When it comes to fire protection and life safety in buildings, it's critical to specify and install proper products. The makers of a glass called Superlite I-XL promote the material for fire-rated applications of 45 minutes and more. However, this claim can be challenged due to the number of "limitations" attached to the product listing.
The documents linked below are intended to provide you with essential information on this critical topic. Before considering the use of SuperLite I-XL or any other products that don't meet testing standards, please review this material thoroughly. For further questions, please call 1-888-397-FIRE, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The fire-rated glass product, SuperLite I-XL, is advertised as carrying 45 and 60 minute fire ratings. However, closer inspection reveals that the listing has significant limitations:
Originally, Warnock Hersey International issued a "conditional" listing for the product to be used in one specific government application. However, the manufacturer has marketed SuperLite I-XL for general use. Warnock Hersey is the only independent lab that has given this type of listing for a non-compliant fire-rated glass product. The most well-respected laboratory for fire testing in North America, Underwriters Laboratories (UL), will not provide a 45 or 60-minute listing for products that do not pass both fire and hose stream test requirements.
The hose stream test is critical. Building codes require that fire-rated glass materials comply with the test standards and guidelines developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The 2007 edition of the NFPA "Fire Test of Window Assemblies" gives the following explanation regarding the hose stream's importance and validity:
B.11.4 "The hose stream test provides a method for evaluating the integrity of constructions and assemblies and for eliminating inadequate materials or constructions. The cooling, impact, and erosion effects of the hose stream provide tests of the integrity of the specimen being evaluated."
Despite repeated attempts by the manufacturer of SuperLite I-XL to have the hose stream test eliminated, code officials and fire protection experts have continued to uphold the validity and value of the hose stream test.
We've been asking the same thing, with no clear answer. To draw an analogy, no one would expect to get a driver's license if they passed the written but not the driving portion of the test. Both components are required. No one has a license with a disclaimer.
Issuing a fire rating that arbitrarily leaves out a mandatory portion of the testing sets a disturbing precedent. We believe it undermines the integrity of the entire testing and listing process. We urge you to contact Warnock Hersey directly with any concerns you may have. Email us with your questions and concerns at email@example.com.
SuperLite I-XL has a coating on one side of the glass that reflects heat away from that surface of the glass. Since this monolithic glass is not symmetrical, it only offers fire protection from one side. This raises two key issues:
It sounds good, but the simple truth is that the codes are very clear: Where a barrier to heat is needed, the product has to meet the standards of a barrier wall complying with test standards ASTM E-119 and UL 263. Ordinary window glass can't live up to the requirements – no matter how much heat it reduces. There ARE specialty glazing materials that do function as a wall and block heat transfer from multiple manufacturers.
A "degree" of heat reduction isn't helpful in meeting the required building code and test standards.
Ask your TGP sales rep about product solutions that meet U.S. building code requirements.