How to properly patch a two hour rated wall.

Welcome back. We are still hunkered down in the Halpert Home and still talking about how to properly patch a rated wall. I’m having a great time putting together these videos for you and can’t wait to share them with you.  We are going to stick to the same topic as last week, which is patching rated walls. Now you know how to patch a one hour rated wall but that document didn’t really give you enough specifics to know how to patch a two hour rated wall. We can fix that today though.

 

If you know me, you know I used to live in Las Vegas. Las Vegas is in Clark County, NV and  the building officials are county officials.   The only reason this matters is because they have this awesome document that relates to the discussion of patching rated walls. They took the Gypsum Association document I shared with you last week and mandated that for repair of rated gypsum walls.

 

Here is their Field Inspection Guide (FIG). If you have any questions about what to do, this is a great place to start.  The Gypsum Associate document I share last week didn’t really get into specifics about how to patch a two hour rated assembly the way the FIG does, so I wanted to share this with you as well. Of course you can always reach out to your drywall manufacturer to get help finding solutions. US Gyp and National both have stellar people on staff who can help if you need it or you can always call me. I’m happy to help as well.  https://www.clarkcountynv.gov/building/HowToGuides/FIG-B-021.pdf

 

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NFPA 285- Test for exterior facades

If you have a building in your community that has an exterior face of aluminum panels with polyethylene core. Here is a great video from UL that shows you the unfortunate fire test results you might expect.  These fire tests are critical to understanding how buildings should be designed and the intrinsic link to the role of fire fighters if there is a fire in your community. Thanks to Sean DeCrane, Dwayne Sloan, UL and IAFF.

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UL Future Built Forum- Combustible Facade Risks- FDNY

Today is another discussion from the Future Built Forum last year held by UL, FDNY and IAFF. This particular presentation was from FDNY and discussed the risks of combustible facades. You can review it here.

Thanks to UL, FDNY and IAFF for all of the information they have allowed us to share. If you have the opportunity to attend one of these events in your region, don’t hesitate. It is time well spent.

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UL Future Built Forum- Combustible Facades

There has been a great deal of discussion about the exterior facades of buildings and sadly there have been stories of how detrimental facade choices can be. This prompted a discussion at a forum in January of last year that was sponsored by UL, NYPD and IAFF. The next three blog posts will be dedicated to the discussions from this forum.

This first one is from Jesse Beitel from Jensen Hughes. You can see it here.  Take some time to think about the projects in your area and how or if this could impact your community.

For those of you who think that a similar fire can’t happen in the US, here is an article that would disagree with that stance.

Enjoy!

 

 

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New Industry Standard for Architects- Part Two

Last week we mentioned a new standard for firestop installers. Today we are going to talk about a new standard for Special Inspection of Firestop.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

We find that a number of special inspection firms who do an array of special inspection tasks are asked to do “this fire thing” and they comply with the clients request without complying with the actual requirements of the standards that are written into the building codes. This causes a liability for everyone- the owner, the builder, the community…. But it is a liability for the architect as well because they are responsible for reviewing the inspector as well as their reports.  It is written into the inspection standards as such and since those standards are part of the building code, there is a legal obligation to conform with the standards.

If you have questions about this and you are a building official or an architect, I am happy to send you a document that is designed to help you vet a special inspection firm so you can be sure they are qualified and competent according to the current codes. If you email me from an email address of a building or fire official or an architects office I will gladly forward you this document.

WHAT MIGHT AN ARCHITECT CHANGE IN THIER SPECIFICATIONS

Our discussion today is on relatively new standard that architects may want to consider writing into their specifications. ASTM E3038 is the “Standard Practice for Assessing and Qualifying Candidates as Inspectors of Firestop Systems and Fire-Resistive Joint Systems”. By including this in your project specifications you are asking for a way of confirming that whoever is conducting this scope of work has a certain level of training that enables them to complete this scope of work in accordance with the standards that are already written into the codes (ASTM E2174 and ASTM E2393 for inspection of firestop penetrations and rated joints respectively)

If you want to make your life easy, just throw this requirement into your quality segment of your firestop through penetrations specifications. If you want to know more about this, feel free to reach out to us for more details or purchase a copy of the standard at the ASTM website.

WHAT DOES THE STANDARD REQUIRE?

