Here’s what you need to know about fire-rated glass and framing codes to get started on your next project.
The International Building Code (IBC) lays out many requirements for the use of fire-rated glass and framing in the United States. As the IBC changes every few years, it is important to keep-up with the latest requirements. This section summarizes key fire-rated glazing code changes over the past 10 years. Contact TGP to learn more about code requirements in Canada and the Middle East.
Code requirements for fire-rated glazing can seem complex and challenging. Here are some key points to help you navigate your way to appropriate product selections under the International Building Code. As with other code matters, it is crucial to confirm fire safety requirements with the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ).
Building codes change often, so it can be tough to keep up with the requirements. The International Code Council (ICC) made substantial changes to fire-rated glazing requirements in the IBC in the past 10 years. Among these are:
While the International Building Code is in use throughout the U.S., the version in use varies widely by jurisdiction, which has important implications for allowable fire-rated glass products. IBC versions currently being used include 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2015. The 2018 IBC is now coming online, and the International Code Council’s next set of IBC updates is scheduled for 2021 release.
Consult the ICC and your local authority having jurisdiction to determine which codes you need to follow. Even if your jurisdiction is not using the latest code edition, to enhance occupant safety in your buildings, consider using a more rigorous, updated code, as the ICC frequently debates and revises codes applicable to fire-rated glass, to take into account the latest research and product options.
With the frequent code changes related to fire-rated glass, and sometimes misleading marketing messages from glazing suppliers, it can be challenging to know what is acceptable when specifying fire-rated glass and frames.
Below are several issues to be aware of that often trip up building professionals:
As of the 2012 edition, the International Building Code requires fire-rated glazing to include a multifaceted product label code that building and design professionals can reference to quickly evaluate a product’s performance capabilities.
The first part of the label code is one or two letters that indicate which applicable test standard the glass has passed, and where it is considered suitable for use:
The next two letters in the code sequence, if present, indicate conformance with certain test criteria:
The last marking on the fire-rated glazing label is a two- or three-digit number that shows the fire rating in minutes (e.g., 45, 90, 120). The given number corresponds with independent lab testing in accordance with national fire test standards.
Putting all this together, a product labeled “D-H-T-60” and “OH-60” is suitable for use within door assemblies and openings, has passed the required hose stream test, does meet temperature rise criteria, and is fire-rated for 60 minutes.
For additional information and label samples, see our IBC Label Guide.
* For SI, °C = [(°F) -32]/1.8.
Source: 2015 IBC Table 716.3, Marking Fire-Rated Assemblies