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Firestop + Vectorisation Terminology - Glossary

Please scroll down to the term you are looking for. Note that if a term is in bold, red and italic font, it is a defined term. You are advised to look it up by scrolling up and down this page till you get to it. There are many cross-references in here, as well as links to other sites to help explain matters.

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Glossary of Fire Protection Terms

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Master Spec. Section 07840 Firestopping

Related Sections to 07840

Penetration Seal Drawings

Building Joint Drawings 1

Building Joint Drawings 2

Building Joint Drawings 3

History of Firestops in North America

Warnock Hersey Experience

Firestop Trade Jurisdiction

Achim Hering Bio

Man Made Mineral Fibres

Fire Protection Industry Links

Firestop Products and Equipment

Firestop Mortar

Firestop Silicone Foam

Intumescent Products

Endothermic Products

Insulation Products

Caulking & Paint Firestops

Firestop Pillows

Firestop Devices

Firestop Slide Show 1 of 10 Basics

Firestop Slide Show 2 of 10 Code

Firestop Slide Show 3 of 10 No Seal

Firestop Slide Show 4 of 10 Deemed-to-comply

Firestop Slide Show 5 of 10 Misinstalled

Firestop Slide Show 6 of 10 Re-entered

Firestop Slide Show 7 of 10 Faulty Spec.

Firestop Slide Show 8 of 10 Proper Firestops

Firestop Slide Show 9 of 10 Test

Firestop Slide Show 10 of 10 Smoke and Trays

Sample Firestop Listing

Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning; Boiling-Hot Pressure Washing

ULC           UL

T O S

(Theory of Survival)

DIBt

TU Braunschweig iBMB

CONTACT

ARCHITECTS: are encouraged to to consider copying and pasting the applicable terms and definitions into project manuals. Beware that this text uses UK English.

Ablative Firestopping Products: This can mean endothermic materials, and is defined as such in other documents. The term ablative has also been used to describe silicone products, which, by themselves, are sacrificial. In other words, given sufficient time under fire or heat conditions, these products actually char away, crumble and disappear. The idea is to put enough of the stuff in the way of the fire, so that a prescribed fire-resistance rating can be maintained. Usually, ablative materials have a large concentration of organic matter, which is reduced by fire to ashes. In the case of silicone, organic rubber surrounds very finely divided silica dust (up to 300m² of combined surface area of all the dust particles per gram of this dust). When the fire comes, it reduces the organic rubber to ash and leaves the silica dust that the product started with. If you burn some silicone caulking and then subsequently crush the remaining ashes, you will find that the interior of the black piece of as is actually white. The silica was white to begin with. The black stuff is the carbonaceous remains of the organic rubber that surrounded each silica dust particle.

Active Fire Protection: This is one of the two types of structural fire protection (Apart from education...). There is active, and passive fire protection. Active means that items or systems are 'activated', mechanically or electronically and require a certain amount of motion or 'activity' in order to function. Typically this refers to fire suppression systems (the sprinkler bulb which holds back the water breaks and the water moves, for instance) and and fire or smoke detection systems (smoke or heat is sensed and the widget beeps). Lobby groups are typically divided into these two camps, active and passive fire protection. Each try to garner more business for themselves through code hearings and somesuch. More sprinklers, fewer fire compartments or lower ratings and vise versa. The objective point of view would hold that one use a balanced approach and use a maximum of both. Active means are more easily disengaged or sabotaged or rendered useless by human error, for instance. Murphy's law does apply to fire so it's best to use all of the above to a maximum extent.

AHJ: Authority having Jurisdiction, means the governmental body responsible for the enforcement of any part of the applicable code or the official or agency designated by that body to exercise such a function. In Canada, where there is a registered or incorporated township, city or municipality, which has adopted the Provincial or Territorial Code (with the exception of The City of Vancouver, which has its own by-law, which differs from the BCBC), each of which are based upon the National Building Code of Canada, the building department is the AHJ over planned and/or new buildings, for which owners must make an application for a building permit. For existing buildings, maintenance of the Provincial, if adopted by the municipality, fire code is enforced by the local fire department, and specifically the fire prevention officers within said fire department. Federal and provincially owned buildings, as well as nuclear power generating stations are exempted from this. They may take out building permits (strictly as a courtesy) for new buildings or changes to existing ones and permit the local AHJ access and listen to what they have to say, but their rulings are not considered binding, as government owned facilities can be considered to be 'self-policing', meaning their level of code compliance has much to do with the operating budget and the facility manager's desire to apply funds to comply, as well as his or her ability to simply ignore the code for short term financial gain, which is not uncommon by any means. For federal buildings, HRSDC Human Resources Development Canada (formerly Labour Canada) appears to have an advisory role with regards to fire prevention.  They conduct inspections and the aim appears to be to uphold compliance with the National Building Code of Canada. Nuclear generating stations are policed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (formerly Atomic Energy Control Board). Fire protection requirements are only recently becoming part of the licensing conditions. Certification of installed systems is optional in both American and Canadian nuclear facilities.

Ampacity Derating: The process where maximum current capacity of power cables is decreased by the insulating properties of all that immediately surrounds the conductors, including firestops. Thus, if a power cable were to be derated by 50%, one would have to run two such cables, or simply use a much larger cable, in order to conduct the same amount of electrical power. Also, the better a thermal insulator surrounds the conductor, the greater the derating. This applies to firestops, as well as fireproofing around the cables. Thus, a dense firestop mortar is expected to have a lesser derating effect (which is GOOD!) upon cables than a rockwool and rubber seal. Cables heat up while they are conducting power, just like the power cord attached to one's domestic vacuum cleaner, coffee machine, or indeed most any electrical appliance will heat up when in use. The more one insulates against it, thus containing that heat, the less electrical power can be sent through that cable. Cable manufacturers can at times mandate derating for certain ways of running the cables, such as inside of cable tray, fire protective wraps or even conduit. Derating is not required on control, data or communication cables. Ampacity derating and the effect of firestops or fire protective wraps (emergency circuit protection to keep conductors from shorting out during a fire) upon derating can now be quantified by testing in accordance with IEEE Standard 848 - 1996 Standard Procedure for the Determination of the Ampacity Derating of Fire-Protected Cables. Typically, this is of concern primarily in large power distribution centres, such as power generating stations.

