Firestopping is Hot

A pair of CSE's readers were gracious enough to highlight interesting products on the exhibit floor. Items that jumped out to these engineers' had to do with firestopping. Specifically, cast-plastic forms for accommodating piping and cabling in concrete generated a lot of discussion. Hilti exhibited its CP 680 product, which basically allows installers a foolproof solution for placing floor pen...

06/01/2003


A pair of CSE's readers were gracious enough to highlight interesting products on the exhibit floor. Items that jumped out to these engineers' had to do with firestopping. Specifically, cast-plastic forms for accommodating piping and cabling in concrete generated a lot of discussion. Hilti exhibited its CP 680 product, which basically allows installers a foolproof solution for placing floor penetrations for cabling and piping. 3M had a similiar offering that allows installers to adjust the depth and height of the form in the field. See www.us.hilti.com and www. 3m.com/firestop for more information.

Specified Technologies Inc., also exhibited a cabling penetration product that our guides believed had potential for problem solving. The company's EZ Path device provides a one-piece metal tray lined with an intumescent firestopping material that can be placed easily in walls or floors to allow orderly cable distribution. Multiple channels can be easily connected. See www.stifirestop.com for more information.

For filling in larger gaps in wall penetrations "brick" and "pillow" offerings from the two manufacturers also caught our guides' eyes.

The subject of fire stopping as a whole, however, caught the ire of one of our guides. The engineer felt the requirements of the International Building Code (IBC) on this matter have gotten out of hand. He said code details are difficult and tedious for engineers to follow, especially considering the fact that no major fires, such as the devastating MGM conflagration of 1980, have ever been caused or accelerated by fire spreading through piping penetrations.

However, to keep a wall's fire rating, as spelled out by the code, penetrations must be sealed. Not to discount the importance of fire stopping where appropriate, the engineer said the code requirements need to be seriously reconsidered. Case in point is the IBC's "T" rating requirements. To comply with the code, our fire-protection designer says a special shaft has to be custom made to accommodate cable penetrations. The irony, he said, is that building inspectors rarely enforce this provision.





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