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Firestop Movement New Test Criteria

Have you ever wondered if building movement may impact a firestop installations ability to perform?   Fire rated joints have movement listed as part of their systems, but until now the through penetrations did not. There is a new test standard that will address this missing element.

ASTM E3037 is an interesting new standard that may be valuable to architects, engineers, specifiers and others.  It looks at the movement that a firestop system can (or can’t) accommodate.  It looks at movement in two directions.

  1.  in and out of the assembly
  2.  perpendicular to the assembly

I have a handful of questions and you likely do as well. It will be interesting to see how this all pans out as people start to apply it in the field.  Here is a great start to understanding what this test standard is, how it is conducted and possibly applied.

Thank you to UL and Luke Woods for putting this video together for everyone.  You can watch it here.

 

PS thanks to John Valiulus for sharing this

T-ratings

If you have been following this blog for a while you are likely familiar with T ratings. If you aren’t, you can check them out here. If you already know about T ratings, you can skip that link if you prefer.

I cant tell you how many projects I have been involved with that don’t adhere to the T-rating requirements in the building code.  People say, “We’ve never done that before.”, too which I historically responded with, it’s been in the codes since before the IBC (which was adopted in 2000- I believe the city of Phoenix was the first to adopt the new code.) but the T rating requirements existed before the IBC. What I didn’t know was WHEN were they first introduced and why.  That is until I met Glenn!

 

If you have been following this blog, you likely know that I am a total code geek?

Well so is this guy, Glenn. He takes it to a whole new level because he has a stash of old code cooks. That makes him the perfect guy when you have a question about code history. I wanted to know when T ratings first came into the codes.  Glenn was able to tell me. Check out this awesome video he shared if you want to know for yourself.  Follow him on Linked in, YouTube or any venue you like.

 

NFPA 285- Test for exterior facades

If you have a building in your community that has an exterior face of aluminum panels with polyethylene core. Here is a great video from UL that shows you the unfortunate fire test results you might expect.  These fire tests are critical to understanding how buildings should be designed and the intrinsic link to the role of fire fighters if there is a fire in your community. Thanks to Sean DeCrane, Dwayne Sloan, UL and IAFF.

UL Future Built Forum- Combustible Facade Risks- FDNY

Today is another discussion from the Future Built Forum last year held by UL, FDNY and IAFF. This particular presentation was from FDNY and discussed the risks of combustible facades. You can review it here.

Thanks to UL, FDNY and IAFF for all of the information they have allowed us to share. If you have the opportunity to attend one of these events in your region, don’t hesitate. It is time well spent.

UL Future Built Forum- Fundamentals of Facades

This presentation goes over some fundaments of the building envelope. If you are involved in construction this is another valuable presenatation from the Future Built Forum last January hosted by UL, FDNY and IAFF.

Please take time to review the presentation here.

All the best,

Sharron

UL Future Built Forum- Exterior Facade Flamability- Global Overview

Do you want to take a look at exterior facades on a global scale. This presentation was from the UL Future Built Forum a year ago and as can be expected is packed with valuable information. You can check it out here.

UL Future Built Forum- Combustible Facades

There has been a great deal of discussion about the exterior facades of buildings and sadly there have been stories of how detrimental facade choices can be. This prompted a discussion at a forum in January of last year that was sponsored by UL, NYPD and IAFF. The next three blog posts will be dedicated to the discussions from this forum.

This first one is from Jesse Beitel from Jensen Hughes. You can see it here.  Take some time to think about the projects in your area and how or if this could impact your community.

For those of you who think that a similar fire can’t happen in the US, here is an article that would disagree with that stance.

Enjoy!

 

 

NJ DCA Firestop Classes

Hi everyone,

I wanted to share the 2020 New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Firestop class schedule with anyone who wants to join us for a little fun.

There are three classes where you can find me this semester and they are all new. I have completely reformatted the 1705.17 Firestop Special Inspection Class. We will have a class on Firestop Common Problems.  We will have a Learn and Burn, but you will only get one shot at this class.

1705.17- FIRESTOP SPECIAL INSPECTION

What does the class cover:

  • When is special inspection required and when is it not?
  • Who can do the work?
  • What does the special inspector look at?
  • What do they NOT look at?
  • We will take the codes and standards and pull them together so you can apply them on your next project
  • How do I know if the person on the site is capable and qualified?

We have completely revamped this class from the previous one, so it presents the information in a much more user friendly way. We hope you agree and we look forward to seeing you there.

Please know that this class is not designed to teach you HOW to do the work. That information can’t be jammed into a one day course. IMHO.  This class covers just the basics to determine if you have the right person doing firestop special inspection on your team, or not.

Who is the class designed for:

Building Inspectors: Special Inspection of firestop is not currently something you can get a state approval for. Here is the Special Inspector Certification Handbook.  As the document says, “There are eight separate types of Special Inspector certification each of which has its own requirements…”  You will notice that firestop is NOT one of the 8. That means each individual jurisdiction is responsible for approving a special inspector. This class will help you do that.

Building Owners & Architects: Did you know that the architect, is responsible for reviewing the inspector and approving them, as well as reviewing and approving the inspection reports. We will get into that for both the AOR and the AHJ.

The classes will be held on April 7th in Mays Landing and May 6 in Budd Lake 2020

FIRESTOP- COMMON ISSUES

What does the class cover:

Hold on to your hat if you come to this class, because we have a WHOLE LOT of information to throw at you and then we have to pull it all back together so it makes sense before we are done. We will start the class with the basics, vocabulary, building codes and standards so we make sure everyone is on the same page. I know that sounds BOOORING right?!?  It won’t be because in the middle of all this we will break into some magic tricks (I’m very serious about this!- MAGIC TRICKS that you will use on your job sites and people will wonder…”How’d they do that!”)

