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LinkLine: Fall 2015

Recent UL Changes and Applied Fireproofing

Recent changes in Underwriters Laboratories Online Fire Resistance Certifications Directory have the potential to impact the list of UL Designs that can be used on a project.  In April 2015, Underwriters Laboratories updated the guide information (BXUV) in the UL Online Fire Resistance Certifications Directory for the purpose of clarifying the load restriction warnings that appear on many of UL’s Fire Resistance listings. Though load restrictions have existed on many UL, CUL and ULC listings since 2007, users of these directories may not have realized that UL has applied these restrictions to all structures designed using Limit States Design methods (such as Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) Method or Allowable Stress Design (ASD) Method) regardless of where the structure is constructed.  A letter from UL dated August 10, 2015 with the subject line “Restricted Loading Conditions” states the following:

“For projects designed with the Working Stress Design method published 2005 or later or the Limit States Design method, UL designs shall be considered load restricted unless the design specifically indicates that the Limit States Design method has been utilized.”

There are no geographical limitations to the UL’s load restrictions, which means these load restrictions apply to structures designed for the United States.  As a result of these changes, a high percentage of the UL Designs being submitted on projects today may not be acceptable for use in meeting the required fire resistance protection specified by the building code.  For example, choosing load restricted UL Designs on projects that do not meet UL’s current criteria will result in the potential for the fireproofing thicknesses to be insufficient to provide the required hourly rating.  

In response to this situation, BSD Speclink has added the following language as an option in section 07 8100 Applied Fireproofing Section 2.02 Fireproofing Assemblies

“The UL listing for each fire rated assembly must state that the superimposed load used in the test was determined by Allowable Stress Design Method or Load and Resistance Factor Design Method. UL listings with a Load Restriction are not allowed.”

By adding this wording to your specification, you are avoiding the potential issue of having load restricted UL designs on projects where they don’t meet the UL requirements.

For more information on the recent UL changes, you can go to an article published on the Construction Specifiers website entitled “Choosing appropriate UL designs” at http://www.constructionspecifier.com/choosing-appropriate-ul-designs/.