THINK THE LAST TWO POSTS COVERED EVERYTHING ABOUT SLEEVES? THINK AGAIN, AND READ ON! (part 3 on sleeves)

In our last post we talked about sleeves and the fact that the field installations need to match the requirements in the submitted firestop assemblies. Let’s look at some examples:

Here is the verbiage from a random UL listed firestop detail.

Steel Sleeve – (Optional, Not Shown) – Nom 16 in. (406 mm) diam (or smaller) Schedule 10 (or heavier) steel sleeve cast or grouted into floor or wall assembly. Sleeve may extend a max of 2 in. (51 mm) above top of floor or beyond either surface of wall. As an alternate, nom 16 in. (406 mm) diam (or smaller) min 0.028 (0.71 mm) thick galvanized sheet steel sleeve cast or grouted into floor or wall assembly flush with floor or wall surfaces.

This detail actually allows for three options. Option One is no sleeve. Option two, you can use a Sch 10 steel sleeve. Option three, allows for a galvanized sheet metal sleeve no less than .028” which I think is 24 gauge. Remember that doesn’t mean its okay to use 26 gauge or to use non-galvanized sheet metal sleeves.

Here is another example that I pulled it from my last project submittal.

Steel Sleeve – (Optional) – Nom 14 in. (356 mm) diam (or smaller) Schedule 10 (or heavier) steel pipe or No. 26 ga (0.022 in. or 0.56 mm thick) sheet steel sleeve with square anchor flange spot welded to the sleeve at approx mid-height. Sleeve cast or grouted in place flush with floor or wall surfaces. Steel pipe sleeve may project a max of 2 in. (51 mm) beyond the floor or wall surfaces.

This detail actually allows for similar options as our first example. It even allows for a lighter gauge sleeve, but please note there are TWO CRITERIA to pay attention to…

1) 26 gauge or heavier (and yes I carry a sheet metal gauge on my field walks and I check this)

2) This detail requires that the sheet steel sleeve must have a square anchor flange spot welded to the sleeve at approx mid-height. Let’s face it, once the concrete is poured no one is going to confirm this short of trying to knock out a few of the sleeves to see if they come out easily.

This is why I should never write contracts for firestop installers, because I would link my contracts to my firestop submittals. If this detail were used I would have a line in the contract stating that contractors must use either Sch 10 sleeves or sheet steel sleeve must have a square anchor flange spot welded to the sleeve at approx mid-height or they bear the liability of being non-compliant. There are little points like this all through a firestop submittal. My contracts would be like reading a really boring encyclopedia, but excellent for insomnia or litigation.

So, let’s say you are on a project right now and the guys used thin gauge sheet metal for the sleeves, or maybe they used 26 ga sheet metal but it did not put the anchor flange on. You can still firestop it right?

NOT if you want to be code compliant! One of my old team mates used to say that the building code offers a minimum standard to which you should build. To build at any standard LESS than the code is criminal, and as a professional who should know the industry it is criminal negligence.

If the sheet metal sleeve is 26ga and you are missing the anchor flange, the only recourse you have to remain code complaint is to:

  • remove the sleeve from the opening
  • contact your firestop manufacturer to see if they have a detail that will work in this case
  • contact your firestop manufacturer requesting they write an Engineering Judgment for the situation you have created that is not going to be code compliant.

Halpert Life Safety pre-construction meetings cover a wide array of common firestop problems in hopes of bringing light to all of them early in the project so the team encounters fewer surprises late in the game. This issue surrounding sleeves is one of the many things we discuss in our pre-construction meetings.

We break into the seemingly little tiny things like this, because my former boss trained his team to think about how it would look if you had to defend your actions or words in court. If you claim to be a professional, then you are also claiming to be aware of these small things. Our job in the pre-construction meetings is to make sure that the liability position is reduced for EVERYONE on the team.

