Why is special inspection of firestop now required?

Are these building code changes going to impact your next project?

(Round 2 why the code changed)

Some of you are thinking, “ The building inspectors already look at the firestop.” Or maybe you are thinking, “It’s not that complicated.” If you look at ASTM E2174, which is the standard for third party inspection of firestop through penetrations and talk to an inspector about what is required to comply with an inspection at this level, most building officials will tell you they do not have the time for that. Some will even admit they don’t have the training to look at it adequately. Combine that, with the fact that some jurisdictions with strong local third party inspection firms have reported that the failure rate on most projects the first few inspections is generally around 50%. That is typical, which means of course some project teams are stronger, but it also means that some are failing inspections well over half the time. Now, to understand that better, you have to look at what goes into as ASTM E 2174 inspection.

 

First the inspector needs to do one of two types of inspection. They either need to witness the inspection on 10% of each type of installation type or they need to conduct destructive testing on 2% of each type. When inspecting a firestop installation the following items must be reviewed by the inspector and they must confirm that each item conforms to the submitted and approved firestop assembly. That assembly must be tested and listed with a third party agency (most commonly Underwriters Laboratories or UL). When conducting an inspection according to this standard all of these elements must be reviewed. Each line here could warrant a series of blog posts because there is so much more information that needs to be known than what is just written here, but this is a decent start at least:rated assembly-to ensure it conforms with what is allowed in firestop details:

  • rated assembly-to ensure it conforms with what is allowed in firestop details
    • stud depth is a critical often overlooked component
  • penetrating item- to ensure they match in material, size etc
    • changes in material or size can have a major impact
  • sleeve- is it allowed, required or optional
  • insulation- to ensure both material and thickness conform
  • type of firestop material – manufacturer and material name
    • not all firestop is the same, even from the same manufacturer
  • annular space- minimum and maximum
    • both are very important and must be conformed to
  • sealant depth and any required bead of sealant
    • this requires an entirely different discussion
  • backing material- type, depth and compression
    • all three can be critical
  • square ducts over a certain size require retaining angle
  • plastic pipe over a certain size it requires a firestop collar
    • collars require washers and anchor type will vary based on substrate
    • plastic pipe over another size requires all that plus foil tape

 

You want your project being inspected by someone who knows how to look at each of these elements to confirm it conforms to the firestop details. You also want them to know WHY each is critical to the life safety of a building. If they can share this information with the team during the mandatory pre-construction meeting it has a tendency to increase the perceived level of importance for the entire team and may even increase team collaboration.  HLS pre-con meetings have been called “A GAME CHANGER” by some of our project teams.

 

If your project is hiring a third party inspection firm who does everything under the sun, including firestop and you want to know whether or not you are getting what you are paying for, contact us and we will help you make sure that your project is actually complying with the requirements of the codes and standards. You may be surprised by everything they should be doing.

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Why the way Fire Rated Assemblies are Tested SHOULD Impact How you DESIGN, BUILD & INSPECT?

Most people in design or construction have never wondered, “gee, how do you test a fire rated assembly?” But if you don’t understand how the assemblies are tested you might not be designing or building the way you should. This series of videos will introduce you to how fire rated assemblies but we will take it a step further and who you how that could play out in a real wold scenario. It is our hope that this four part series will help you improve how you either design or build.

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Shaft wall joints and fluted deck- recipe for bad firestop.

Firestopping on shaft wall assemblies is done wrong way too often.

If your project has fluted metal decks, you are likely firestopping the shaft joints with mineral wool and spray. If you want to know that your team is doing it right, this video can help.  

If you have any questions or need any extra help, just give us a shout. We are happy to help anyone who wants to get this right.

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Are you building Shaft Walls right? Part 3 (Head of wall- Sealant)

Firestopping head of wall joints seems basic, but its shocking how often something so basic is done so wrong. If your project has shaft walls and you are fire stopping them with sealant, please watch this video, so you can be sure the installations on your projects meet the requirements.

First thing to check- Do your firestop submittals have shaft wall details? If not, they should. If not, there is a considerable risk that the fire rating of your shaft walls is missing the requirements we point out in this video. If you want to know how to avoid this liability, this video is designed to help.

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Are you building Shaft Walls right? Part 2 (Build It)

Welcome back, clearly you are one of the teams who want to be sure you are building right. This series is addressing shaft wall construction because it is so critical to the life safety of your projects.  The last video talked about how shaft walls are tested differently so that when we talk about how they are built differently, in this video, you have a different level of understanding of why things are important. Check it out here!

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Are you building Shaft Walls right? Part 1 (Test It)

You know shaft walls are built differently than other rated wall assemblies, but did you know they are tested differently too?  Understanding this difference will help you understand why the need to be fire stopped differently as well.  Shafts are critical to the life safety of your buildings. They impact multiple floors, so they deserve a little more attention. This video series is designed for those of you who want to do things right. We hope this will make it a little easier for you to understand how to evaluate field installations and ensure they are built properly. Check out the video here and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to give us a shout. We are happy to help if we are able.

Thanks for your time.

 

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Firestop Special Inspection- Architects Responsibility

If you are an architect, this video; which is the last in our three part series, is designed to help you understand the requirements as they are called out in the ICC Special Inspection Manual as they are related to the requirement for third party special inspection of firestop pursuant to the IBC 1705.17

If you are an architect or a building official, we hope this video series helps you do your job a little more easily.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us!

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Firestop Special Inspection- Building Officials Responsibility

If you are an AHJ- Authority Having Jurisdiction; a building official or fire marshal, this video is for you.

This is the second in our three part series. It is designed to help you understand the requirements as they are called out in the ICC Special Inspection Manual as they are related to the requirement for third party special inspection of firestop pursuant to the IBC 1705.17

If you are an architect or a building official, we hope this video series helps you do your job a little more easily.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us!

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How are you patching your 1 hour rated walls?

Today’s Topic- How do you properly patch a one hour rated wall?

 

Hi everyone. I hope you are doing well despite the lock down and virus. We are breathing easy over here and I pray that the same is true for you, your family and your teams.

 

I have been capitalizing on this time to develop a new skill and I can’t wait to share the results with you. It will be some training videos.

 

One of them will discuss the difference between regular drywall and type X, another will talk about type X drywall vs type C.  Since that is all coming down the pike in the next week or two, I wanted to share somethings that will compliment that discussion.

 

Once you have built a rated wall at some point in time its likely SOMEONE will poke a hole in it. This could happen during construction if someone decides to relocate a pipe for example.

 

So how do you patch it. If you ask the Gypsum Association, this is how you should patch a rated wall. Please take a moment to look over this so you understand. One of the videos that will be coming  will talk about how rated walls are tested, but the one that I hope to get to you first will talk about the difference between regular drywall and we will have a complex discussion about fire dynamics that is actually kinda fun. For now, I will leave you with this from US!

 

Next week we will talk about how to patch a two hour rated wall, because those are really different.

 

https://www.gypsum.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/GA-225-15.pdf

 

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