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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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.