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  1. #1
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    Default Fire door history

    Looking for an old (like 30,40,50 years ++) code cite which shows solid or rated doors (or close) were required in the garage / house separation... tanks

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    Default Re: Fire door history

    First, let's drop the term "fire door" as that is a specific thing.

    I happen to have a 1946/1950 (dated 1946 and 1950, I suspect the 1950 may be a reprint of the 1946 code, but not sure) "Building Construction Code of New York City" and "Second Edition".

    (10.8.6) ?C26-665.0 Separation of attached or built-in garages. ---
    Where private garages are attached to, or form a part of a story within a residential structure of Class 3, non-fireproof construction, or Class 4, wood frame construction, walls, ceilings and floors enclosing such garages shall be separated from the remainder of the struture by assemblies having at least a one-half* fire resistive rating and all openings between the garage and the remainder of the structure shall be provided with self-closing or automatic protective assemblies having a fire resistive rating of three-quarters of an hour, except as may be otherwise provided in the multiple dwelling law. Where living quarters are located above such garage, the egress facilities from such living quarters shall not pass through the garage.

    *Evidently intended to read "one hour"

    That "*" comment throws me - if this is "the" New York City building code, then why the editorial? Anyway, I suspect that comment was made because opening are usually protected less than the wall, so the presumption that 1-hour was intended makes sense, however, it is also possible that the intent was a less than 1 hour rated wall (such as in condo and apartment building with 1/2 hour rated walls between units ... and, how do you build a 1/2 hour rated wall???? ... the same way you build a 1 hour rated wall, the only difference is that a 1 hr rated wall requires a 45 minuted rated door while a less than 1 hour rated wall only requires a 20 minute rated door ... and what is one of the current options??? ... a 20 minute rated door ... maybe they didn't have 20-minute rated doors then???? ... so ... take your pick as to whether the intent was a 1 hour rated wall/45 minute rated door or a less than 1 hour rated wall/20 minute rated door)

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    Default Re: Fire door history

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    Looking for an old (like 30,40,50 years ++) code cite which shows solid or rated doors (or close) were required in the garage / house separation... tanks
    From and internet article by Barry Stone "The code that specifies a one-hour fire separation between a house and a garage has been in effect since the first edition of the Uniform Building Code was issued in 1927."
    https://www.homeinspector.org/HomeInspectionNews/no-firewall-in-old-garage-is-a-problem.7-21-2017.1837/Details/Story

    Jim Luttrall
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    Default Re: Fire door history

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    From and internet article by Barry Stone "The code that specifies a one-hour fire separation between a house and a garage has been in effect since the first edition of the Uniform Building Code was issued in 1927."
    https://www.homeinspector.org/HomeInspectionNews/no-firewall-in-old-garage-is-a-problem.7-21-2017.1837/Details/Story
    The key to that statement is this part: "The code that specifies ... " other codes did not so specify, and in areas which did not have codes (some still don't) and areas which had other codes (most of the country had/has other codes), thus making a statement which on its face seems to say that "one-hour fire separation between a house and a garage has been in effect" for a long time is misleading at best, intentionally implying what is likely not the case would be worse.

    And the latter is indicated by the statement which follows: "The code that specifies a one-hour fire separation between a house and a garage has been in effect since the first edition of the Uniform Building Code was issued in 1927."... "Therefore, your 60-year-old home should have had a firewall in the garage when it was built. The fact that it does not means someone goofed."

    That last statement, without documentation and verification that "that house" was built in a jurisdiction which had a code adopted at the time with that requirement is patently incorrect and over-reaching.

    People who write columns and articles like that need to either verify what they are saying is in fact correct, or provide the clarification needed so that ALL readers in ALL locations, as well as ALL those who submit questions are given clarity that what is being said MAY NOT BE APPLICABLE to the question, and thus not a correct answer to the question.

    I have seen Barry Stone make similar mistakes several times, kind of like the few times I watched Holmes on Homes ... very disappointed.