ANI: American Nuclear Insurers

Annuli: Plural of annulus.

Annulus: Gap between penetrant and inside of surrounding opening in a fire separation.

Approved/Approval : means approved by the AHJ. A very common misconception: There is no such thing as a CSA, ULC or ULI approval. These agencies do NOT "approve" anything. What they do is to test products in accordance with standards, which are consensus procedures developed by task groups and approved by expert volunteer committees made up of members who, for the most part, are not employees of the test laboratories or SCC accredited certification organisations. Such Canadian standards are then eligible for SCC approval. Once SCC approves such a standard, it then becomes a "National Standard of Canada". After testing, the laboratory records the results in a test report, which is the confidential property of the lab and the submittor. Next, the laboratory, if SCC accredited for certification, communicates the results of the test in the form of a certification listing. Certification listings form the basis of field approvals by the AHJ, who must base its field approval of an installed product exclusively on bounding. Lack of regard for or understanding of this simple principle forms the basis for many errors as well as serious and deliberate cheating in Canada (see 'skuzzbucket'). So long as people think of a tube of caulking or a bag of mortar or an MCT Tecron module or any product as "approved", simply because it bears a certification label, then it seems to follow for many of our contemporaries, that you can do just about anything with it. After all, it's "approved", which takes on almost a mystical meaning, such as the process of turning tap water into holy water. But bear in mind that even if the local archdiocese dispatched a platoon of priests to bless an entire watershed, turning a city's water supply for 2 years into holy water, you can still drown in it, which is probably why the Vatican would never allow large scale blessings of that nature. Imagine, if that happened in the US, and someone drowned in holy water, the Vatican would be subject to class action lawsuits! In the case of firestops, some crafty players would take a product listed at a thickness of 3" for a 2 hour rating for a small concrete floor hole around steel pipe as being OK to provide the same rating when used at a fraction of the thickness in a completely different type of hole. Just because a toaster is perceived as "approved", that does not mean that it will be acceptable for use as a lavatory. Especially if it is plugged in at the time. "Approved" ! Caveat emptor!

Architect: means a member or licensee of the Ontario Association of Architects under the Ontario Architects Act.

ASTM: American Society of Testing and Materials

BOCA: Building Official and Code Administrators International. BOCA is one of the three US regional model code bodies. The other two are ICBO (International Building Code Congress) and SBCCI (Southern Building Code Congress International). Each of the three US model code organisations, and building inspector associations publish a code used in certain of the US states. The country is thus divided among the three code groups. Collectively these three US regional model code groups are affiliated with a US national code body and umbrella organisation entitled ICC or International Code Council.

Body Waste Terminology: Assorted colloquial firestop industry terms for firestop materials, most commonly used by weary installers of firestops. No product is immune to construction site re-naming to the lowest common denominator.

Boredom, boring, bored: A chosen state of mind brought on by laziness and the firm belief that others are in charge of the so supposedly afflicted person's own entertainment.

Bounding: There is a separate page on the meaning of this term on this site:

http://www.oocities.com/astximw/bounding.html.

Breach: Refers to interruption of the continuity of a fire-resistance rated assembly.

Building: means any structure used or intended for sheltering any use or occupancy.

Building Code: means the Ontario Building Code made under the Building Code Act or a predecessor to that Act.

