FIRESTOP SLIDE SHOW PAGE 7 OF 10

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Bad Examples Type 5 - Un-coordinated Specifications and The Effect of Busting up

  the Firestop Workscope among all the trades (should be a felony).

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Master Spec. Section 07840 Firestopping

Related Sections to 07840

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Building Joint Drawings 1

Building Joint Drawings 2

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History of Firestops in North America

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Firestop Trade Jurisdiction

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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)

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CONTACT

More Bad Examples in Firestopping: This page documents further what happens as a result of un-coordinated specifications and the absence of consideration for construction sequencing, all spelling disastrous problems. All are preventable.

Electrical and Mechanical Penetrants in the same hole, plus a pointless sleeve - who is to fill this when each trade fills its own holes?

Allrightythen: One penetration with four electrical conduits and one sprinkler branch line. It is customary for sprinkler contractors to use sleeves one NPS up from the pipe - although NFPA13 calls for a 1" clearance and this way, there is really only a 1/4" clearance. A 4 year old's fingers are most suited to properly firestop such ridiculously small clearances. But here, it is even more ridiculous to sleeve - inside a bigger hole. It makes firestopping harder and serves no real purpose other than to provide another thermal bridge to the unexposed side, apart from a cost control measure on the part of the sprinkler contractor. There is a bit of history to be considered here.

Also: What about responsibility here? Whose hole is it to seal? In new construction, this is how it works, when ignorance prevails, or dollars take precedence over safety and technical realities and code intent are swept aside and ignored. In the first place, usually, not enough money is allowed for firestopping. The low tender system, though the best we have, results in the simple fact that when a mechanical or electrical sub- or sub-subtrade actually allows the right amount of money for firestopping correctly, he or she can forget about getting the work. Survival depends on a slim estimate sheet, upon which a slim margin must be tolerated in order to get the work, with hopes of making some sort of decent recovery in the form of extras, which everyone else goes out of their way (sometimes even hires extra staff~) to avoid with weasel clauses (such as "all as per applicable laws and such clauses as we may invent at a later date in order to avoid adding cost, no matter what") or maximum guaranteed prices (the ultimate catch-all), even if the drawings and specs may be of insufficient detail to guesstimate at a price with a high degree of confidence. Thus, the general contractor is forced to protect him- or herself by ensuring that each trade does its own firestopping, insisting upon the addition of such trivialities upon signing of the contract. ("Phew!"). There are lots of trades to go around, between those who hang the mechanical and electrical services and those who make floors and walls, which said services must traverse.  So here comes the first rule of avoiding proper firestopping, as applied by mechanical and electrical contractors, who hang their services before the walls are up: "I was there first." This means that the conduit, cable, or bus duct was there first and when the drywaller or bricklayer show up afterwards, they can simply smear the hole shut, without any further thought to meeting code, which is based upon a firestop system, whereby the installed configuration is bounded by a certification listing. In cases where the "I-was-there-first!" scenario does not work, such as when the wall is there before the service, this sort of thing occurs: (as in the above example) The sprinkler contractor will surely only want to seal between the ludicrous sleeve and the branch line. The Electrician has a case to "share" responsibility for the whole thing with the mechanical contractor, who will blame his sprinkler contractor and try to stick him with the mess, unless of course, he or she installs his or her own sprinklers, as is sometimes the case. So let's say they arrive at some shared responsibility jury-rig. Who is to say who uses which material and whether or not the combination is compatible and bounded by one certification listing?

Simple solution? Yes. One Section 07840. All firestopping is done by one specialty subcontractor, for the GENERAL contractor. This of course, proper firestopping, adds cost to a job, which was otherwise priced on the basis that drywall penetrations were drywall mudded and blockwall penetrations filled with ordinary cement mortar (and not particularly well usually). Therefore, the savvy cost control expert, oblivious to life safety or code compliance concerns, or the poor sod, who is forced into a corner lest he or she go broke, loose the house, accept third rate education for the kids, live in a cardboard box and beg for spare change, due to this this pre-determined disaster, will require the following EXCUSES not to do it right, quite possibly not out of malice, but perhaps to save his or her own (and the kids') hid(e):

Excuse #1. Architects can't tell GC's how to divide up the work.