    And he continues with even more incorrect information:"Fortunately, a firewall is neither difficult nor expensive to install. All that is needed is a layer of ⅝-inch, fire-rated drywall over the wall or ceiling surfaces that separate the garage from the dwelling. Unfortunately, this requirement has been downgraded in recent years: ?-inch drywall is now approved for garages. Shame on those who approved that change in the code."

    A FIREWALL is not an easy thing, and a FIREWALL IS NOT just a matter of putting "⅝-inch, fire-rated drywall over the wall or ceiling surfaces".

    And don't ask me what I thought about the rest of the information ...

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 01-27-2019 at 09:11 AM. Reason: I noticed a typo in the quote I quoted "ne hour" was actually "one hour" after Claude quoted me - that was my typo, not Barry Stone's typo
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    Default Re: Fire door history

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    The key to that statement is this part: "The code that specifies ... " other codes did not so specify, and in areas which did not have codes (some still don't) and areas which had other codes (most of the country had/has other codes), thus making a statement which on its face seems to say that "ne-hour fire separation between a house and a garage has been in effect" for a long time is misleading at best, intentionally implying what is likely not the case would be worse.

    And the latter is indicated by the statement which follows: "The code that specifies a one-hour fire separation between a house and a garage has been in effect since the first edition of the Uniform Building Code was issued in 1927."... "Therefore, your 60-year-old home should have had a firewall in the garage when it was built. The fact that it does not means someone goofed."

    That last statement, without documentation and verification that "that house" was built in a jurisdiction which had a code adopted at the time with that requirement is patently incorrect and over-reaching.

    People who write columns and articles like that need to either verify what they are saying is in fact correct, or provide the clarification needed so that ALL readers in ALL locations, as well as ALL those who submit questions are given clarity that what is being said MAY NOT BE APPLICABLE to the question, and thus not a correct answer to the question.

    I have seen Barry Stone make similar mistakes several times, kind of like the few times I watched Holmes on Homes ... very disappointed.

    And he continues with even more incorrect information:"Fortunately, a firewall is neither difficult nor expensive to install. All that is needed is a layer of ⅝-inch, fire-rated drywall over the wall or ceiling surfaces that separate the garage from the dwelling. Unfortunately, this requirement has been downgraded in recent years: ?-inch drywall is now approved for garages. Shame on those who approved that change in the code."

    A FIREWALL is not an easy thing, and a FIREWALL IS NOT just a matter of putting "⅝-inch, fire-rated drywall over the wall or ceiling surfaces".

    And don't ask me what I thought about the rest of the information ...
    This should also serve as a reminder that codes can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, as well as the use of specific technical building terms. Just saying because with a broad audience, what may apply to some, does not always apply to others.


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    Default Re: Fire door history

    Quote Originally Posted by Claude Lawrenson View Post
    This should also serve as a reminder that codes can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, as well as the use of specific technical building terms. Just saying because with a broad audience, what may apply to some, does not always apply to others.
    I should also add the following about this part from Barry Stone's article:

    "Fortunately, a firewall is neither difficult nor expensive to install. All that is needed is a layer of ⅝-inch, fire-rated drywall over the wall or ceiling surfaces that separate the garage from the dwelling. Unfortunately, this requirement has been downgraded in recent years: ?-inch drywall is now approved for garages."

    I've already addressed this part as being false and incorrect - "Fortunately, a firewall is neither difficult nor expensive to install."

    This part is both incorrect and correct ... depending on the circumstances ... but is false and incorrect in its presentation following the previous sentence - "All that is needed is a layer of ⅝-inch, fire-rated drywall over the wall or ceiling surfaces that separate the garage from the dwelling."