Certification: (optional in the UK and Yemen) A program of third party (accredited by SCC) inspection (at unannounced intervals) and product identification. Certification generally involves detailed manufacturing procedures and formulations, the application of a label or listing mark to product manufactured within the program, and relates product in the field to the third party's listing program. The certification program, in Canada, must be administered by an organisation accredited by the Standards Council of Canada to perform certification services. For firestops, at present, this is limited to ULC, ULI and WH. Each of the aforementioned organisations also provide testing services. The two go hand-in-hand.  Prior to testing, the manufacture of materials to be used in the test sample is witnessed by a representative of the testing/certification organisation. Complete manufacturing and purchasing procedures for each product the applicant (manufacturer) wants tested and listed, are issued to the certification organisation. This documentation forms the basis of the certification or 'follow-up' procedure. If the test is successful and the products become listed, the follow-up procedure forms the basis of the follow-up agreement between the certification organisation and the listee, or applicant.  Throughout the listing or certification period, the label on the product is intended to provide a certain degree of comfort that the product in the field is identical, and hopefully will perform identically to, that which was tested and listed in the annual directory of the certification organisation. That too, is why it is helpful that installed configurations must be bounded by the certification listings. The idea is to make sure the material installed in the field is the same and that it is installed the same or safer than what was tested. While such certification provides the protection of up to four factory inspections per year, this does not relieve the manufacturer of his or her responsibility to provide certificates of conformance to certain market segments, such as nuclear power generating stations or the military. A 'C of C' is intended to legally tie the manufacturer to a particular shipment of product and both of them to a particular application in the field.  Typically, a 'C of C' must indicate the full name and address of vendor and customer, the use or application of the product, the lot number and size of shipment as well as the shipping details, such as waybill numbers and the name of the freight forwarder, and must include a statement whereby the vendor warrants that the products provided are suited to the application and that the products are free from defect and are identical to those which were tested. The testing must be that which bounds the installed configuration. The C of C is a legal document, which must be executed by an officer of the vendor's company. The C of C method certainly does not replace certification. Both methods are but attempts at stopping cheating for financial gain. It can be viewed like a nuclear deterrent in statecraft. ("If you cheat me, I will get you!"). In a certification program, getting caught cheating by an SCC accredited certification organisation that chooses to take this task seriously (there can be great reluctance to prosecute) can have grave enough consequences, such as public exposure as well as the cost involved in paying for the certifier to remove all labels on all products in on the premises of the vendor as well as the vendor's entire distribution chain. If caught cheating on a C of C, the CEO of the vendor is personally liable, along with the company. Both are very serious deterrents, which can be trusted to stop some, though not all, from wrongdoing, such as in the case of vendors of certain endothermic as well as intumescent products. None of the methods are perfect, of course. Some manufacturers will privately admit their ability to manufacture a faulty batch right under the eyes of an inspector. Check out the WH Experience on this one. By the same token, what is the worth of a C of C of a company that chooses to go out of business when its records come into question? Those responsible might have to move though.  Certification is not a replacement for a proper quality control regime. It is merely there to complement or document it. But generally, the key to the effectiveness of any of these checks and balance programs lies in the parameters that one may put in writing, which become the benchmark for all documentation. By placing fairly loose tolerances on quality-test results' permissibility range, or by using irrelevant tests, one can have attractive looking documentation, which means absolutely nothing. In the nuclear field, for instance, this has led to installations of assorted materials, which were intended to be fire barriers, which were indeed combustible. A good combination between the C of C and the certification regime is probably the closest one can get to assuring oneself that one is purchasing and installing the right thing. Once again, this is where it is helpful to stick to UL and ULC and not to stray too far from them. UL and ULC have the broadest listee and experience base. What UL and ULC do is quite readily accepted by WH, whereas the reverse is never the case, which is indicative. And this should speak volumes! You can run testing with UL and/or ULC and get WH listings based on the UL/ULC testing. But run a WH test and try to get a UL or ULC listing out of it is plain impossible. Also, at UL or ULC, it would be very difficult to base one's quality control procedures on irrelevant tests, which may produce a lot of paper, but have no bearing on final results. For most products, a standard test regime is insisted upon, whereby one has to prove that whatever else one may desire to do instead of what everyone else does, is actually worthwhile. And, in order to do that, one must convince an experienced expert in the field, not a technician who may be unfamiliar with proper procedures. The same is true in German laboratories, such as iBMB, at TU Braunschweig. Anyone accredited by DIBt must really earn one's accreditation status and most testing is very standardised and actually makes good sense. In the nuclear business, in North America, certification, as is mandatory in the commercial/residential/industrial construction sectors, is not mandatory and vehemently avoided. Thus, QC documentation as well as C of C's abound. As a result, in firestopping, an enormous amount of money has been spent to produce results, which would be far from acceptable, enough to horrify most municipal building inspectors or fire prevention officers. In the nuclear field in Canada the concept of bounding appears altogether lost. Certification listings were neither mandatory, nor used, for the most part. No guidance, no compliance. In the US nuclear generating stations, certification is also not required. But bounding occurs in compliance with test reports generated by firestop contractors. This means that 'someone' must dissect the test report and generate the equivalent of a listing, in order to have a very concise statement of the applications bounded by that test.  Writing listings is generally a privilege bestowed upon the test engineer and/or special staff at ULI and ULC. It is hazardous to leave that up to others. The testing in the case of nuclear firestop contractors in the US, was conducted at facilities that were not accredited for certification purposes and thus the applicants had a lot to do with the writing of the test reports, as well as the procedures. The idea of test procedures' being set out by the applicants is frankly illegal, where certification is mandatory. ULC would not even issue a report on this basis. In fact, ULC is such a guardian of safety in Canada, in large part because they will actually not produce a test report on products without the written authorisation of the manufacturer. ULC will also only issue a written report exclusively, if the product is intended for certification by ULC. This has several good reasons. One of them is that ULC realises that it is a certification organisation. Test reports on ULC stationery, without certification, may be misused and construed in the field as identical to a ULC listing. The added level of safety and comfort level due to ULC certification is apparent to experts in the field. Some are suspicious, of all else - for good reason. FM Global also offers certification services (scroll down for FM Global ratings under Ratings for Firestops/FM Global Approvals), similar to ULC and ULI. Such certification is aimed at assuring the needs of an insurance organisation. This is to complement, not replace code requirements, which are met as a result of bounding with UL and ULC certification listings, as well as special provisions mandated by the code for the particular application.

Certifier: An organisation accredited by the Standards Council of Canada for certification.

Chief Fire Official: means the assistant to the Fire Marshal who is the Municipal Fire Chief or a member or members of the fire department appointed by the Municipal Fire Chief under Subsection 1.1.8 of the 1997 Ontario Fire Code.

Closure: A device or assembly for closing an opening through a fire separation, or exterior wall such as a door, shutter, glass block, and includes all components such as hardware, closing devices, frames and anchors. Also see fire damper.

C. of C.: Certificate of Conformance. See certification definition above.

Combustible: A material which fails to meet acceptance criteria of CAN/ULC-S114, Standard Method of Test for Determination of Noncombustibility in Building Materials.

Cosmetics: Colloquial Firestop Industry Term referring to aesthetic finishing touches to an installed firestop.

CSC: Construction Specifications Canada, a trade association of specification writers and those who call upon them in a quest to have their products included for consideration in construction specifications.

Deemed to Comply Firestops: Industry jargon for nonapproved and usually unapprovable methods of sealing penetrations and joints, which should be properly firestopped by law. Colourful terms have appeared in industry jargon for assorted varieties of such cost-cutting measures. Also see the History of Firestops in North America.

DIBt: Deutsches Institut für Bautechnik (German Institute for Building Technology, Berlin, Germany) German federal institute which accredits and monitors testing organisations, like the Canadian SCC, publishes, monitors and maintains system and building product approvals.

'Dumb' Image: A 'dumb' image is a raster image. It is considered 'dumb', in comparison to a vector file, drawing or map. Vector files can be used to automatically extract quantifiable information and to make smart alterations. Operations and simulations based on 'dumb' images compared to operations or simulations based on smart vector files, is like investing in vinyl records or magnetic cassette tapes. It makes no fiscal sense. Click here to find out why. Click here for an external explanation of raster images. Apart from this, whether you have a smart or dumb drawing or map, once you hit "print", your printer driver will convert to a dumb image your printer can understand. Printers only understand dots. Conversions into dumb images are easy. Conversions into smart files takes real work, only a portion of which can be automatic.