Before we go, let’s look at one more example from a different manufacturer:

Metallic Sleeve — (Optional) Nom 32 in. diam (or smaller) Schedule 40 (or heavier) steel sleeve cast or grouted into floor or wall assembly, flush with floor or wall surfaces or extending a max of 3 in. above floor or beyond both surfaces of wall.

2A. Sheet Metal Sleeve — (Optional) Max 6 in. diam, min 26 ga galv steel provided with a 26 ga galv steel square flange spot welded to the sleeve at approx mid-height, or flush with bottom of sleeve in floors, and sized to be a min of 2 in. larger than the sleeve diam. The sleeve is to be cast in place and may extend a max of 4 in. below the bottom of the deck and a max of 1 in. above the top surface of the concrete floor.

2B. Sheet Metal Sleeve — (Optional) – Max 12 in. diam, min 24 ga galv steel provided with a 24 ga galv steel square flange spot welded to the sleeve at approx mid-height, or flush with bottom of sleeve in floors, and sized to be a min of 2 in. larger than the sleeve diam. The sleeve is to be cast in place and may extend a max of 4 in. below the bottom of the deck and a max of 1 in. above the top surface of the concrete floor.

From this, you can see that the size of the allowable sleeve has a direct correlation to the thickness of the metal sleeve. We might  discuss this in more detail in a later post. For now, just make sure your sub-contractors are not creating scenarios that will make it impossible for your firestop contractors to firestop in a compliant way. If you have questions about this, we are happy to join you for a pre-construction meeting and help get your team on the same page and understand how their choices for the project can impact the projects liability for everyone involved. This may mean that the firestop contractor needs to obtain different documentation or it may mean that the MEPS contractors need to make different choices. We can help make sure your team is making the right choice.

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Here is part one of this series, and part two.

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Halpert Life Safety Consulting LLC’s

“Saving Lives for the Life of your Building” TM

Our mission is to make a colossal impact on the level of life safety of your building and on the talent of your people. We provide consultation, training, quality control and third party special inspection related to firestop and passive fire protection. We consult for the building industry in the New York/New Jersey (NY/NJ) metropolitan area, as well as across the United States and internationally.

WHEN IS A SLEEVE NOT A SLEEVE WHEN DEALING WITH FIRESTOP? (part 2 on sleeves)

WHEN IS A SLEEVE NOT A SLEEVE WHEN DEALING WITH FIRESTOP? (part 2 on sleeves)

A sleeve is not a sleeve (or should we say not allowed in a firestop assembly) when it does not comply with the requirements of the submitted UL listed detail. It could be non compliant for a variety of reasons:

  • Wrong size
  • Wrong gauge
  • Wrong material (galvanized, plastic etc)

One unique thing about sleeves is that often times you will see that they are OPTIONAL. Bear in mind that they are not ALWAYS optional. If the UL listed assembly does not mention a sleeve, then it can not be used with that detail. If it does not say OPTIONAL then it MUST be used in order to remain compliant. The other choice you have is to find a different UL listed assembly that accurately matches your field condition. Optional means just that, you can have a sleeve or not, as you wish.

The explanation behind why this is important will take us to a discussion about how all this stuff is tested, but in order to give you an answer and keep that answer short, let’s just say that anything metal will conduct heat and any additional heat will impact how the firestop will behave in a fire scenario. Sometimes that is good; and sometimes its not. Another easy explanation of why, is simply to say that if the field condition does not match the paperwork, the installation is non-compliant and you are putting your company in a position of liability if you attempt to use it.

Let’s discuss what we mean when saying that the paperwork has to match. That means:

  • The size of the sleeve (both the diameter and the gauge)
  • The size of the pipe and any insulation thickness
  • The annular space (space between the inside edge of the sleeve and the outside edge of the penetrating item)
  • Everything else listed in the detail (yes it all has to match- thickness of the concrete, hourly rating materials used to firestop the assembly…)

The sleeve that is attached to the concrete formwork is often a thin sheet metal sleeve. The requirement in the listed detail often will say something like Schedule 10 or heavier…if the installer is using a thin sheet metal sleeve and this is what is required by the submitted detail, it will not be compliant.

