Pizza and Firestop?

Okay, so these two things don’t normally go together, but as many of you know I teach a few classes for NJ building officials. I like to think we have a little bit of fun in the class, despite talking about building codes and standards and typically dry boring subjects. My class yesterday had a great bunch of people. One guy, Lee was talking about how his trip to Italy has ruined pizza for him in the US. Many of you know I LIKE FOOD. So in an attempt to help Lee be able to enjoy pizza without the trip to Italy, I began to tell him about BBQ pizza. At the end of class the one lone architect in the class challenged me to post the pizza info. So, in case you need a means to feed a gang of people around Thanksgiving without much headache. Try this if you’d like and let me know what you think.

Step 1- pizza dough. You can buy it in a store or make it. If you make it, I prefer to use beer and honey. King Arthur Flour has an add in for pizza dough that improves the flavor as well and they have a bunch of recipes for you to play with if you are so inclined.

Step 2- get all your fixings together and put them by the BBQ, turn it on high. Fixings should include sauce cheese and anything you want on your pizza plus a can of spray oil.

Step 3- roll out the dough and place it on a pizza paddle and bring it out to the BBQ.

Step 4- spray the BBQ (please be careful- I don’t want any horror stories coming back to me on this one- you can also use a silicone brush with oil if you prefer) slide the dough onto the BBQ and close the oven. after about 5 min check to see that the dough is crisp but not black and when it is, flip it over, QUICKLY top your pizza, close the lid and turn the heat down so you don’t scorch the beautiful creation.

So to Harry, and the rest of my crew from yesterdays class- This was for you guys! You were a great class and I enjoyed the day with you. I hope you all enjoy this, if you try it. Keep learning and eating good food!

Stair 4

When people build gypsum walls around stair enclosures there are an array of issues that can arise.  The one that concerns me the most is that you have a head of wall joint and a bottom of wall joint at EVERY floor. 

There is no way to get traditional firestop sealants and sprays behind the stair runner. 

This means you will have about 18 inches at the top and bottom of the wall on every floor, on each side of the stairs where your firestop will not be installed. 

Tomorrow I will explain another reason I don’t like exit shafts made of gypsum board.

#BuildBetter #FirestopCoffeeBreakTraining

Stair 3

Block walls are my second favorite type of walls for an exit shaft. Second to concrete because the block wall sits on the concrete floor and it will need to be firestopped at the top of the wall. 

This is done after the stairs are installed. If it’s not done properly any breach which could mean fire and smoke could enter the exit stairs. 

Here is your weak point ~ When the stair stringer runs against the floor slab, how is anyone going to install firestop in the top of wall joint behind the stair stringer?

If you deal with this, what is your solution?

Tomorrow I will tell you why I hate gypsum walls for exit stair enclosure. In the meantime, let me know what you think.

#BuildBetter #FirestopCoffeeBreakTraining

Stair 2

If you have to design or build an exit stair shaft, what do you build the walls out of and why?

My favorite type of stairs are solid concrete because there are no joints. There is no opportunity for fire or smoke to get through where the wall transitions from one floor to the next. 

What are your thoughts on that? Is that how you design or build? If not, why not?

Tomorrow I will tell you why I’m not a fan of block walls in exit stairs. 

#BuildBetter #FirestopCoffeeBreakTraining

Stair 1

Stairs are a critical element of life safety in any building. Here are three reasons they are so important

  1. It is the way building occupants escape in an emergency. 
  2. It is the way first responders get in to fight a fire and rescue people
  3. It is an area of refuge for those who cant evacuate. Imagine being in a high rise and being immobile. This would be your safe place
  4. They are a safe haven for fire fighters when the world is falling apart

If you build buildings, you MUST build them right. If you design buildings, how do you choose from your various options?  Concrete, block drywall. How do you pick one over the other? If you stay with me this week, you may reconsider your choices.

#BuildBetter #FirestopCoffeeBreakTraining