Here are just a few of the requirements. For all the information please visit ASTM and purchase the standard.

  • Two years in construction dealing with firestop under the direction of an inspector
  • Two years in firestop QC ( not just QC, but specifically related to the  firestop industry)
  • Four years working in the firestop industry compiling submittals or field installations
  • Be a registered design professional WITH experience in the firestop industry
  • Pass an exam covering firestop
  • Attend firestop training (the standard has more information on this requirement, but having a manufacturers training card is not sufficient to meet this requirement)

If you are a code official, remember that once you have approved a set of plans and specifications, then the build team is legally obligated to provide the level of quality in the construction documents, so even if you can enforce it per the building code, you can based on the approved specifications the owner and architect have agreed to for the project.

Keep learning and keep improving!  If we can help don’t hesitate to contact us!

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New Standard for Architects to Spec- Part One

Architects are always trying to cover all the bases when they write their specifications. I am not an architect, but occasionally I am asked to review a project specifications.  There is a new ASTM Standard that I would recommend for architects who want up to date specifications. The International Firestop Council has taken the time to write a piece on the topic so I wanted to share it with you all.

IFC FS Installer Guide ASTM E3157

If your specifications say that installations need to conform to ASTM E3157 then you cover all the bases for good installations such as following a firestop detail, cleaning the substrate, troweling the sealant, using the right backer material and much more.

If you would like more information on it check out the link for the article by the IFC. If you want more information about firestop, go to the IFC website.  Check back next week for another suggestion for architects specifications you might be interested in.

If you are a code official, remember that once you have approved a set of plans and specifications, then the build team is legally obligated to provide the level of quality in the construction documents, so even if you can enforce it per the building code, you can based on the approved specifications the owner and architect have agreed to for the project.

Keep learning and keep improving!  If we can help don’t hesitate to contact us!

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Dear Architect- Why are you asking for a W rating

I have seen so many project specifications requiring a W rating. If you don’t know what a W rating is, please read this first.  If you are already familiar with a W rating, do you know if it a requirement on your project?  I recently looked at a wood framed project and there were W rating requirements. Clearly the architect has stock specifications that don’t take into account the fact that a wood framed project is NOT going to be capable of mitigating water movement in the way a concrete floor might.

 

But lets say you are dealing with a concrete floor, then W ratings are a viable requirement…except, when they are not.

 

Remember the test for a W rating is a three foot column of water that prevents even a single drop of water for 72 hours.   If the specifications say as a blanket statement that a W rating is a requirement of floor penetration firestop systems, then what about a bundle of cables? What about MC cables? What about insulated pipes, the brackets to support the weight of multiple floors of pipes will break well below the three foot mark and how might one maintain the W rating with a break in the insulation, or with insulation that can’t hold back water such as fiberglass or other field installed insulations?

 

If you have been in construction for a while I am sure you can think of other examples when W rated firestop is not a reasonable requirement.

Im not saying stop asking for W ratings, because they are amazing. I could tell you some stories where they were a HUGE success. But be aware of the limitations and if you specify it, know what you are asking for. If you have a project that has W ratings specified and no one is asking questions, then my guess is they are not conforming with the specification.

 

If you have any questions feel free to contact us. We are happy to help if we are able.

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Membrane Penetration Firestop- Part Two

I hope you liked the last post, that was just a warm up as we bring you to this new document by the International Firestop Council. Its 7 pages and packed with great information and I will expound on it in the next blog series because this document does a great job of explaining what needs to be done, it doesn’t tel you the common things installers do wrong, or things they miss. So please start with a read of this document and then come back and we expound on this a bit further in the next few series of posts. IFC Membrane Penetrations

There are a few other membrane penetrations to consider depending on the type of construction you are looking at- so while this is not an exhaustive list it adds to the one in the article because you need to keep an eye out for any of these items that are not surface mounted. If they are recessed or semi-recessed in  a rated wall then they are membrane penetrations. Please pay attention when looking at the following-  fire hose cabinets, fire extinguisher cabinets, time clocks,  elevator call boxes, IT control panels, electrical panels, shower diverter valves or anything that punches through one side of a rated wall.  So have a read of the IFC document and check back for our next blog as we take the discussion a little further.

In the meantime,  let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

See you next time!

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