    - Explanation of this "
    This part is both incorrect and correct ... depending on the circumstances ... but is false and incorrect in its presentation following the previous sentence " statement:
    - - A) "
    This part is both incorrect and correct ... depending on the circumstances"
    - - - 1) 5/8" drywall is not required on that wall in most codes as those codes are based on the ICC codes (ICC codes are consensus documents which resulted in the merging of most widely used 'Model Codes' which were in effect around the USA), and the consensus in those model code was that 1/2" gypsum was sufficient and suitable for the risk.
    - - - 2) 5/8" drywall is not require on the ceiling in most codes (see reason in 1) above) - HOWEVER - when there is living space above the garage, 5/8" gypsum (drywall) is required on the ceiling
    - - - 3) which makes that part of the statement is 'sort of correct under certain circumstances' ... but that the statement is 'mostly incorrect'
    - - B) "
    but is false and incorrect in its presentation following the previous sentence"
    - - - "Fortunately, a firewall is neither difficult nor expensive to install. All that is needed is a layer of ⅝-inch, fire-rated drywall ... " That first sentence calls it a "firewall" (from the IBC, underlining is mine: Fire Wall. A fire-resistance-rated wall having protected openings, which restricts the spread of fire and extends continuously from the foundation to or through the roof, with sufficient structural stability under fire conditions to allow collapse or construction on either side without collapse of the wall.), for discussion purposes, let's just drop that to 'a fire-resistance-rated wall' (Fire-Resistance Rating. The period of time a building element, component or assembly maintains the ability to confine a fire, continues to perform a given function, or both, as determined by the tests, or the methods based on tests, prescribed in Section 703.), and starting out by calling it a firewall, then stating that all that is needed is a layer of 5/8-inch, fire-rated drywall, implies that a single layer of 5/8" Type X gypsum board applied to one side of the wall gives it a fire-resistance rating ... and that is absolutely incorrect.
    - - - Adding any number of layers of 5/8" Type X gypsum does not give the wall (or ceiling) any fire-resistance rating - it doesn't matter if you put 4 layers of 5'8" Type X on each side of the wall ... no fire-resistance rating.

    "Unfortunately, this requirement has been downgraded in recent years: ?-inch drywall is now approved for garages.
    "
    - There was no downgrade for codes which did not require 5/8" Type X, or those codes which did not require anything.

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    Default Re: Fire door history

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    Looking for an old (like 30,40,50 years ++) code cite which shows solid or rated doors (or close) were required in the garage / house separation... tanks
    Without getting off into the weeds, Try looking at the 1927 UBC for that cite which was your question and the reason for my earlier post.

    Jim Luttrall
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    Default Re: Fire door history

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    Without getting off into the weeds, Try looking at the 1927 UBC for that cite which was your question and the reason for my earlier post.
    I have the historical UBC on CDs ... but the program only works on my old, old computer with a failing hard drive ... and the program is not user friendly to use, but ...

    I managed to get the 1927 UBC up and print some pages as pdf files (some too large to load here) - this is what it says:

    Section 501 lists occupancies of Group A through J, in Chapters 6 through 15 respectively.


    Section 503, Mixed Occupancy states\:
    - (a) When the occupancy of a building is such that different portions of the building are placed in different occupancy Groups, the whole building shall comply with the most restrictive requirements of all such Groups unless a "Fire Separation" as specified in this Section is provided so that each Group is entirely segregated.Such "Fire Separation" shall provide either a complete vertical or horizontal separation, or a combination of both. Each portion of a building so segregated shall be considered, for the purposes of this Code, to be separate buildings and as such shall conform to the specific requirements apply to that use or occupancy; provided, however, that "Fire Separations" shall not affect or alter the requirements for fire walls when and where required because of area as specified in Part III, except when such "Fire Separation" provides the necessary complete vertical separation as specified in Section 2932.
    (b) then covers the various "Fire Separations", (b)(1) is "Abosolute Fire Separation" (not less than four hours); (2) is "Special Fire Separation" (not less than 3 hours); and (3) is "Ordinary Fire Separation" (not less than 1 hour)


    A table, titled "Fire Separations" Required For Mixed Occupancy has a top row showing Groups and Divisions of Occupancy, and a left column showing Group, going down the left column to where it says Dwellings, they are shown as Group I, and below that is Private garages, which are shown as Group J.


    The top row J has the plus sign behind it to shown to read that note, and that note at the bottom of the table says "Separations noted apply to sheds and similar buildings which many be used for storage.


