New UL Requirements Take Effect in 2007

© 2006 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Fall 2006
Author: Dan Dombkowski
Pages 68


New UL Requirements Take Effect in 2007
By Dan Dombkowski, Marketing Manager for Commercial Door Operators, Chamberlain

If you install fire doors with release devices, the rules of the game will change on Jan. 1, 2007. UL 864, the Underwriters Laboratories standard that applies to these devices, has been revised to reflect changes in industry practice, revisions to codes, and technological advancements.

The most important change in the ninth edition of UL 864 is that all release devices must include a battery backup. This can be provided by the device’s own integrated battery backup system or through the fire alarm panel.

Here are some common questions and answers about the newly revised UL 864.

Are manufacturers ready to offer release devices that meet the new requirements?

Generally, yes. Over the past two years, manufacturers have been redesigning their products to conform to the new standard. Devices that were manufactured to the eighth edition of UL 864 can be sold and installed after the December 31, 2006, deadline, but only until inventories are exhausted.

Does the revision specify the kind of battery backup required?

A basic release device without battery backup must be powered from a UL 1481-regulated power supply with battery backup. In most cases, this will be the fire alarm control panel, which is required to have a battery backup system.

Does this mean that I must coordinate installation with the fire alarm installer?

In this case, yes. The fire alarm installation company will need to run power and alarm leads to the area(s) where the basic model will be installed. You should note that this will cause the fire door to drop on any false alarm.

What happens in the case of a fire drill? Will the release device be activated and drop the door?

It shouldn’t. Typically, fire alarm panels (like those used in schools) have a drill or evacuation switch that activates only the notification circuit that triggers strobes, horn/strobes, etc. This type of fire drill should not cause the door to drop.

What happens in the case of a false alarm, such as when a person activates an alarm pull station?

When an alarm is activated, the new UL revision mandates that the alarm input cannot be cancelled or reversed. So, when a non-battery backup model is put into alarm, it cannot be prevented from causing the door to drop.

If you are installing a release device in a place where false alarms are a concern, it’s best to choose a release device that has its own integrated battery backup system.
This setup has the benefits of eliminating the need to coordinate with the fire alarm panel installer, and it eliminates callbacks to reset the door after a false alarm.

Are there any other important new requirements?

Yes. All release devices must provide alarm and trouble relays that connect to the fire alarm control panel. These relays provide an indication of when the release device is either in an alarm state or inoperable (in a trouble condition).

The relays are not required to be attached to the alarm panel unless the local code or the authority having jurisdiction, such as the inspecting fire marshal, requires it.

Are there unique requirements for a release device that is used to control a motor operator?

A release device used with a commercial door operator can also be installed to stand alone from the fire system. The alarm and trouble relays mentioned above are also present in this model. Unlike the battery backup model for non-motorized applications, this model can only be powered from 120 VAC. To accommodate higher voltages and three-phase power, a transformer is available as an option.

For more information about the ninth edition of UL 864, watch for an upcoming new DASMA Technical Data Sheet (TDS). When approved, the new TDS will be posted at