Smoke Barrier Part 3

If you have a smoke barrier on your project, you will have to pay attention to the firestop in a whole new way. 

Yesterday we talked about fire rated joints in smoke barriers. Today we are going to tackle Step 3-  

Are you ready? 

Grab your list of smoke barriers and then talk with each of your trades (mechanical, electrical, plumbing sprinkler and anyone else who is poking a hole in the rated assemblies- the list may be longer than you think). The question you need to ask everyone is “what penetrations will you have through this smoke barrier?” then ask, “what firestop system do you have for that penetration?”  Then look at the details and see what L ratings they have.   

That is the easy part. Step 4 is the hard part, and we will go over that tomorrow.  

If you want some help organizing this paperwork I want to invite you to a free training that is designed to help you understand how to plan your project a little better, at least related to firestop 

Here is the link. If you check it out, please let me know what you think about it and if you find it valuable, please share it with people on your team and on social media so we can help others as well.  

Check back tomorrow for the final step- this one’s tough, but critical to compliance. If a construction defect lawyer got their hands on this and you didn’t do this right…YIKES.  

As always, if you have questions just reach out to me, your favorite firestop manufacturer, firestop installer or your local firestop special inspector and see if they can help you.  In fact- if you are in one of those roles, please feel free to put your contact info in here so people can find you. Even if you are my competitor- let people know who you are, where you are and what you do so they can get help when they need it. 

Then check back tomorrow for the final step.  

#BuildBetter #FirestopCoffeeBreakTraining #SmokeBarrier

Smoke Barrier Part 2

Yesterday I gave you the first step on how to tackle smoke barriers. That was FIND THEM. So today I wanted to help you with step 2. You take your list of fire rated walls and possibly floors and see if you will have fire resistance rated joints that will connect either floor to floor, wall to wall or wall to floor.  

Let’s assume your list you have shows the following 

Floor- concrete PT deck 

Walls- Block walls, gypsum shaft walls and typical gypsum walls 

Run through this list of questions: 

Do you have any joints in that PT deck that require protection?  If so, find that detail and be sure it has an L rating listed.  

You will need similar firestop details for any head of wall, wall to wall and bottom of wall joints in your smoke barriers.  

“Bottom of wall?” you ask?  Yes, because many of these will be shaft walls and you will need bottom of wall firestop in shafts. If you question why please go to my YouTube channel and find the video about stairs and that should clear up any questions you have. 

If you have shaft walls, they will be different details. If you need help with that stay tuned because we will do a whole shaft wall discussion at some point. I just wanted to give you a heads up, so you know to look closer.  

So, you have to look at the firestop details for all of these joints and be sure they comply with the building code- 715.6- Fire Resistant Joint Systems in Smoke Barriers and that code section will give you the limitations, which are basically that the system shall not exceed 5cfm per linear foot of joint. 

If you need help with this, there is a training at this link that will help you understand this on a whole new level, and it will give you a clear understanding of how to build better and avoid this problem on your projects.

Check in tomorrow to see what else you have to do. 

#BuildBetter #FirestopCoffeeBreakTraining #SmokeBarrier 

How to Plan a Project with Smoke Barriers

A few weeks ago, I did a post about smoke barriers. Not long after I got an email from a guy who had been in one of my classes. He was putting the training to work on a project and had questions.  

I can’t tell you how much I love when people who want to build better, reach out for help. 

So, if you have smoke barriers on your projects please follow along this week because I want to help clarify what you can do EARLY in your project, so you don’t run into a pickle with smoke barriers.  

There are 4 basic steps to take, and I will walk you through them this week.  

Step 1: Look at your plans and identify your smoke barriers. Keep in mind the are not just walls. They could be horizontal assemblies as well. This seems like a simple task, but often it is not; so, I will leave you with this first task and check back tomorrow for step 2.  

To be a little more clear, if I were working with you, I would want to know the type of wall assembly and the type of floor assemblies you have that are smoke barriers. A list would be great! Don’t forget to include the hourly ratings on your list. That will come in handy on Thursday. 

If you have any questions, comments, please post here so we can all learn together. 

#BuildBetter #FirestopCoffeeBreakTraining #SmokeBarrier 

The Escutcheon fix doesnt work on Smoke Barriers

There is one time that the code will not allow a membrane penetration of a fire sprinkler to be protected with just an escutcheon.  That is our topic for today.  

If you have a penetration in a Smoke Barrier (our topic a few weeks back) 

Then the building code requires the system to be capable of providing an L rating. Unless your escutcheon was tested to provide an L rating, you are going to have an issue with code compliance.  

I hope this week has helped you but we are not quite done yet. Please check back tomorrow because our Flashback Friday will cover one more important topic that will help you reduce your liability, or you can just pop into our firestop 101 for fire sprinkler training and we will cover all this and SO MUCH MORE. Here is the link – If you want your whole team to learn together, we do offer group discounts and discounts for AHJ’s. Reach out if you want more info. Please share this with others who want to build better.  