    If one goes to I on the top row, then goes down the I column, that gives the required separation from the other occupancies listed below it, such as - I from A (which has Divisions 1, 2, and 3) is shown with an S, and I from a B (which as Divisions 1 and 2) is shown as S, I from C is shown as O, I from E (Division 1, Public garages) is O, from E Div 2 planning mills, box factories, woodworking and mattress factories is O, from E Div 3 storage of hay and highly inflammable or explosive materials is A ... going down toward the bottom of the table and we get to I from H Div 1 (hotels, apartments houses, dormitories, lodging houses) is N, I from H Div 2 (Convents, monasteries, old peoples' homes accommodating 10 or more) is N, then we get to I from I (dwelling from dwelling) and that is O, and finally to J Private garages and the table shows ... NOTHING, nada, not even N


    The legend at the bottom of the table shows A-Abolute Separation S-Special Separation O-Ordinary Separation N-No separation required.


    So ... I went to the 1935 UBC (the next) and in that same table it shows ... NOTHING, nada, BUT the separation between I from I is now N.


    So ... I went to tye 1937 UBC (I'm apparently a glutton for punishment, but I'm also on a mission) and that shows a slightly revised table layout and that shows ... NOTHING, nada, and the I from I separation is still N.

    The separation of J from J (private garage to private garage, sheds, etc, was reduced from 1927 to 1937, showing that, as the code was developing, understanding of what needed separation, and how much separation, was being reduced for some things.

    Based on what the 1927, 1935, and 1937 UBC ... drum roll ... NO separation is shown between a dwelling and a private garage.

    Does someone have an actual printed copy of the 1927 UBC to compare to the scanned in files, published by ICBO? Curious if the printed book shows anything different than the scanned in pages.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Fire door history

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I have the historical UBC on CDs ... but the program only works on my old, old computer with a failing hard drive ... and the program is not user friendly to use, but ...

    I managed to get the 1927 UBC up and print some pages as pdf files (some too large to load here) - this is what it says:
    .
    .

    Section 503, Mixed Occupancy states\:
    .
    .

    (I'm apparently a glutton for punishment, but I'm also on a mission)
    .
    .

    Based on what the 1927, 1935, and 1937 UBC ... drum roll ... NO separation is shown between a dwelling and a private garage.
    As further punishment for taking this on, I reviewed Chapter 14, Group I Dwelling units, and Chapter 15, Group J, Division 1, Private Garages, for "Fire Separation" requirements and found that those two chapters referenced back to the same 503 in my previous post - see attached file

    I also found another tidbit if one wants to start enforcing the 1927 UBC on all buildings ... garage vent openings - also in the attached file.

    Sooo ... who originated this thing about the 1927 UBC requiring "Fire Separation" between a dwelling and its private garage? And how did it manage to get passed down as Home Inspector Lore Gospel?

    ADDED WITH EDIT:

    NOTE: I UPDATED THE ATTACHED FILE - THE NEW FILE CONTAINS THE 1509 REFERENCE (private garage for more than 10 cars)
    - I felt that was not necessary previously being realistic as to what home inspectors see - but I have gone back and included it for clarity and accuracy in case someone says "But ... a dwelling with a garage that is for MORE THAN 10 cars ... ".
    - IF ... that BIG IF ... IF a dwelling had a MORE THAN 10 CAR GARAGE .... then, "Fire Separation" would be required in the 1927 UBC ... how many have seen dwellings with MORE THAN 10 car garages?
    - How many would consider a separation between a dwelling and a MORE THAN 10 car garage to be applicable to a dwelling and a 1, 2, 3, even 4 car garage?

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 01-30-2019 at 01:19 PM.
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    Default Re: Fire door history

    Well done JP.... so were you ever able to find when the fire separation requirement was first printed?

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    Default Re: Fire door history

    I didn't check further forward in the UBC (not forward past 1937), but there is that 1946/50 NYC code which has that 1/2 hour rating (with that "*" editorial note about maybe it was intended to be 1 hour).