Endothermic fire resistive materials: contain chemically bound water, in solid form. The concept is fundamental and taught in high school level chemistry. The chemically bound water is turned from solid directly to steam. The steam, at about 100°C is significantly colder than the fire. Thus the released steam is sent as a cooling vapour towards the energy source (fire). If one places an endothermic substance between the fire and something, which one desires to protect from the fire, the endothermic material will slowly but surely be spent. The more fire, the more steam is released and the less is left to protect the unexposed side. While any quantity of bound water is still left to protect the unexposed side, the temperature of the unexposed side cannot be raised above 100°C. Once the endothermic layer is spent, the heat on the unexposed side will rise. Thus, particularly in fireproofing tests, where one plots thermocouple readings of the unexposed side, one can immediately see a rise in temperature, from the ambient room temperature, towards the 100°C mark, where readings will sit and hover until such time as the water in the assembly is all spent. The trick in such testing is to guesstimate this timing such that one uses just the right amount of the protective endothermic material, to keep the unexposed side below the 140°C average rise as well as the maximum single hot spot rise of 180°C, which parallels many test procedures for assorted fire resistive products and systems, including firestops.

Fire Compartment: An enclosed space in a building that is separated from all other parts of the building by enclosing construction providing a fire separation having a required fire-resistance rating.

Fire Department: means a group of fire fighters authorised to provide fire protection services by a municipality, group of municipalities or by an agreement made under section 3 of the Ontario Fire Protection and Fire Prevention Act.

Fire Damper: Is a closure inside of certain ductwork where penetrating assemblies required to have a fire-resistance rating. Also see penetration seal drawings.

Fireproof: Verb: The act of installing fireproofing. Adjective: immune to the effects of fire. Nothing known to man is immune to the effects of fire of sufficient intensity and/or duration.

Fireproofing:  generally refers to materials, products or systems or the act of installing same materials, products or systems, which protect a surface, product, system or item from the effects of fire. Common examples of fireproofing in construction are plasters, paints or coatings or boards applied to structural steel, ductwork, process piping, critical valves, liquid petroleum gas vessels, vessel skirts, pipe bridges or electrical circuits (power, instrumentation, control or communication wiring) in order to prevent damage from the effects of fire. Fireproofing does NOT imply that the materials used for fireproofing purposes, OR the items protected by fireproofing are immune to fire. Nothing is immune to fire of sufficient intensity and/or duration. Fireproofing is a trade accepted term. Fireproofing is also NOT firestopping. One does not fireproof through penetrations, unpenetrated openings or building joints. One FIRESTOPS through penetrations, unpenetrated openings and building joints. Like any fire resistive product, system or assembly, fireproofing systems are designed to provide a finite duration of fire-resistance in accordance with bounded systems, against a selected fire exposure, in accordance with standardised test methods. For the protection of structural steel, the idea is to keep the steel element below its critical temperature, which is between 500 and 560°C, depending on which standard and which country one regards. Under the influence of elevated temperatures, steel first expands. After the critical temperature is reached, steel will actually soften and cease to render any structural support. Instead, its collapse is actually a drain on that, which it was meant to uphold. For most passive fire protection functions, the critical temperature in testing is 140°C on average and 180° maximum single point heat rise on the unexposed side. This goes for fire separations, firestops and assorted closures. In the case of circuit integrity for cables, particularly, though not exclusively, for cables used for safe shutdown of nuclear plants, the maximum temperature on the cable is not the heat rise above the ambient temperature at the beginning of the test, but instead it is a total maximum temperature. This can make a critical difference in whether or not a product or system passes or fails. The really crucial temperature though, is 100°C. Typically, when fire testing any enclosures, which are exposed to fire on the exterior, one can observe a steady heat rise on the unexposed side, from an ambient temperature of perhaps 20°C, up to the 100°C mark. Here, many system will flatline, meaning not permit any further heat-rise, until all the water in the system is spent. The more water is in the system, the longer the flatline. Once the water is spent, the temperatures begin a steady rise once again and the tester hopes and prays that there is enough time to make the rating. Once the water is gone, all one is left with, is the thermal conductivity of the system. Thus, as the input temperature rises, there is a directly related heat rise on the interior. The first interior heat rise after the water is spent may be more rapid, because the interior of the box or enclosure must catch up to what has been happening in the furnace. Testing of fireproofing methods for circuit integrity or any other type of enclosure are thus a race against time.

Cementitious Spray Fireproofing, W.R. Grace Type MK6, being applied to open web steel joists and metal deck in industrial condo in Burnaby, BC.

 

Fire-protection rating: means the time in hours or fraction thereof that a closure, window assembly or glass block assembly will withstand the passage of flame when exposed to fire under specified conditions of test and performance criteria, or as otherwise prescribed in the Building Code.

Fire-resistance: means the property of a material or assembly in a building to withstand fire or give protection from it and is characterised by the ability of the material or assembly to confine a fire or to continue to perform a given structural function or both.

Fire-resistance rating: means the time in hours or fraction thereof that a material or assembly of materials will withstand the passage of flame and the transmission of heat when exposed to fire under specified conditions of test and performance criteria, or as determined by extension or interpretation of information derived therefrom as prescribed in the Building Code.

Fire Retardant: A treatment to reduce surface burning characteristics of a material.

Fire Separation: means a construction assembly that acts as a barrier against the spread of fire and may or may not have a fire-resistance rating or a fire-protection rating.

Firestop: A system of various components used to seal mechanical, electrical or structural through penetrations, unpenetrated openings and building joints in fire-resistance rated wall and floor assemblies in order to restore their fire-resistance ratings, which are ZERO until said openings are firestopped with a certified firestop system, whereby the installed configuration is bounded in all respects by a certification listing. Firestops and firestopping services are available right here.

