A few years ago, an architect that I’ve worked with for over 20 years called me and indignantly asked, “Do you know the maximum height for a kick plate on a fire door?!” I answered that it was 16″ above the bottom of the door. The architect said, “Well! We tried to write our own hardware spec for a 15-door job. There were 11 hardware sets and there has been a problem with every set except one, and now there’s a problem with THAT set…the kick plate is too high!” As far as I know, they never tried to write their own hardware spec again.
This requirement is found in NFPA 80. If the top of the plate is 16 inches or less above the bottom of the door, the plate is not required to be labeled. Field installed plates larger than that must be labeled. The other option is factory-installed plates. I was recently asked if installing an armor plate in a distributor’s UL shop would qualify as “factory-installed”. According to that distributor’s UL procedure, they were allowed to install armor plates on fire-rated doors in their shop, so if you work for a distributor it may be worth checking your procedure to see if this would apply to you.
Here is the text from NFPA 80 2007:
6.4.5 Protection Plates.
220.127.116.11 Factory-installed protection plates shall be installed in accordance with the listing of the door.
18.104.22.168 Field-installed protection plates shall be labeled and installed in accordance with their listing.
22.214.171.124 Labeling shall not be required where the top of the protection plate is not more than 16 in. (406 mm) above the bottom of the door.