In our next blog post we will look at some examples.  If you missed our last post on sleeves check it out here.

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Halpert Life Safety Consulting LLC’s

“Saving Lives for the Life of your Building” TM

Our mission is to make a colossal impact on the level of life safety of your building and on the talent of your people. We provide consultation, training, quality control and third party special inspection related to firestop and passive fire protection. We consult for the building industry in the New York/New Jersey (NY/NJ) metropolitan area, as well as across the United States and internationally.

NEEDLESS SLEEVES IN FIRESTOP AND A STORY ABOUT A ROAST

We have done a multitude of training classes for everyone from architects and engineers to building inspectors and fire marshals as well as general contractors and firestop installers. If you are interested in our training contact us! One of my favorite questions to ask architects during our training is, WHY DO YOU REQUIRE SLEEVES IN YOUR SPECIFICATIONS?

There may be some cases where sleeves are required to stand above the surface of a floor to prevent potential water movement. They are rather handy in block walls to create a spot for pipes or cables to run at a later date without coring or when they are laid with formwork. I’m not talking about these requirements. I’m talking about other scenarios, such as when cables are going through a gypsum wall and any number of other times they are called out in specifications when they are not serving an obvious function. To date I have not gotten a clear answer from any architectural firm. If you are in this line of work PLEASE write to me and set the record straight.

So, I have a story to tell you that is related to this very topic.  In case you don’t know I like food and I enjoy cooking, especially with friends and family. My friend was cooking a roast for dinner. He was getting everything together and at one point he cut the ends off the roast. His wife asked him why and he stopped for a moment and said. “Honestly, I have no idea. I learned to do this from my Mom and she always cut the ends off, so I do.” He was perplexed by this question now, so the next day he called his Mom and asked her why she always cut the ends off her roast. His Mother was an excellent chef and would easily clear this up. My friend was dismayed when his Mother answered, “You know, I’m not sure why. I learned from my mother and she always cut the ends off; so I always do.” That weekend the family was all getting together for dinner and my friends Grandmother was there. He and his Mother approached Grandma and asked the obvious question. Grandma answered, “We were poor and only had one baking pan, so the roasts never fit. I had to cut the ends off to make it fit in the pan.” Two generations of chefs were needlessly cutting the ends off from delicious roasts, for no valid reason.

In the same vain, when I ask architects why they spec sleeves through gypsum walls. I often get a similar answer. It has always been in the specs, so we have not taken it out.

Just like the ends of the roast getting wasted, this specification requirement is causing wasted labor and materials. If you have a sleeve in a gypsum wall, it will require firestop both on the inside AND the outside of the sleeve. By eliminating the sleeve, firestop is only needed in the annular space between the wall and the penetration. (*Note exception below). This will use less firestop material and reduce labor cost.

Now, don’t run around saying sleeves are not needed, because there may actually be some reason they are. I have been told that there are electrical code requirements that mandate sleeves, however; to date no one has been able to show me these requirements. I am not sure if they are old requirements that are no longer mandated or if no one bothered to follow through with the research and show me that the requirements actually exist. So, before you change things, ask the questions. Then, please let me know what answers you get. In the meantime, enjoy your roasts with the ends in tact.

*The exception might be when an installation requires mineral wool, in which case the sleeve is required to contain the mineral wool. This is not common, so check the firestop details to be sure.

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Halpert Life Safety Consulting LLC’s

“Saving Lives for the Life of your Building” TM

Our mission is to make a colossal impact on the level of life safety of your building and on the talent of your people. We provide consultation, training, quality control and third party special inspection related to firestop and passive fire protection. We consult for the building industry in the New York/New Jersey (NY/NJ) metropolitan area, as well as across the United States and internationally.

HOW TO FIND THE INFORMATION YOU NEED IN A UL DETAIL (through penetrations)

Have you ever looked at a UL listed detail for through penetrations and not known where, in the garble, to find the information you are looking for? There is a lot of information on that one page. You may have read through the whole thing just looking for one piece of information. This is a guide that will show you how to find the information you are looking for more quickly.