Firestopping: (Verb) the act of installing firestops, (Noun) firestop.

Firestopped: Past tense of verb.

Firestuffers: Colloquial firestop industry jargon for inexperienced and/or unethical firestop installers.

Firewall:  means a fire separation of non-combustible construction that subdivides a building or separates adjoining buildings to resist the spread of fire that has a fire-resistance rating as prescribed in the Building Code and that has structural stability to remain intact under fire conditions for the required fire-rated time.

F Rating: See below under Ratings for firestops.

FH Rating: See below under Ratings for firestops.

FT Rating: See below under Ratings for firestops.

FTH Rating: See below under Ratings for firestops.

ICBO: International Conference of Building Officials is one of the three US regional model code bodies. The other two are BOCA (Building Official and Code Administrators International) and SBCCI (Southern Building Code Congress International). Each of the three model code organisations, and building inspector associations publish a code used in certain of the US states. The country is thus divided among the three regional code groups. Collectively these three US regional model code groups are affiliated with a US national code body and umbrella organisation entitled ICC or International Code Council.

Incorporated at the time of Test: This is another way to say 'bounded'. For instance, when a through penetration in an assembly required to have a fire-resistance rating is mandated to be 'incorporated at the time of test', what that means is that the installed configuration must be bounded by a certification listing, meaning that all its components must be sized, located and installed within the maximum and minimum tolerances of the certification listing. It is also mandatory for bounding that the manufacturer's instructions in terms of workmanship, temperature ranges etc., must be adhered to. This way, what is installed in the field is actually covered, or bounded by the test. If bounding were adhered to, our fire statistics would likely be a lot less grim.

Intumescent: Substances which swell as a result of heat exposure thus increasing in volume and decreasing in density. Intumescents are typically endothermic to varying degrees, as they can contain chemically bound water. Intumescents are used in firestopping, fireproofing and gasketing applications. Some intumescents are susceptible to environmental influences such as humidity, which can reduce or negate their ability to function. DIBt approvals quantify the ability of intumescents to stand the test of time against various environmental exposures. DIBt approved firestops and fireproofing materials are available in Canada and the US. DIBt approvals have a finite validity and one must check the expiry date, which is printed on the front of the approval document.

Liquid Gold: Colloquial nuclear firestop industry jargon for firestops consisting in large part of silicone foam.

Listed:  means equipment or materials included in a list published by a certification organisation accredited by the Standards Council of Canada. Also see listing.

Listing:  means the summary of a test report issued by an organisation accredited by the Standards Council of Canada included both at the end of a test report and in a list published annually by a certification organisation. Listings can expire. In order to ensure bounding, one must ascertain that said listings are active and in good standing with the certification organisation. This particularly applies to intumescents, which must bear an active building material approval by DIBt in order to have proof of function against ageing and anticipated operational environmental exposures.

L Rating: See below under Ratings for firestops.

Major Occupancy:  means the principal occupancy for which a building or part thereof is used or intended to be used, and includes subsidiary occupancies that are an integral part of the principal occupancy.

Marketing:  means the the end of all truth.

Mineral Wool: Man made mineral fibres (MMMF), spun from molten mineral and metal based slag, including (in order of fire resistance from lowest to highest) fibreglass, rockwool and ceramic fibre. A common error is to confuse the term mineral wool with rockwool. Rockwool is a mineral wool, but so is fibreglass and ceramic fibre. They are all based on minerals. For firestopping purposes, it is important to distinguish between the different types, as they have vastly different properties, which, when used incorrectly, can either add fire resistive properties, or completely null and void them. Mineral wool manufacturers are advocating the term 'man made vitreous fibres' in order to distance themselves from any association with asbestos, which, of course, is a designated substance, undeniably hazardous and carcinogenic. The fear is that the term 'mineral' is associated by some with 'mining', which then leads back to asbestos, which was mined. Theoretically, asbestos fibres could also be considered to be mineral wool, but this is not intended. Apart from that, only the man made mineral fibres (MMMF) are actually available to the general public in a true wool form. Health issues have arisen since the seventies, concerning man made mineral fibres. However, the IARC designation for man made mineral fibres is that of a possible carcinogen, just like coffee and pickled vegetables. More information on fibre health issues right here.

MSDS: Material Safety Data Sheet. In Canada, this must be compliant with federal WHMIS legislation.

NBC: National Building Code of Canada, as published by the National Research Council's  Institute for Research in Construction or 'BOCA' National Building Code.

NFPA: National Fire Protection Association

Non-combustible: means that a material meets the acceptance criteria of CAN4-S114, "Standard Method of Test for Determination of Non-Combustibility in Building Materials".

Non-combustible construction means that type of construction in which a degree of fire safety is attained by the use of non-combustible materials for structural members and other building assemblies.

Occupancy means the use or intended use of a building or part thereof for the shelter or support of persons, animals or property.

Organised Religion: Guilt and Fear based Crowd Control.

Packing: (1) Mineral wool or other forming material (at times even combustible matter such as foamed plastic backer rod typically used for caulking building joints) when used as a firestop system component, or (2) Act of installing herein mentioned packing materials.

Passive Fire Protection: One of the two means to obtain a degree of structural fire protection and fire safety in a building. Passive Fire Protection measures are intended to contain a fire in the fire compartment of origin, thus limiting the spread of fire and corrosive, fatal flue gases for a limited period of time, as determined by testing, which must bound the installed configuration. Examples of passive fire protection measures are walls and floors required to have a fire-resistance rating, firestops, closures and enclosures. Contrary to active fire protection measures, passive fire protection means do not typically require electric or electronic activation or a degree of motion. Exceptions to that particular rule of thumb are fire dampers and fire door closers, which must move and shut in order to work, as well as all intumescent products, which swell, thus move, in order to function. Also see active fire protection.

