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A question from a reader about Columbia’s UL rated doors

Lou Blaiotta on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 12:00:00 am

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Columbia Elevator UL rated doorsDear Lou,
I’ve been very interested in reading about Columbia’s UL rated doors. I’ve been wondering, do you need to UL label a frame?

Thanks for asking! This requires a multi-part answer and can be a bit complicated.  Let me start by saying that only those entrance assemblies that penetrate a fire-rated shaftway will require UL labeling.  For example, entrances to atrium elevators (where there is no wall at all; or there is an open shaftway or there is a non-rated glass shaftway) will not require a fire-rated entrance assembly since the entrance does not penetrate a fire-rated shaftway.  In these atrium elevator applications, with the permissible non-rated entrance assemblies, non-rated architectural components such as a non-rated full-glass door may be used.  All other entrance assemblies that do indeed penetrate a fire rated wall will require some sort of UL labeling and the rating will be dependent upon the wall construction. 

Now, let’s clarify what we mean by an entrance assembly.  An entrance assembly is comprised of three mayor subcomponents: the frame, the door(s), and the hardware.  Each subcomponent carries its own labeling requirements.  In all fire-rated wall applications, the doors & hardware (i.e.: the header, door track, hangers and interlock, etc.) must always be UL labeled regardless of the wall construction.  The labeling requirements of the frame, on the other hand, are completely dependent upon the type of wall construction used in the rated-shaft wall.

 The simple answer for a basic frame in a masonry wall is no; only the door and hardware need to be labeled.  However, some jurisdictions may also require a frame label.

In dry wall construction, the frame, door, and the entire assembly should be tested and labeled. All dry wall fire resistance test components bear individual component labels – struts, sills, headers – all bear component labels. This is part of a labeled fire resistance product: all the components were tested and the label bears the fire resistance of which it is capable.  The frame and door panels have listed and numbered labels. 

Dry wall construction by its definition is a sheet rock – gypsum wallboard over wood or steel stud construction. This not only has a fire resistance issue to be addressed but also its structural integrity in the case of a fire is tested.

See, it might resist a fire for two hours, but it must also be capable of securing the opening of the shaftway.  If it falls apart, it’s just as dangerous even if the individual components will resist the fire.

So how do we work with this? There are different constructions permitted for different hourly classifications. Fire resistance is rated alphabetically according to the number of hours the components will resist the fire.

A rating: 4 hours shaft wall + entrance label is 3 hour
B rating: 2 hours shaft wall + entrance label is 1 ½ hour
C rating: 1 hour shaft wall + entrance label is ¾ hour

The classification of hours has a different classification for fire resistance. For example, a door that is rated 3 hours is put in a wall that has a 4 hour rating. Therefore the wall rating A, B, and C, and the hourly rating is 75% of the wall.

So there are, as always, many things to consider when constructing and properly testing and labeling both entrances and walls.



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