That is quite true. Except for one obvious wrinkle. It is commonly known, and can be seen in buildings everywhere, that busting up the firestop workscope inevitably leads to one big, untraceable mess, which leaves the owner with no clue about maintenance and no records to perform any because only an insignificant fraction of installed firestop configurations are bounded by certification listings. And be they bounded or not, you CAN'T TELL, because the records are inconclusive. Architects know this and CAN insist upon an inventory of openings with all relevant compliance data, including hole numbers and complete descriptions of each hole, the listing number it is bounded by and so forth), which make it economically unfeasible to bust up the workscope. Not to do so, ends in the elimination of fire resistive assemblies, which puts the entire project in jeopardy.

Odds can be against the architect at times, when he or she tries to set the workscope up correctly, so that proper firestopping results. But the architect can win this one. The bad examples shown in here demonstrate the result of doing it wrong. Doing it wrong is the easier and softer way - but it leads to deaths and liability claims. Which architect seriously wants even partial responsibility?

Excuse #2: "I can't tell the M & E consultants to leave the firestopping alone. Their fee is based on a percentage of the Mech/Elec contract."

No excuse because: This work is highly specialised and requires co-ordination. The work is ARCHITECTURAL. We are fixing walls and floors - not pipes and cables. Their pipes and cables go through the architect's walls and floors. The architect has overall responsibility. The plausible deniability on this one is zero. This is public information. Apart from that, the architect typically pays HIS or HER consultants. If you purchase a car, is it not your choice whether or not you want a sunroof from the manufacturer or to buy one in the aftermarket?

Excuse #3: "What if the mechanical and electrical consultants know more about firestopping? What if they know better?"

Come on! Imagine saying this back in university? Engineers know better than architects? One has but to look at a few existing buildings, where the old way of busting up the workscopes was used to realise that there is no salvation in this fruitless approach. This is not about who knows better or whose fraternity is convinced its collective IQ is higher than the rest. We are not building on success here. Most Canadian buildings are not firestopped correctly. The old approach of busting up the workscope is like telling NASA to go back to the old O-rings or to re-glorify the body count in Vietnam. If we are to do it right for a change, we need to change the approach absolutely.  Also, have a look at Specifications Divisions 15 and 16. There is usually no shortage of firestop spec. oversights in typical Div. 15 and 16 specs.

How to mess up drywall penetrations.

Drywall is always a popular location for such ritual butchery. What we have here is what the code refers to as a membrane penetration. In this rare case (for new construction), the drywaller was there before the plumber. He 'whacks' through the hated but rated drywall. There is no listing in North America that bounds this mess. Many listings are based on very specialised and mounted sheet metal sleeves, sold by the firestop manufacturer, or at least very closely defined and cut openings, with a perfectly centred annulus about the pipe, which is then sealed. When many firestop manufacturers, some of whom haven't the remotest clue or concern about real construction sequencing (as is evident by the field applicability of a lot of certification listings), test these systems, they get drywallers to build a drywall in a test frame, preferably at ULC, or ULI, or unfortunately Warnock Hersey, if worse comes to worst. Then the holes are carefully cut. Then the pipes are fed through and then the holes are sealed. That's great in a laboratory, or for simulating high-budget renovation projects - but this is not reality in new construction. The mess in this picture doesn't have a prayer of being bounded by a listing or passing a test for that matter. Drywall is a finicky commodity, which has to be very carefully installed, or else it will fail. A lot of this cutting and patching may work fine for concrete or blockwall. But it does not work with drywall. Drywall is subject to a lot of motion during a test. It relaxes towards the fire. This is why many of the early drywall firestop tests failed. This is also why the exact drywall test sample deflection is a proprietary item, that ULC or ULI will not disclose to anyone other than the sponsor of the test. The  early firestop test failures in drywall assemblies happened despite very careful installation practices, which are not always or usually duplicated on real construction sites. It took the industry some time to figure out how to make drywall firestops pass the tests. This cost a lot of time and very real money, courtesy of a few firestop manufacturers who decided to run a number of full scale wall tests at ULI. Deviating from proven systems (which does not include obsolete ideas about smearing in drywall mud because someone reasons that it is the "same as" the Type X drywall, or a bit of any given type of firestop caulking without consulting and sticking to a real listing) is not a good idea. It is actually against code intent and quite illegal.