Pencil-Whipping: Making a logically and ethically unacceptable fire protection situation, such as combustible fire barriers, absence of bounding, etc., appear acceptable through large amounts of technical justifications (excuses), which don't hold water in reality, but seem weighty to the novice who would not read and disseminate such (pencil-whipping) verbiage in its entirety. Usually, pencil-whipping is far more expensive (though perhaps more immediately embarrassing) than actually fixing the problem - even in the short term.

Penetrant: Mechanical, Electrical or Structural services, which are traversing an assembly required to have a fire-resistance rating, thus creating an opening, consisting of the space(s) between penetrant and surrounding structure, which must be firestopped.

Penetration: An opening in an assembly required to have a fire-resistance rating, containing one or more penetrants. For definition purposes, such an opening may or may not be firestopped. By law, it must be firestopped.

Penetration Seal (or 'penseal'):  A firestopped penetration.

PPE: Personal Protective Equipment. See WHMIS.

Raster Image: See 'Dumb' Image above. Scroll up, in other words.

Ratings for Firestops:  The basis of ratings of installed configurations, thus bounding and code compliance for firestops in Canada, is bounding as per systems qualified to ULC-S115-95. Further, to meet code, one must select the correct hourly fire protection rating from the following 5 ratings. Also see below for further ratings criteria.

(as per ULC-S115-95)

8.2 F Rating

8.2.1 A firestop system shall be considered as meeting the requirements for an F rating if it remains in the opening during the fire test for the rating period without permitting the passage of flame through openings, or the occurrence of flaming on any element of the unexposed side of the firestop system.

8.3 FT Rating

8.3.1  A firestop system shall be considered as meeting the requirements for the FT rating if it remains in the opening during the fire test within the limitations as described in Clauses 8.2.1 and 8.3.2.

8.3.2 The transmission of heat through the firestop system during the rating period shall not have been such as to raise the temperature of any thermocouple on the unexposed surface of the firestop system more than 181°C above its initial temperature.

8.4 FH Rating

8.4.1  A firestop system shall be considered as meeting the requirements for the FH rating if it remains in the opening and does not permit passage of flame during the fire test and remains in the opening during the hose stream test within the limitations as described in Clauses 8.2.1 and 8.4.2.

8.4.2 During the hose stream test, the firestop system shall not develop any opening that would permit a projection of water from the stream beyond the unexposed side.

8.5 FTH Rating

8.5.1 A firestop system shall be considered as meeting the requirements for the FTH rating if it remains in the opening and does not permit passage of flame or increase the temperature during the fire test and remains in the opening during the hose stream test within the limitations as described in the Clauses 8.2.1, 8.3.2 and 8.4.2.

8.6 L Rating

8.6.1 The L rating shall be reported as the largest test sample leakage rate, Q, determined from the air leakage tests. Separate ratings may be identified for each individual air pressure and temperature exposure, or both.

(Ratings in the US, as per UL1479 and ASTME814)

F Rating: Same as Canadian FH rating, except as outlined below!

T Rating: Same as Canadian FTH rating, except as outlined below!

IMPORTANT RATING DIFFERENCES:

1. Plastic Pipe Penetration Firestops: US testing does not mandate 50Pa positive furnace pressure for testing plastic pipe or conduit firestops. In order for US system to qualify in Canada, they must be re-tested with 50Pa positive furnace pressure, or they must have been tested that way in the first place.

2. All Pipe Firestops: US testing differentiates between 'open' and 'closed' systems, thus vented piping and all else. This allows the tester to cap pipes on the unexposed side prior to the fire test. Obviously, pipes acting as penetrants within a firestop  must be capped in order to be able to reach the time/temperature curve inside of the furnace. Otherwise the heat would escape during the burn. This practice of capping on the unexposed side negates air movement and thus results in very favourable conditions for the firestop. This is illegal in Canada. All systems qualified for Canada must have been capped on the exposed side prior to the test.

3. Building Joints: In the US, testing of building joints is accomplished by testing to ANSI/UL 2079 Tests for Fire Resistance of Building Joint Systems. This test cycles the sample through defined motion parameters, which then form part of the quantified rating, such as 10% motion, 2 hour T. In Canada, building joints are theoretically tested to S115. However, since the joint is there in order to accommodate motion,  testing to ANSI/UL 2079 can be deemed mandatory, as the Consultant must be able to demonstrate due diligence, which, in this case, can only be demonstrably achieved via the use of this US method, which is currently available at ULC. Since ANSI/UL 2079 is considered in Canada to be public information, any manufacturer's claims as to the flexibility of his or her system or product is automatically insufficient and inadmissible as a substitute for  ANSI/UL 2079 testing.

