NFPA 257 Close to Finishing 2012 Updates
September 7, 2011

By Sahely Mukerji

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Technical Committee is close to releasing a 2012 edition of NFPA 257, Standard on Fire Test for Window and Glass Block Assemblies, which will include two substantive updates as well as editorial changes.

A total of six proposals were submitted to change the 2007 edition of the standard and, of those, five were accepted by NFPA Technical Committee. No public comments were submitted to any of the committee's actions. Therefore, while the deadline to submit a Notice of Intent to Make a Motion (NITMAM) is October 21, 2011, since no public comments were submitted, the filing of a NITMAM is highly unlikely, says Thomas S. Zaremba, partner at Roetzel & Andress in Toledo, Ohio. Barring the unlikely filing of a NITMAM, all five proposals accepted by the Technical Committee will be incorporated into the 2012 edition of NFPA 257.

There are really only two substantive changes, Zaremba says. The first modifies section 4.1.2, which dealt with furnace temperature at the start of the test. In that regard, the 2007 edition of the standard required the temperature inside the furnace at the beginning of the test to be ambient. That has been changed because the temperature of a cold furnace at the start of a fire test is not significant, Zaremba explains.

"What is significant is the temperature of the test laboratory where the specimens are located before the test," he says. Accordingly, this section will now read: "At the start of the fire test, the ambient laboratory air temperature shall be in the range between 50-90 degrees F."

The second substantive change will delete section 4.3.4 from the 2012 edition. That section addresses "neutral pressure" testing, and since all codes now require testing under positive pressure, this section is no longer necessary.

A number of the change proposals adopted by the Technical Committee are editorial only. For example, the 2007 edition references the 2002 edition of ASTM E226. That will be updated to the 2010 edition. Another deletes a reference to NFPA 80 found in the definition of "glazing material." A third deletes the current reference to NFPA 251 from Annex D, since NFPA 251 has been withdrawn in favor of ASTM E 119, and updates the Annex D reference from the 2002 edition of ASTM E 814 to the 2010 edition.

"The 2007 edition is a complete revision for compliance with the Manual of Style for NFPA Technical Committee Documents," according to the Origin and Development statement at the beginning of the code. "It also contains revisions to its scope and purpose provisions to clarify the committee's intent, and it contains a new reference to ASTM E 2226, Standard Practice for Application of Hose Stream, for details on conducting the hose stream test."

The changes can be viewed online at www.nfpa.org/257 under the "Next Edition Tab." Click on the link with the "Report on Proposals."

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