The way UL listed details are organized is very logical. It starts with the biggest element and rolls through to the smallest. So, when you look at a UL listed detail, the information goes in the same general order.

  • Item 1 will tell you about the rated assembly – Is it a gypsum wall or a concrete floor…etc… and how is it constructed. This is critical in some cases, for example an assembly for a shaft wall needs to be addressed differently than a standard wall- regardless if we are talking gypsum walls of concrete/block walls. That is a topic for another day.
  • Then, the document will tell you about the penetration – size, material, description etc…maybe even brand
  • It will end with the firestop requirements – discussing things like backing material, sealant and any other requirements relevant to that individual UL listed detail.

This is standard for every through penetration system. One thing that will vary is the additional information that may be required. The location, where you will find it in the document, will follow the same logic. If a sleeve is allowed or required you will see that just after the information about the assembly and before the through penetration.

If the penetration is insulated you will find that information between the through penetration information and the firestop assembly information. Check out our other blog posts for examples.

Now, with this information, you can look at any firestop detail; and depending on the specific information needed for the installation or the inspection, you will know where to look to get any information you need, without having to read through the entire document.

There are a few commonly overlooked things that are important when evaluating if an installer is using the correct UL listed detail for the application. If an installer or inspector offers only a cursory glance over the firstop submittals, these elements are often overlooked.

  • Annular space requirements- You will see a minimum and a maximum annular space in through penetration details. That information will be found in the same section that is discussing the through penetration because this information is related to the through penetrations relationship to the assembly it is penetrating.
  • Certain assemblies will require unique elements such as framing on gypsum rated assemblies, compression of the backing material or other elements
  • Anchors are a critical element of some systems. Drywall screws are often unacceptable in gypsum applications. Concrete screws may be acceptable but you will only know after reviewing the information in the project submittal.
  • Details that do not match. A example- WL5000 detail will be required for an insulated pipe, but you may need a separate document for fiberglass insulation and another for black rubber (AB/PVC insulation). see more on that here.

There is one important take away for you. If you remember nothing else after reading this, remember that the field conditions need to match the details in the submitted document. If you do anything less, then you are opening yourself and others to liability. With this in mind, it is not recommended to give just a cursory glance at the paperwork. You need to know that the installations are compliant, not just close enough, not just red stuff in the hole around the pipes.

If you want more information about how to find the right UL listed detail for a particular application see our older blogs that cover that here and here to explain the UL nomenclature, or test your knowledge of UL nomenclature.  This will help you identify a knowledgable installer or inspector.

Stay tuned to this blog for more information on how to identify proper installations or email us to be added to the distribution list so you will be notified of new blog posts. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

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Halpert Life Safety Consulting LLC’s

“Saving Lives for the Life of your Building” TM

Our mission is to make a colossal impact on the level of life safety of your building and on the talent of your people. We provide consultation, training, quality control and third party special inspection related to firestop and passive fire protection. We consult for the building industry in the New York/New Jersey (NY/NJ) metropolitan area, as well as across the United States and internationally.

Do this and your insurance company might not have to pay if your building burns

The article below is basically about a building that was insured against fire, but because the owner did not properly maintain the buildings sprinkler system, as is required by code; the insurance company did not have to pay after a fire. In fact the owner had to repay the advance that they were given.

You can read the article below, but I wanted to start a conversation about passive fire protection.  The building codes require rated walls be maintained so when your IT crews run new lines or new tenants renovate an office space or whatever may happen to any building, with any occupancy type, that could interfere with the integrity of a rated wall.  Would the insurance company be able to identify this as a risk that would allow them to not have to pay out during a fire?   The building codes are changing and now many projects are required to have third party special inspection of firestop installations. All it will take is one major loss and insurance companies will look more closely at passive fire protection.  Also you will find that premiums will change and the way premiums are evaluated will change.

