We had a fire door inspection and we were told that the actuating portion of the fire exit hardware on the fire door must be one half in length of the door leaf. These hardware was installed in 1996.
I hope this helps. NFPA 80 does not actually dictate the actuating portion of Fire Exit Hardware. For that you need to look into NFPA 101. Here is what I found available on line at nfpa.org/101.
The 1973 edition of NFPA 101
5-216 Panic Hardware.
5-2162* Such releasing devices shall be bars or panels extending not less than two thirds of the width of the door and placed at heights suitable for the service required not less than 30 nor more than 44 inches above the floor. No mention of the requirements for the releasing portion on Fire Exit Hardware.
The next available edition of NFPA 101 is the 1997 edition.
220.127.116.11.2 Where a door is required to be equipped with panic or fire exit hardware such releasing device shall
(a) Consist of bars or panels, the actuating portion of which extends across at least on half of the width of the door leaf, at least 30 in. (76 cm) and not more than 44 in. (112 cm) above the floor, and...
The 1997 edition does not indicate that it was a new change so it most have happened in the 1994 edition or earlier. It stands to reason however that if panic hardware was required to be 2/3 the width in 1973 and at some point before 1997, both panic and fire exit hardware were required to be 1/2 the width of the door leaf, then I think it is safe to say that the fire exit hardware that was installed in 1996 should have been at the least 1/2 the width of the door leaf. I could be wrong here but I find it hard to imagine the requirement going to less than 1/2 the width and then back up to 1/2 the width of the door leaf unless they did that and found that it was not enough.
I think this is a starting point for you. I hope someone with the missing copies of the earlier editions of NPFA 101 can provide you with the exact edition where it was changed. Best of Luck
Paul Anderson, FDAI
Might be late, but I just happen to have this sitting in front of me. And it has an interesting "however" involved.
5-18.104.22.168 Panic Hardware.
5-22.214.171.124.1 When a door is required to be equipped with panic hardwareby some other provision of this Code, the panic hardware shall cause thedoor latch to release when a force of not to exceed 15 pounds is appliedto the releasing devices in the direction of exit travel.
| 5-126.96.36.199.2* Such releasing devices shall be bars or panels extending| not less than one-half of the width of the door and placed at heights| suitable for the service required, not less than 30 nor more than 44 inches| above the floor.
| A-5-188.8.131.52.2 A desirable practice is to have panic bars one-half the width of| the door, located on the latch side.
NFPA 101-1976 (1978 Handbook)
5-184.108.40.206.1 When a door is required to be equipped with panic hardware by some other provision of this Code, the panic hardware shall cause the door latch to release when a force of not to exceed 15 pounds is applied to the releasing devices in the direction of exit travel.
5-220.127.116.11.2 Such releasing devices shall be bars or panels, the actuating portion of which shall not be less than one-half of the width of the door leaf, and placed at heights suitable for the service required, not less than 30 nor more than 44 inches above the floors.
As the name implies, panic hardware should be designed for utility, serviceability, and reliability under conditions which range from the orderly evacuation of building spaces to the panicked, chaotic mob action that can, and often does, accompany fast-moving fires. Hence the stress on case of operation under extreme conditions. Panic hardware, as specified in Section 5-2.l.2.2, must be able to be instantly and easily released, except in mental and penal institutions (as provided in Chapter 10). Panic hardware is to be located at a convenient height above the floor - 30 to 44 inches - and the actuating bar is to be at least one-half the width of the door. A force no greater than 15 pounds is needed to operate the device. This is the force needed to release the latching device only; the force needed to open the door itself is governed by Section 5-18.104.22.168.5. It is a relatively low pressure and well within the capability of small children and elderly people.
Notice the change in 5-22.214.171.124.2 occurred first in the 1976 edition then again in the 1978 handbook. It was edited between official editions of NFPA 101. All editions after the 1978 handbook were similarly worded.
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