#BuildBetter #FirestopCoffeeBreakTraining #FireSprinkler 

You don’t ALWAYS have to firestop a fire sprinkler pipe

What if the sprinkler pipe runs from one room into another and the sprinkler head is on the wall. Can you cover that with an escutcheon and meet this code section?  If you don’t know where this exception sits in the code it would be easy to mistakenly think that this is okay.  

Let me explain why it is NOT 

If you were with us on Monday I gave you the code section. 714.4.2 if you check it out you will see that code section is for membrane penetrations. A sprinkler pipe that stubs through the wall is a through penetration not a membrane penetration, therefore an escutcheon without firestop is not a code compliant solution.  

This is only acceptable when the sprinkler pipe stubs up through the floor and the sprinkler head penetrates the wall. If that happens then you can provide the code required protection with nothing more than a metal escutcheon.  

Well, that is with one exception. We will dive into that tomorrow or you can just pop into our firestop 101 for fire sprinkler training and we will cover all this and SO MUCH MORE. Here is the link – If you want your whole team to learn together, we do offer group discounts and discounts for AHJ’s. Reach out if you want more info. Please share this with others who want to build better.  

#BuildBetter #FirestopCoffeeBreakTraining #FireSprinkler 

Does an Escutcheon fix the problem…or NOT?

Yesterday we talked about a plumber that misinterpreted a code section that was designed for fire sprinkler contractors. The rest of the week we will be focusing on how a fire sprinkler contractor could misinterpret this same code section. 

First, this is a reference to an automatic sprinkler. That is the sprinkler head not the sprinkler pipe, so if the pipe comes out of the wall and the head drops in the center of, let’s say a corridor, then the escutcheon doesn’t meet the code, because a pipe is not a head.  

There are two other ways this code section is misinterpreted. If you want to know more you can check back this week or you can just pop into our firestop 101 for fire sprinkler training and we will cover all this and SO MUCH MORE. Here is the link – If you want your whole team to learn together, we do offer group discounts and discounts for AHJ’s. Reach out if you want more info. Please share this with others who want to build better.  

#BuildBetter #FirestopCoffeeBreakTraining #FireSprinkler 

More on Mass Timber

Here is another great educational tid bit for those of you who want to learn more about mass timber. 

#BuildBetter #FirestopCoffeeBreakTraining #FireSprinkler 

Firestop in Mass Timber Construction

I remember when I first hear about mass timber being adopted into the 2021 IBC. There was a lot of confusion and fear. I remember being in Virginia at the ICC Code hearings teaching and when I walked the booths there were people talking about how bad mass timber was. The were fear mongers trying to scare people about the risk of fire.  

Then I wandered around a bit more and found the Tall Timber booth. Being a firestop geek, I asked lots of question about the fire tests. I mean LOTS of questions, pointed fact seeking queries.  What I received in return were facts, figures, data and HOLY cow…information supporting why this should be approved.  

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying it’s the perfect construction material, but it’s not this big scary fiery inferno the fear mongers made it out to be.  

It’s a really interesting option with a long list of benefits. It’s not perfect for every construction project, but if you say not to mass timber because you are scared; please get educated. Ask questions. There are so many fabulous resources if you want to know more.  I will be at the Mass Timber Conference next week. I will be learning more. Meeting more amazing people and seeing how I can support projects and teams who want to build better.  If you cant make it and want a resource to lean on please visit this website or reach out the team for support.  

#BuildBetter #FirestopCoffeeBreakTraining #FireSprinkler 

Be Careful What Assuptions You Make. They might be wrong.

In my line of work I was often “the bearer of bad news”. When the general superintendent would see me, they might grumble, “What’s wrong now”. I took personally. I thought they didn’t like me. I mean I still had a job to do, and I did it, but I thought that they didn’t really like me.  

It was only later that I learned that they actually held me in high regard. They were glad I was there to fix the problems that no one else would have found. They appreciated and respected me.  

Don’t get me wrong, there were people who genuinely DON’T like me, but typically those people don’t care about doing the right thing (I’m talking about firestop here). My job is to hold people accountable and those guys who actually respected me, wanted to do the right thing and appreciated that I was helping them do that. The jerks who didn’t care about anything other than getting out and getting bonused. They still don’t like me.  

You have to be okay with the fact that not everyone is going to like you…BUT at the same time you can’t assume that just because some people are grousing that they automatically dislike you. 

#BuildBetter #FirestopCoffeeBreakTraining #WICWeek 

Women In Construction Week, 2023

We find ourselves in the middle of WIC WEEK.  

I want to celebrate all the women out there who lift others up.  

I want to be one of those women…it just happens that my thing is firestop, so if you have questions about firestop, please reach out to me. (men and women alike) 

If you work in construction and have challenges that I can help with~ please consider me a resource.  

#BuildBetter #FirestopCoffeeBreakTraining #WICWeek