If you don’t want to run this risk, contact Halpert Life Safety and we will help you assess the risk in your building, we can help with due diligence before you purchase a building or during construction we can help ensure that your contractors are not missing anything.  Check out next weeks blog post to learn about a major problem with ductwork that is very rarely done correctly. (at least from my experience…if I am wrong I’d love to know…write to me)  It doesn’t matter if you are on a project in China, the Caribbean, Las Vegas or New York there are certain problems that are common. I can say that because Ive been there.  Stay tuned to learn more about them!  Together we all can be part of a movement- “Saving Lives for the Life of the Building.”tm

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/east/2011/07/20/206553.htm#.T8O55FcdLD0.email

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Halpert Life Safety Consulting LLC’s

“Saving Lives for the Life of your Building” TM

Our mission is to make a colossal impact on the level of life safety of your building and on the talent of your people. We provide consultation, training, quality control and third party special inspection related to firestop and passive fire protection. We consult for the building industry in the New York/New Jersey (NY/NJ) metropolitan area, as well as across the United States and internationally.

Key questions for your firestop installer/inspector

If you are a building owner hiring a third party special inspector or a contractor hiring a firestop installer you want to know that you are bringing someone onto your team who knows what they are doing.  This and subsequent blog posts will cover some questions you can ask to be sure these individuals are competent.  The problem is you need to know the answer and the logic behind the answer; so you can gauge the response you are given…so here goes.  Let’s start with a discussion of insulated pipes.  The first question is pretty simple.

Question 1:  What UL listed assembly would you use to firestop an insulated pipe?

Answer: You would use a WL5000 series detail for a gypsum wall and likely a CAJ5000 series detail for a concrete floor or wall, though WJ5000 or FA5000 would work for walls and floors respectively.

Why does this question matter:  If an inspector/installer knows the UL nomenclature (the naming system used by Underwriters Laboratories- the primary source for third party testing of firestop) they can more readily flip through the firestop submittals and find the proper details to inspect/install to. If they don’t know how to find the UL detail they are probably not referencing it during inspection/installation which means the best they can do is guess on how the installation should be completed.  This is a liability for everyone involved from the installation firm to the building owner and designer because you won’t know if the installation is truly compliant with the project plans, specifications, submittals or building code.

Other BLOG articles go into this in greater detail and additionally explains the UL nomenclature in a general way that is very useful to inspectors and installers alike.

Please let me know if this information is useful and other topics you would like us to over here.  The more you learn the better you can build and together we can build better buildings “Saving Lives for the Life of your Building”tm

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Halpert Life Safety Consulting LLC’s

“Saving Lives for the Life of your Building” TM

Our mission is to make a colossal impact on the level of life safety of your building and on the talent of your people. We provide consultation, training, quality control and third party special inspection related to firestop and passive fire protection. We consult for the building industry in the New York/New Jersey (NY/NJ) metropolitan area, as well as across the United States and internationally.

Electrical and Low Voltage Contractors

Welcome to this section of our firestop blog where we will discuss general information related to firestop electrical contractors scope of work. Some of these posts will be repeated on the other trades segments because they are relevant there as well. Our focus with this blog is to educate the construction industry on firestop and improve the level of life safety on all buildings. We have worked on projects all over the US and internationally so our breadth of experience will be an asset to your next project, whether you hire us to help make sure it runs smoothly or if you just stay tuned to this blog in order to improve your own work. This is Halpert Life Safety where we focus on “Saving Lives for the Life of the Building.”TM If you are a contractor who subs out the firestop scope, you still carry the liability of your subs work so you may want to know a little about it, and this blog is designed to do just that! If you self perform your firestop scope you definitely should stay tuned because this blog will help you reduce your companies liability on your projects. If you are a building inspector, third party special inspector, you will want to keep tabs on this blog as well and we would love to hear what you like or what you think we should add. If you want to be a guest blogger then by all means let us know. Let’s get started with our first key information segment. In order to know how to look critically at firestop you have to understand some basic information about the UL listed assemblies. So please start here