FM Global Factory Mutual Research Approvals: Factory Mutual Research is an affiliate of FM Global and has a different standard for evaluating firestops. The only quantification of a fire protection rating is in terms of the duration. Apart from the duration, there is no differentiation in ratings. Also, FM Global has its own guidelines, which are similar to  the Building Code but must be seen as supplemental to it. FM Global has both test standards as well as its own building regulation guidelines. The entire aim is to satisfy insurance or loss control requirements for owners, whose facilities are in fact insured by FM Global. The differences between the FM test regime and the above mentioned S115, E814 and UL1479 are significant. Thermocoupling varies and there is also no provision for 50 Pa positive furnace pressure testing. Also, the hose stream test is not optional. FM Global inspects client facilities and makes recommendations, where the inspector sees fit, in accordance with FM Global guidelines - not the Building Code or the Fire Code. Compliance with the Code and FM Global requirements may not be mutually exclusive, however, they do differ. A Consultant to a client for work on a new or revisions to an existing facility must be aware of both Code and FM Global requirements and must know that the more stringent requirement in each case must be used. In cases of stark cost differences, it comes down to a matter of negotiation. FM Global would not insist on the use of a lesser item or system, compared to what is mandated by Code. But it is not up to FM Global to know the Code by heart. In case of a difference, agreement must be reached on the basis of knowledge of all requirements and how they are best applied to each specific facility. In Canada, many large industrial facilities are insured by FM Global. Often, these facilities are in very small, rural communities. The facility is typically the largest or one of the largest employers in town. This results in the fact that even though the local municipality may have adopted the Provincial Building Code and Fire Code, these will not be enforced in said large facility, simply because the municipality has no clout in said facility and thus the local fire prevention officer and/or building official may have authority on paper, but not in reality. The fire prevention officer is supposed to represent the Fire Marshal. The building official is supposed to represent the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. But both get their pay cheques from the municipality, whose council is typically most accommodating to the big plant, because that is what is paying the bills and keeping the community alive locally. Thus, in many FM Global insured facilities, it is only the FM Global requirements, which carry any real weight. And this may in fact result in code violations, where FM Global and the codes differ. But this is the owner's responsibility - and not FM Global's. Also, not all FM Global guidelines are necessarily enforced. FM Global cannot force an owner to comply with anything. They can recommend. Fire protection is typically the lowest item on the priority list of owners. Thus, the FM Global inspector has a bit of a battle on his or her hands at the best of times. They usually make numerous recommendations according to their knowledge and loss prevention doctrine. Thus, priorities are dictated by their idea of potential losses associated with the absence of operable fire prevention means. For firestops as well as fireproofing, strangely, this means that bounding is essentially a pipe dream, even though FM Global has gone out of its way to take issue with code requirements for firestops, which are different from that which FM Global mandates in its own regulations. Thus, it is the norm, to see that firestops in FM Global insured facilities are absent or inoperable because they are often at the bottom of the list of priorities, despite the fact that all the service rooms  (which are of great importance because their loss carries great potential for consequential damages) are vulnerable when firestopping is not maintained in a bounded fashion. It is just as common to see that fireproofing is missing, even on obviously load-bearing structural steel, which penetrates or rests within fire separations, such as steel columns inside of fire separations, which surround service rooms such as Motor Control Centre rooms. See the pictures below:

Firestopped, but without spray fireproofing, beams can twist holes into wall in a fire.

Case-in-point: Here we have firestopped through penetrations. But if the beams are not fireproofed, they will twist and contort, expand and collapse and thus tear holes into this fire separation. This is why the Ontario Building Code specifically mandates that through penetrations in firewalls are configured such that their collapse will not adversely affect the integrity of the firewall. Once again, we can also see that smart firestop designers (R & D staff with firestop manufacturing companies) ensure that their listings allow for the combination of various penetrants in one hole.

Bare structural steel beam imbedded in 3 hour fire separation around MCC room.

A further case-in-point: structural steel beams and columns are often not just penetrating fire separations, but they are in fact imbedded in them. They are load-bearing and if left without fireproofing, reduce the fire-resistance rating of that fire separation to a few minutes. These are also among common deficiencies in industrial structures.

Re-enter: see re-enterability

Re-enterability: An unquantified judgement about the degree of difficulty involved in making penetrant changes to a firestop. This is typically of concern in many occupancies, which experience frequent penetrant changes - typically cables. Definitely, all hospitals, homes for the aged, educational facilities, power generating stations, pulp and paper mills, weapons manufacturing facilities, combat ships, any buildings with computer equipment, shopping malls, office buildings and many more, are classic examples, where many cable changes and other penetrant changes are made on a regular basis. Some firestops are actually marketed quite strongly on the degree of 're-enterability', when it might be wiser for the user to in fact consider the degree of difficulty for repairs to actually be bounded. Soft seals are very common, due to their low initial cost. Examples are systems consisting primarily of rockwool and assorted layers of paint and/or caulking type firestop sealants on one or both sides. Toddlers could re-enter such systems with no greater effort than it takes to refuse a nap. The force with which such changes are made often and easily shred such systems, which then causes the emission of a considerable cloud of MMMF, which further impairs smoke resistant bonding of repair sealant, apart from the fact that it is difficult to find systems, which have repair procedures as part of the original listing. Re-enterability is essentially a 'buzzword'. Operable seals remain bounded throughout the life of the building via knowledgeable maintenance.

Seal: See firestop.

Service: Mechanical or electrical penetrant.

SBCCI: Southern Building Code Congress International is one of the three US regional model code bodies. The other two are ICBO (International Building Code Congress) and BOCA (Building Officials Code Administrators International). Each of the three model code organisations, and building inspector associations publish a code used in certain of the US states. The country is thus divided among the three code groups. Collectively these three US regional model code groups are affiliated with in a US national code body and umbrella organisation entitled ICC or International Code Council.

Service Room: means a room provided in a building to contain equipment associated with building services (See Appendix A to the Ontario Building Code). Usually, service rooms are also fire compartments.

Service Space: means space provided in a building to facilitate or conceal building service facilities such as chutes, ducts, pipes, shafts or wires.

Skuzzbuckets:  with regards to passive fire protection, means individuals who engage in ethically, morally and/or legally corrupt activities which may potentially result in financial or physical harm, injury or loss of life of others for the purpose of personal gain or to protect self (the skuzzbucket that is) against financial harm via causing such harm to others. See History of Firestops in North America and review the Firestop Slide Show for the ill effects of examples of this excessively numerous species.

Sprinklered: (as applying to a building or part thereof) means that the building or part thereof is equipped with a system of automatic sprinklers.