Simple solution? You bet. Separate Section 07840 - co-ordinated. One firestop contractor on the job. No-one else messes with these holes. Next, you (the architect) get the drywaller to box a rectangular or square opening around these pipes. You can get spec inserts for this from the author. Next, the drywaller boards and we have a nice, clean, perfectly anchored penetration which to seal. And yes, there are listings that bound this. Everything else is simply a fire hazard. And what is particularly cruel? Not fixing this at the front end, ensuring that mechanical and electrical contractors have included no money for blockwall and drywall penetrations and then forcing them to do it this way through the popular use of weasel clauses, if  the impending conflict comes out.

Sleeves: A preferred method of adding a hazard level to firestops for no technical benefit whatsoever.

So much for the firestop expertise of this mechanical engineer. If the spec tells the plumber to do this, he or she has to. If the engineer thinks this is actually safer, he or she is following his or her conscience. But let’s learn from our errors please! This does not meet the code. Listing compliance does. It is also called BOUNDING. The installed configuration has to be bounded by a certification listing. This old procedure of busting up the firestops among all the subtrades is thoroughly unfair even to those subtrades. Busting up the workscope in this manner, either ensures incomplete fire safety measures, or that the subtrades are being forced to bleed - or both. Not nice. In fact, you would likely be hardpressed to find an M/E subtrade, who would not cheerfully or gleefully give up the firestopping to the general contractor, who can hire an expert. This work is not for amateurs. It is suited to professionals – in this particular trade.

So, what good is this sleeve? There is NO listing to that bounds it. It provides a thermal bridge (a big one), it can't be properly anchored to the studframe. The sleeve becomes another PENETRANT which requires firestopping around it. So, we get the drywaller to do that with drywall mud????? And what sort of listing bounds that?

BUT! We have the weasel clause, right? Do it all according to code! That should cover it. And then I don't have to confront the M&E engineers to co-ordinate the spec, right?

WRONG: This mess clearly prevents the contractors from meeting code. How do firestops meet code?

Installed configurations must be bounded by certification listings. That's where we get back to the architect. The spec can be demonstrated to be an obstacle to code compliance. Can you expect a subtrade for plumbing to second-guess your fire-resistance ratings? Nope. Fire-resistance ratings are the architect's deal - first and foremost.

This is all very easily remedied from the start. Afterwards, it's difficult though, if the homework was not done right from the start -  In the specification.

How to ensure improper firestopping with un-coordinated specifications.

Here we have the same problem as mentioned above, only worse. The plumber followed instructions, to the letter, by providing a perfectly useless Section 15050 Schedule 40 sleeve. His insulator shoved in some packing and smeared in some silicone. Just look at the mess around these pipes. How on earth is the most gifted of drywallers supposed to put his drywall around this mess??? Well, he tries. He uses tape. He uses mud. He puts in the T bar - f a s t.

Preventable? OF COURSE. Same as stated above. Section 07840, co-ordinated. Speciality firestopper works for the GC. Div's 15 and 16 do no firestopping. At all. The drywaller studboxes and boards. Nice, clean hole. It gets firestopped and meets code.

FIRESTOP SLIDE SHOW PAGE 7 OF 10

Next

(proper firestops)

Back

(re-entered but not re-sealed)

Firestop Page

Main Page

Glossary

Comments

Main Site

Firestop Site

Code Evaluations AVAILABLE!

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

ULC           UL

T O S

(Theory of Survival)

DIBt

TU Braunschweig iBMB

CONTACT

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