Fire-rated glazing proposals defeated by ICC
The Washington, D.C.-based International Code Council voted down several fire-rated glazing code change proposals during its May 21-26 final action hearings in Rochester, N.Y.
The Americas Glass Association of Placerville, Calif., brought forward several challenges to the marking system of fire-rated glazing that were defeated by the ICC.
The AGA proposal would change the marking system for fire-rated glass. The current code, adopted in 2004 and used by the National Fire Protection Association of Quincy, Mass., and the Underwriters Laboratories of Northbrook, Ill., requires fire-rated glass to be labeled by end-use application, a W for fire wall, O for opening and D for door.
The AGA proposal would mark products based on performance, no matter the end application. Fire-resistant products would be marked with an R and fire-protective products with a P.
“Those two terms, although they appear in the code, are pretty confusing,” says Thom Zaremba, an industry consultant and a partner with Roetzel & Andress in Toledo, Ohio. “Most people don’t know what fire-protective glazing is compared to fire-resistant.”
Kate Steel, owner of Steel Consulting Services of Berkley, Calif., and representative of AGA, argued during the hearings that the current marking code causes confusion and is not easily used by manufactures.
“When a manufacturer gets an order from a glazing contractor, they don’t know where the glass is going to go, so they don’t know how to mark it for end use,” Steel says.
The ongoing debate prompted the Glazing Industry Code Committee of Topeka, Kan., to form a task group to study the marking system and try to find a more workable code, Steel says.
The ICC membership also defeated the fire-rated glazing proposals on the hose-stream test requirement from SaftiFirst of San Francisco.
William O’Keeffe, president of SaftiFirst, says one proposal was editorial and would have changed the wording of the code.
In the proposal, the wording in the fire-test standards have changed from “hose stream must be performed after the test with the exception of 20 minute glass” to “hose stream shall be performed when required by code.”
“This way, if the codes were to change, there is no need to change the test standards,” O’Keeffe says.
Another hose stream-related proposal would have provided an exemption from the hose-stream test for lites 30 inches or less in width; the other would eliminated need for the test for openings in exit corridors, Zaremba says.
“[The elimination of the test] would have enabled use of tempered glass in those applications,” Zaremba says. “The membership overwhelmingly voted to reject the proposals.”
—By Katy Devlin, e-newsletter editor, e-glass weekly