  • If you are on a concrete project, you will have a few new tricks to review firestop
  • If you have a hollow core concrete project, we are going to scare you a little (sorry…not sorry)
  • If you are on a wood framed project we will go over some of the most common issues you want to keep an eye out for
  • If you are on a Hambro style project (Concrete over metal deck with gypsum ceiling all part of the rated assembly), the magic trick will require more work, but I know you will be capable when we are done and you will be armed with a whole new way to look at firestop.
  • Any type of construction will have gypsum walls so we will throw a bit of that at you as well.

If you come to this class, get a good nights sleep and a big cup of coffee. We are going to go fast all day long and you will look at firestop differently when we are done.

Who is the class designed for:

This class is great for anyone who ever looks at firestop. Facilities Managers, Building Inspectors, Arson Investigators, GC’s, any sub involved in firestop whether they self perform firestop or not, Insurance Investigators, Architects & Engineers and more.  Don’t tell anyone but this is a fun class. Let’s just say, you won’t be in your seat the whole day.

The classes will be held on April 2 in Whippany, April 30 in Atlantic City Ballys,  and May 7th in Waretown 2020

LEARN AND BURN!

I  am so excited to bring this class to you and before I tell you about it I have to give a HUGE shout out to STI for hosting it for us.  We could not do this without them.  We can handle the learn part in any classroom or any job site, but the burn part we need their help. STI has a burn facility where they test their firestop through penetrations and rated joints and you get to see where it all happens, and how it happens. We have been talking about this for two years and we finally pulled all the pieces together.

I can’t wait to see you there!

What does the class cover:

You see this firestop smeared all over the place and some people wonder if it really works. This class you will get to see for yourself. We will put a gypsum wall on a furnace and BURN IT!!! Well, we will subject it to a mini burn. (Trust me you don’t want to sit there watching a wall for an hour…its almost like watching paint dry, but it smells worse!) So we will do an abbreviated burn test, complete with the hose stream test. (That part is impressive) We will talk codes and standards and a little about how to dig into a firestop submittal, because that is the key to getting the firestop right.

Who is the class designed for:

This is another class that would be great for anyone who ever looks at firestop. Are you a Facilities Manager, Building Inspector, Arson Investigator, GC, any sub involved in firestop, Insurance Investigator, Architect & Engineer and more.  Join us for our LEARN AND BURN at STI in Somerville NJ on May 13th 2020!

If you want to register for any of these classes or see the other classes offer by Rutgers and DCA go to this link for more information.

If you have questions about firestop before the class, feel free to reach out to me. I am happy to help if I am able.  SEE YOU IN CLASS THIS SPRING!

Fire Meets It’s Match

So, the mail comes and my son is looking through a magazine that had come. Suddenly he says, “Hey, look! There’s MOM!”  I thought he was being funny, until my other son went over and they started talking about the article and, “Hey there’s another picture!”  Sure enough and here it is!

 

 

New Industry Standard for Architects- Part Two

Last week we mentioned a new standard for firestop installers. Today we are going to talk about a new standard for Special Inspection of Firestop.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

We find that a number of special inspection firms who do an array of special inspection tasks are asked to do “this fire thing” and they comply with the clients request without complying with the actual requirements of the standards that are written into the building codes. This causes a liability for everyone- the owner, the builder, the community…. But it is a liability for the architect as well because they are responsible for reviewing the inspector as well as their reports.  It is written into the inspection standards as such and since those standards are part of the building code, there is a legal obligation to conform with the standards.

If you have questions about this and you are a building official or an architect, I am happy to send you a document that is designed to help you vet a special inspection firm so you can be sure they are qualified and competent according to the current codes. If you email me from an email address of a building or fire official or an architects office I will gladly forward you this document.

WHAT MIGHT AN ARCHITECT CHANGE IN THIER SPECIFICATIONS

Our discussion today is on relatively new standard that architects may want to consider writing into their specifications. ASTM E3038 is the “Standard Practice for Assessing and Qualifying Candidates as Inspectors of Firestop Systems and Fire-Resistive Joint Systems”. By including this in your project specifications you are asking for a way of confirming that whoever is conducting this scope of work has a certain level of training that enables them to complete this scope of work in accordance with the standards that are already written into the codes (ASTM E2174 and ASTM E2393 for inspection of firestop penetrations and rated joints respectively)

If you want to make your life easy, just throw this requirement into your quality segment of your firestop through penetrations specifications. If you want to know more about this, feel free to reach out to us for more details or purchase a copy of the standard at the ASTM website.

WHAT DOES THE STANDARD REQUIRE?

Here are just a few of the requirements. For all the information please visit ASTM and purchase the standard.

  • Two years in construction dealing with firestop under the direction of an inspector
  • Two years in firestop QC ( not just QC, but specifically related to the  firestop industry)
  • Four years working in the firestop industry compiling submittals or field installations
  • Be a registered design professional WITH experience in the firestop industry
  • Pass an exam covering firestop
  • Attend firestop training (the standard has more information on this requirement, but having a manufacturers training card is not sufficient to meet this requirement)

If you are a code official, remember that once you have approved a set of plans and specifications, then the build team is legally obligated to provide the level of quality in the construction documents, so even if you can enforce it per the building code, you can based on the approved specifications the owner and architect have agreed to for the project.

Keep learning and keep improving!  If we can help don’t hesitate to contact us!