Test(~ed)(~ing): means the operation of a device or system to ensure that it will perform in accordance with its intended operation or function. Also see certification, pencil-whipping and approved and AHJ. In Canada, the term 'test' is defined by code and that definition precedes this sentence on this page. But more is implied here than immediately meets the eye. In order for a test, as communicated in a report, to have any real validity, such as to be acceptable to the AHJ, or a court of law, the testing organisation must be accredited by the Standards Council of Canada. Testing by organisations other than those, which are SCC accredited is not acceptable to any Canadian AHJ, with the exception of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, despite its references to the National Building Code of Canada. The SCC maintains separate levels of accreditation: testing, certification and standards writing. If you desire to test your home tap water for contamination, you simply hand a sample to an organisation, which is SCC accredited for testing of this type. In the aforementioned scenario, the testing suits your personal purposes only. If, on the other hand, you desire to bottle that water for sale to others, you had better have the testing performed and reported on by an organisation which is SCC accredited for certification. Test reports other than certification listings justifiably fill Canadian AHJs with nothing but suspicion and are not excessively likely to meet with approval. In fact, they are more likely to be regarded as a tip-off to attempted pencil-whipping, based on our history on the subject. Nonetheless, testing precedes certification. In Canada, only ULC provides adequate protection against pencil-whipping to the AHJ because ULC will not issue test reports on items tested, which are not subject to certification. By contrast, you may see WH test reports on items, which are not meant for certification, where the origin or tampering with the original sample and its constituent materials is unverifiable. There is plenty of history to caution the AHJ to stick to listed and bounded items only, preferably those listed or certified by ULC, particularly when it comes to items concerning life safety - such as firestopping. Testing without certification is also acceptable in third world nations and in the United Kingdom. In North America and Germany, apart from the nuclear industry, testing without certification, outside of the SCC accreditation regime, is generally associated with felonies.

Through Penetration: An opening in an assembly which may or may not be required to have a fire-resistance rating, which is traversed by a penetrant. A through penetration may or may not be firestopped. A through penetration seal is a through penetration, complete with seal, which provides a fire protection rating (thus a firestop) or a product, material or system, which may not provide a fire protection rating, in which case neither the seal, nor the surrounding wall or floor assembly can be considered fire resistive.

Vectorisation/vectorising: The process of turning a raster image and converting it into a "smart" file by taking lines of pixels (dots), recognising them as lines, circles or symbols, and overlaying or tracing them with vectors, which are smart lines, complete with assigned x and y co-ordinates. Vectors create quantifiable information, length, width, area etc. Why would you vectorise a 'dumb' image? Click here.

Weasel Clauses: are commonly found in construction specifications. Their intent is exclusively to deflect responsibility and thus liability in all possible ways the specification writer sees fit to concoct. A popular analogy would be a flood insurance policy, which would cover all damages, except those, which are caused by water. In other words, the design team (architects and engineers) almost designs the building and its contents (almost because much of this work is often so sketchy that much is left to the imagination of the successful contractor, resulting in the fact that a lot of design work is done absolutely free of charge by the many contractors bidding on each job - this partially thanks to the fact that the design team too must compete) and then states that regardless of what they have drawn and written, everything must be done in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations. Or in other words: "We are not responsible for our work." Although this sounds preposterous at first, in reality this but gives a fighting chance to the design team. Of course, excrement flows downhill, as they say. Thus, such niceties are passed on further down the line from general contractor to sub-contractor, to sub-sub-contractor and so forth. What it really means is that if one is taken advantage of, or if damages result, one faces the cost and uncertainty of litigation and the prospect of fighting for one's rights, if all else fails.

Whistleblower: means a person who divulges conditions, which are unsafe and/or unlawful to one or more of the following: an employer, an AHJ, police, activists, government or the press. The US have specific whistleblower legislation, which is intended to provide the outward appearance that the whistleblower is protected from arbitrary retribution, such as job loss, negative changes in the work environment etc. Canada does not have this. Whistleblowers in North America, for the most part, sacrifice their careers and their own as well as their families' financial stability. In some cases, arbitrary retribution has led to severe personal attacks, apart from the usual financial destruction of the individual and his or her family followed, by the equally customary pretense of ignorance, non-involvement, complete unawareness of the perpetrators.

WHMIS: Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System, Canadian federal legislation mandating classification of products into various controlled or non-controlled substances. The respective act also mandates the implementation of a WHMIS program in the workplace, including construction sites, whereby controlled products must be labelled by the manufacturer or importer on record. Smaller quantities must be labelled on-site with workplace labels. Employers have an obligation to train their employees in WHMIS fundamentals as well as the specific hazards and preventive measures for each product they are expected to work with. Employers are also responsible to (a) provide preventive engineering measures to reduce excessive exposures to hazardous products and (b) to provide PPE (personal protective equipment) such as safety glasses, protective garments, helmets, breathing apparatus, etc. Workers are responsible to follow approved procedures. Violations of WHMIS safety regulations are subject to severe fines and imprisonment, if caught. The Ontario Ministry of Labour, which enforces this legislation is short-staffed and thus enforcement and compliance can suffer, particularly for firestoppers other than members of Local 95. Many firestop products are considered to be controlled substances. MSDS information should be considered by the specifier. MSDS must be submitted to construction sites prior to storage or installation on the jobsite. For more information on WHMIS, contact the IAPA.

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Glossary of Fire Protection Terms

3M Fire Barriers

Vectorising Drawings and Maps; Paper to CAD

Circuit Integrity Fireproofing

Bounding

Code Req's for Firestops

Essay on Performance Based Codes

Master Spec. Section 07840 Firestopping

Related Sections to 07840

Penetration Seal Drawings

Building Joint Drawings 1

Building Joint Drawings 2

Building Joint Drawings 3

History of Firestops in North America

Warnock Hersey Experience

Firestop Trade Jurisdiction

Achim Hering Bio

Man Made Mineral Fibres

Fire Protection Industry Links

Firestop Products and Equipment

Firestop Mortar

Firestop Silicone Foam

Intumescent Products

Endothermic Products

Insulation Products

Caulking & Paint Firestops

Firestop Pillows

Firestop Devices

Firestop Slide Show 1 of 10 Basics

Firestop Slide Show 2 of 10 Code

Firestop Slide Show 3 of 10 No Seal

Firestop Slide Show 4 of 10 Deemed-to-comply

Firestop Slide Show 5 of 10 Misinstalled

Firestop Slide Show 6 of 10 Re-entered

Firestop Slide Show 7 of 10 Faulty Spec.

Firestop Slide Show 8 of 10 Proper Firestops

Firestop Slide Show 9 of 10 Test

Firestop Slide Show 10 of 10 Smoke and Trays

Sample Firestop Listing

Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning; Boiling-Hot Pressure Washing

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