I have posted a couple of spec updates (1, 2), both related to one small portion of an actual project specification, and today’s post addresses the remaining paragraph in the example.  I received questions from several readers about the paragraph on oversized fire door assemblies and the label requirements for those doors and frames:

The maximum size of a fire door assembly is sometimes limited by the size of the test furnace – the NFPA 80 Handbook suggests that the maximum size tested is typically 4 feet x 10 feet.  The specification paragraph requires oversized fire doors to have construction labels.  A construction label is used when a fire door and/or frame is manufactured with the same materials, design, and construction as a labeled fire door assembly, but the configuration has not been subjected to a fire test.  Generally, a fire door assembly with a construction label must be approved by the AHJ as an equivalency in order to be used.

The IBC refers to these labels in Section 716 – Opening Protectives, and allows oversized fire doors to have an “oversized fire door label” (AKA construction label) or a certificate of inspection:

716.2.9.2 Oversized doors. Oversized fire doors shall bear an oversized fire door label by an approved agency or shall be provided with a certificate of inspection furnished by an approved testing agency.  Where a certificate of inspection is furnished by an approved testing agency, the certificate shall state that the door conforms to the requirements of design, materials and construction, but has not been subjected to the fire test.

NFPA 80 includes essentially the same language as the IBC, but also lists the information that must be on the label: The label for oversized doors shall contain the following information:
(1) The words “oversized fire door”
(2) The manufacturer’s company name or a code that can be traced back to the manufacturer
(3) The marking of a third-party certification agency
(4) The basis of a fire protection rating

The NFPA 80 Handbook includes additional information about oversized fire doors.

I think it’s acceptable to have a reference in the specification to oversized fire doors with construction labels, but I will say that in my 35 years in the industry I have seen VERY FEW fire door assemblies with construction labels.  I could probably count my projects with oversized fire doors on one hand.  I do remember a couple of fire-rated stage doors that were extra-tall to accommodate the movement of sets.

The AHJ approval is very important, because these oversized openings have not been tested to evaluate their performance in a fire.  Someone should be making a conscious decision about whether fire door assemblies that have not been tested will provide the necessary level of protection.

So what do you think?  Does the specification need any tweaks with regard to oversized fire doors and construction labels?  Should the AHJ’s approval be mentioned?  Is it worth including this paragraph in the spec considering how infrequently these doors are included in a project?


Please send me any spec sections where we can learn from analysis or suggestions for updating.

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