    Unless someone has already done the research by reviewing all the historical model codes, and historical major city codes (NYC, LA. Chicago, etc), any further answer will have to wait until someone steps up and does such research.

    And that person is not going to be me.

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    Default Re: Fire door history

    SEE EDIT TO POST #9

    I ADDED ANOTHER FILE SHOWING THAT IF ... IF ... a dwelling has a private garage with MORE THAN 10 CARS ... (see that post and the revised file).

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    Default Re: Fire door history

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    SEE EDIT TO POST #9

    I ADDED ANOTHER FILE SHOWING THAT IF ... IF ... a dwelling has a private garage with MORE THAN 10 CARS ... (see that post and the revised file).
    10 cars?

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    Default Re: Fire door history

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    10 cars?
    Not "10" cars, "more than" 10 cars.

    A 10 car garage didn't need any fire separation in the 1927 UBC - remember, that was the "Roaring 20s" and cars were the new thing to have for the rich and playful.

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    Default Re: Fire door history

    Hi folks,

    I know you are all dying to have your very own set of the UBC archive, 1927-1994, so you too can look up the "legacy" codes without having to rely on Jerry for all of the answers. Yes, you too can have your very own, personalized set for a very reasonable fee (made payable to me).

    Just go to the U.C. Berkeley website and you can download them for free.

    http://digitalassets.lib.berkeley.edu/ubc/

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    Default Re: Fire door history

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Hi folks,

    I know you are all dying to have your very own set of the UBC archive, 1927-1994, so you too can look up the "legacy" codes without having to rely on Jerry for all of the answers. Yes, you too can have your very own, personalized set for a very reasonable fee (made payable to me).

    Just go to the U.C. Berkeley website and you can download them for free.

    http://digitalassets.lib.berkeley.edu/ubc/
    Okie Dokie ... here is the final say (and I stand corrected for the 1927 UBC as the codes are easier to read from these pdf files) after looking at the codes from the link Gunnar provided - which gives a better look at the codes (the CDs with the codes are difficult to use and read, the codes in the link Gunnar provided are much better and easier to read, albeit some have sideways and upside down pages, be that as it may be, it is still better than the CDs I have).

    The following all use Group I occupancy for Dwellings, and Group J, Division 1 occupancy for Private Garages.

    The codes in the link provide a different outcome FOR THE 1927 UBC, but not for the 1935 UBC and newer UBC codes.

    Keeping in mind from my other post that "Fire Separation" is listed in Section 503, Mixed Occupancy states as:
    (b) then covers the various "Fire Separations", (b)(1) is "Absolute Fire Separation" (not less than four hours); (2) is "Special Fire Separation" (not less than 3 hours); and (3) is "Ordinary Fire Separation" (not less than 1 hour)

    A= 4 hours; S=3 hours; O=1 hour; N= No Separation Required

    1927 UBC
    - Dwelling to Dwelling = Ordinary separation (1 hour - I got that part right from the codes on CD)
    - Dwelling to Private garage = Ordinary separation (1 hour - I got that part WRONG from the codes on CD ... HOWEVER ... keep reading as this changed in the next code)

    1935 UBC
    - Dwelling to Dwelling = No separation (the 1 hour from 1927 dropped to 'none required' in 1935)
    - Dwelling to Private garage = Ordinary separation (1 hour with a note: "Provided that three-fourths (3/4) of an inch of metal lath and plaster on the garage side and a self-closing, tight fitting one and three-eight (1 3/8) inch solid slab wood door shall be permitted where the private garage space will accommodate not more than four (4) automobiles.")

    What that note does is permit the wall to no longer be be Ordinary separation (1 hour) because alternate materials are used ... when the garage space accommodates 4 cars or less.

    The 1 hour separation is required only for garages of more than 4 cars.

    1937 UBC
    - Dwelling to Dwelling = No separation
    - Dwelling to Private garage = Ordinary separation (1 hour with the same note as at 1935 UBC - no need to repeat it here).

