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2021 IBC Code Changes Affecting Fire Rated Glazing

The 2021 version of the International Building Code (IBC) is now available and there are some key code changes affecting the use of fire rated glazing systems, particularly to Double Fire Walls and Energy Storage Systems in the Chapter 716 Tables. These tables outline the correct and code approved use fire rated glass – fire protective (or fire-protection-rated) vs. fire resistive (or fire-resistance-rated) – in particular locations and applications.  These tables have been proven to be invaluable resources to architects, contractors and building officials alike since they first appeared in the 2012 version of the IBC.

To date, South Dakota is the only state that has fully adopted the 2021 IBC. However, with majority of the states either on the 2018, 2015 or 2012 version of the IBC, it is foreseeable to see more states move to adopting the later versions – especially when it comes to projects that incorporate double fire walls and energy storage systems. For the most up-to-date map showing the different states and the IBC version that they’ve adopted, click here.

Double Fire Walls

Double Fire Walls constructed in accordance with NFPA 221 are now included in Table 716.1(2) of the 2021 IBC. It provides specific opening requirements as it relates to doors and door assemblies (sidelites and transoms), as well as the type of fire rated glazing used in these applications.

Excerpt from 2021 IBC Table 716.1(2): Opening Fire Protection Assemblies, Ratings and Markings

Fire protective glazing used as vision lites in 60 and 90 minute temperature rise doors shall be limited to 100 sq. inches. Fire resistive glazing marked with a “W” can be used to exceed 100 sq. inches in the door vision panel. For the sidelites and transoms used in the door assembly, fire protective glazing cannot be used. If glazing is desired or required in these applications, fire resistive glazing marked “W” must be used.

Energy Storage Systems

Below are the code section in the 2021 IBC pertaining specifically to Energy Storage Systems:

  • 716.2.5.4.1. Energy storage system separation. Fire-protection-rated glazing shall not be permitted in fire door frames with transom lights and sidelights in fire barriers required by Section 1207 of the International Fire Code to enclose energy storage systems.
  • 716.3.2.1.1.1. Energy storage system separation. Fire-protection-rated glazing is not permitted in fire window assemblies in fire barriers required by Section 1207 of the International Fire Code to enclose energy storage systems.

Looking at Table 716.1(2) and 716.1(3) themselves, the footnotes further clarify that although fire protective glazing cannot be used, fire resistive glazing tested to ASTM E-119/UL 263 are permitted.

  • Footnote h in 716.1(2) and Footnote c in 716.1(3). Fire protection-rated-glazing is not permitted for fire barriers required by Section 1207 of the International Fire Code to enclose energy storage systems. Fire-resistance-rated glazing assemblies tested to ASTM E-119 or UL 263, as specified in Section 716.1.2.3, shall be permitted.

Easy Reference for Architects, Contractors and Building Officials

As a handy reference to architects, contractors and building code officials, SAFTI FIRST has developed several charts that show the code approved fire rated glazing product for the application. The SAFTI FIRST recommended product found in these tables are not part of the IBC, but provided by SAFTI FIRST as guide for choosing and specifying the correct, code approved product.

2021 IBC CHAPTER 7 TABLES 2018 IBC CHAPTER 7 TABLES 2015 IBC CHAPTER 7 TABLES 2012 IBC CHAPTER 7 TABLES
2021 IBC CHAPTER 7 TABLES 2018 IBC Chapter 7 Tables 2015 IBC Chapter 7 Tables 2012 IBC Chapter 7 Tables

If you have any questions or if you have a current or upcoming project that requires fire rated glass and framing, please don’t hesitate to reach out us toll-free at 888.653.3333 or send us an email at info@safti.com. We look forward to being your FIRST source for all your fire rated glazing needs!

Do you have a current or upcoming project that needs fire rated glass and framing? Contact us today!