapter. In other words, the list of publications is nearly the same as the list that appeared in the 2013 edition of NFPA 80, only the dates of some publications were updated. As you read NFPA 80’s provisions and requirements elsewhere in the standard you will see references to the publications listed in Chapter 2. Wherever an NFPA code or standard is referenced, only its number is shown (e.g., NFPA 72, NFPA 252). References to publications from other sources (e.g., ASTM, BHMA, and UL) include their number and full title. Since the titles of these references rarely change, knowing which edition is being referenced is important. Significant changes in codes and standards sometimes occur, which might add new requirements to NFPA 80; that makes knowing their publication date important.
Several new codes and standards appear in chapter 2, they are:
- NFPA 4, Standard for Integrated Fire Protection and Life Safety System Testing, 2015 edition.
- ANSI/UL 10D, Standard for Tin-Clad Fire Doors, 2009, revised 2009.
- ANSI/UL 263, Standard for Fire Tests of Building Construction and Materials, 2011.
- NFPA 82, Standard for Incinerators and Waste and Linen Handling Systems and Equipment, 2014 edition.
- NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, 2015 edition.
NFPA 82 and NFPA 101® are listed under Section 2.4 References for Extracts in Mandatory Sections, which means that some of their provisions and requirements are extracted for use in NFPA 80. We’ll see examples of how these extracted requirements are used in NFPA 80.
A couple new definitions were added in Chapter 3 Definitions. The first new definition is 3.3.58 Fire Protective Curtain Assembly. It states: “An assembly typically consisting of a fabric curtain, a bottom bar, guides, a coil, and an operating and closing system.” This definition applies to the types of assemblies covered in new Chapter 21 Fire Protective Curtain Assemblies.
New definition 3.3.127 Threshold states: “A builders hardware component that is installed beneath a closed door.” The terms threshold and sill are sometimes used interchangeably in the field, but in the context of NFPA 80 (and the building codes) each term has particular application. Hence, the need to add a formal definition of the term threshold.
Thresholds are one of many builders hardware components that can be used on fire-rated door assemblies. There are no code requirements that require thresholds on fire-rated door assemblies. Thresholds can be installed under a fire-rated door, on top of non-combustible sills, to seal the gap under the doors. Where thresholds are part of a listed assembly (e.g., 20-minute prehung insulated steel door units), they are required by the assembly’s listing.
Additionally, the definition for 3.3.111 Sill was revised to clarify the difference between sills and thresholds. The new definition states: “A structural component of the building that forms the bottom part over which a door closes.”
In buildings that have combustible floor construction (e.g., wood floor joists), sills prevent wood floor joists from extending under door openings. In other words, sills are part of the construction that directly supports door openings in the walls above. Building codes require non-combustible sills to be constructed under fire-rated door openings. Sills prevent a fire on one side of a fire-rated door assembly from spreading under the door opening. Even when the flooring system burns away completely, the door assembly remains in place because the sill protects the area under the door assembly.
A reference to ANSI/UL 263 was added to definition 3.3.61 Fire Resistance Rating as an alternative to the test procedures of ASTM E119.
Lastly, the definition 3.3.93 Power-Operated Fire Doors was modified to include hydraulically operated doors, it states: “Doors that normally are opened and closed electrically, pneumatically, or hydraulically.”
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Next Up: Changes in NFPA 80’s Chapter 4 General Requirements.