08/05/2003

Better Firestop For Your Buck

How to Identify the Best Product For Your Application

 

Who is Going To Do This Work?

Plumbers, insulators, and electricians either perform firestopping or sub-contract it. If they are well-trained and proficient, there will be minimal problems.

In some areas there is a trend toward specialty firestop contractors. Many of these dedicated contractors have passed the recently developed Factory Mutual proficiency test. They are system- and code-savvy and can provide a one-stop competitive answer to project firestop needs. Another advantage of specialty firestop contractors is that they can prevent delays in a building’s completion.

With many different firestop products and UL systems on the market, how does a building owner know they’re getting code compliance at a fair price? Open the UL Fire Resistance Directory and you will find at least 60 firestop manufacturers and over 3,000 individually tested designs. Various trades and specialty installers are also all claiming to be firestop experts. With all of these choices, how do you identify which is the best product and who is the best choice to apply it?

Firestopping is a system rather than just a product. A firestop system consists of the barrier being penetrated, the penetrating item (piping, cables, and conduits), and the firestopping products and design used to seal the opening. A little time spent choosing the right systems will not only make the initial installation easier and more cost effective, but may also save you, the building owner, time and money over the life of the facility.

A Quick Re-Entry

For permanent installations, a permanent firestop product such as a caulk or sealant is often the right choice. Depending on the application, either an intumescent (expanding) or endothermic (heat absorbing) product is required. For large-diameter plastic pipes, an intumescent device known as a firestop collar is required.

There are life safety products and systems that facilitate quick, easy alteration of the cabling system. We like to refer to them as re-enterables and recommend products that are ready to install out of the box and do not require tools or fasteners. Firestop putty and pillows fit that bill.

Firestop putties represent a class of 100-percent solids, non-hardening products. Putty excels in applications requiring subsequent changes after installation. Most firestop putties are intumescent products. Pillows typically consist of a resilient fibrous core material encapsulated in an intumescent coating protected by a poly bag. The poly bag is slip-finished to allow for easy cable retrofit by simply removing and re-inserting a single pillow at the cable interface.

Knowledge is Power

You should not be totally reliant on others when it comes to the information that you will use to make critical firestopping decisions regarding your projects. Many general contractors and construction management firms have created a firestopping champion on their staff. While you can’t reasonably expect this person to know all 3,000 of those UL systems, he or she can be trained to know where to go to get the right answers when they are needed.

Comprehensive firestop training is available for virtually all aspects of this process. The Firestop Contractors International Association (www.fcia.org) provides training and certification methodology for installers. Courses are also available that provide AIA accreditation.

What’s the Answer?

Failing to plan is planning to fail. This old adage is true for firestopping. Manage the firestop bid package. Evaluate the building type, the intended use, and standardize UL systems for the project. Standardizing puts you in control, reduces project costs, and simplifies bid comparisons. The hardest part of getting the best value for your firestop dollar is determining what you need and who should do it. Doing the hard work up front will make the rest of the project a whole lot easier.

Raymond J. Bruno is director of marketing at Specified Technologies Inc. Headquartered in Somerville, NJ, Specified Technologies is a leading manufacturer of firestop products with over 560 UL-listed systems. Additional information can be found at (www.stifirestop.com) or by contacting (800) 992-1180.

 


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Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.

 

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Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.

 

Add highly responsive multi-zone comfort to any building project, in any climate. Our CITY MULTI H2i R2- and Y-Series VRF systems give you flexibility to fit the needs of any building. Enjoy 100% heating capacity at 0°F outdoor ambient, and 85% heating capacity at -13°F outdoor ambient.  For more information, log on to www.mitsubishipro.com


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.

 

Replace core drilling with Connectrac In-Carpet and On-Floor Wireways, the proven connectivity solution in open interior spaces of all kinds. These elegant low-profile wireways are great for AV / telecom connectivity wherever it’s needed.

 


 
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