Specifying passive firestop systems
Fire-rated wall assemblies and passive firestop systems are key elements to the design of all commercial buildings.
- Learn about recommendations for specific fire-rated wall assemblies and the industry testing they must endure to earn their ratings.
- Review examples of passive firestop systems.
- Understand best practices for the specification and installation of each.
With hundreds of lives often at stake and rebuild costs that can reach into the millions, it is no surprise that fire protection is one of the highest priorities of today’s commercial construction projects. While active fire protection solutions, such as fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and sprinkler systems, may be the first to come to mind, it is crucial for project teams to give the same consideration to passive fire protection systems. Though passive fire protection systems are less visible than active fire protection systems, their function is equally as important.
- Joints between fire-rated construction components, such as wall-to-wall, wall-to-floor, and wall-to-ceiling
- Floor perimeters—the edge of a slab foundation or curtainwalls
- Penetrations made through walls for mechanical, electrical, structural, security, piping, or wiring applications
- Electrical boxes where combined openings exceed 100 sq in. in 100 sq ft of wall.
Traditional firestopping materials used to seal these openings include: sealants, intumescent materials, sprays, mechanical devices, and foam blocks or pillows. It is important to note before selecting firestopping materials that there is not one universal product that will work for every firestopping application. It is also wise to select products that have been appropriately tested by an accredited third-party agency to meet applicable fire safety standards. The most effective of these materials are sealants, intumescent materials, and the newer technology of integrated firestop systems.
Gregg Stahl is the director of product development at ClarkDietrich Building Systems, a manufacturer of steel framing and finishing products for the commercial construction industry. With more than 25 years of industry experience, he has served in multiple capacities at ClarkDietrich, including vice president of its subsidiary Vinyl Corp.