    The 1 hour separation is required only for garages of more than 4 cars.

    1940 UBC
    - Dwelling to Dwelling = No separation
    - Dwelling to Private garage = Ordinary separation (1 hour with the same note as at 1935 and 1937 UBC - no need to repeat it here).

    The 1 hour separation is required only for garages of more than 4 cars.

    1943 UBC
    - Dwelling to Dwelling = No separation
    - Dwelling to Private garage = Ordinary separation (1 hour with the same note as at 1935, 1937, and 1940 UBC - no need to repeat it here).

    The 1 hour separation is required only for garages of more than 4 cars.

    1946 UBC
    - Dwelling to Dwelling = No separation
    - Dwelling to Private garage = Ordinary separation (1 hour with the same note as at 1935, 1937, 1940, and 1943 UBC - no need to repeat it here).

    The 1 hour separation is required only for garages of more than 4 cars.

    1949 UBC
    - Dwelling to Dwelling = No separation
    - Dwelling to Private garage = Ordinary separation (1 hour with a change in the note: "Provided that materials, as approved for one-hour fire-resistive construction on the garage side and a self-closing, tight-fitting solid wood door one and three-eights inches (1 3/8") in thickness, shall be permitted.")

    What the note for the 1949 UBC does is permit the wall to no longer have to be Ordinary separation (1 hour) even for more than 4 cars.

    1952 UBC
    - Dwelling to Dwelling = No separation
    - Dwelling to Private garage = 1 hour (the previous "A", "S", and "O" terms have been dropped and replaced with the number of hours; the note is the same as for 1949)

    What the note for the 1952 UBC does is permit the wall to no longer have to be Ordinary separation (1 hour) even for more than 4 cars.

    End result is:

    - The statement that "The 1927 UBC required 1 hour separation between the dwelling and the garage" is TRUE.

    - The statement that "1 hour separation between the dwelling and the garage has been required since the 1927 UBC" is NOT TRUE - that requirement went away in 1935 for garage with 4 cars or less, and the requirement went away in even more in 1949.

    Here is an example of why that statement is not true (in addition to those above where the notes came into the code, this may be easier to understand as the wording is closer to modern and current language and wording):
    - From the 1964 UBC:
    - - 503 (c) Types of Occupancy Separation. Occupancy separations shall be classed as "Four-hour Fire-Resistive", "Three-Hour Fire-Resistive", "Two-Hour Fire-Resistive", and "One-Hour Fire-Resistive".
    - - - 1. (4-hour - I'm just going to type the 1-hour description)
    - - - 2. (3-hour - I'm just going to type the 1-hour description)
    - - - 3. (2-hour - I'm just going to type the 1-hour description)
    - - - 4. A "One-Hour Fire-Resistive Occupancy Separation" shall be of not less than one-hour fire-resistive construction. All openings in such separation shall be protected by a fire assembly having a one-hour fire-resistive rating.

    When other materials are used, even when permitted, the stated rating goes away (the wall is no longer a one-hour fire-resistive separation, the wall has been allowed to be altered from such rated separation).

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 02-01-2019 at 08:03 PM. Reason: typo 1925 should have been 1927 - I corrected it
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    Default Re: Fire door history

    Jerry,

    Did you see the ads in the '40s era books? I particularly liked the ads for asbestos-containing building materials.

    Also, the cost of some of the books. $2.00 for the 1943 UBC. I have seen many of the old NEC books that were $1.00, but NFPA is selling these out-of-date code pdfs for $25.00. That's total crap.

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    Default Re: Fire door history

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Did you see the ads in the '40s era books? I particularly liked the ads for asbestos-containing building materials.
    Yes, and I suspect that the ads are from companies who which helped underwrite the expense of the various cities which worked together to create those first UBC codes, this presumption is based on the copyright statement in the first (1927) UBC.

    The cost of the codes to the cities which helped write it was nothing, the cost to cities which did not help write it, but which want to use it, will be commensurate with the cost of those cities which helped write it (something like that, I'd have to read it again to actually quote it).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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