Basics of Commercial Firestopping

Installing commercial firestopping products can help hinder fire, smoke or toxic gases from passing through walled surfaces. There are several different types of firestopping products including sealants, collars, fireproof caulking, foam blocks, firestop pillows, and fire retardant spray products available. There are two basic installation applications for these types of products:

  • Around construction involving cables, HVAC systems or pipes
  • The meeting of two assemblies such as at the top of a wall, edge of a slab or floor-to-floor joints

Who usually installs firestopping products?

Commercial installations are primarily handled by contractors, then maintenance staff is responsible for upkeep. In most instances, professional firestop contractors are hired for installations. This is partly due to the fact that a professional contractor is knowledgeable of fire and building codes and can properly install and document their work. A reputable professional can also make certain firestop installations are done right the first time. They also know which applications need protection and which ones do not. A professional installer can usually provide an initial survey as to what needs to be upgraded.

firestop intumescent pillows are used for commercial firestoppingHow do you know which firestop installer to hire?

If your business is looking for a professional installer, it’s important to know their level of expertise, experience, and training. Ask them for any accreditation that is standard for the industry. Many manufacturers now sponsor accreditation’s to help promote correct installations of firestop products like firestop putty and firestop pillows.

Who should be responsible for maintenance, inspection or documentation of commercial firestopping installations?

The owner of a commercial building is responsible to ensure it complies with any regulations or applicable laws relating to the property. They should know what the fire code is for the region and ensure the building is in full compliance. Fire codes govern many aspects of a building from the construction, occupancy regulations, and protection. These are all influencers on fire safety for the building. The US has many different fire codes most of which are similar. One requirement in all the fire codes and safety features which are incorporated into the construction of a building must be maintained for the life of the building. This makes the owner responsible for ensuring any fire resistance rated construction be maintained.

What types of services will a commercial firestopping professional provide?

You will need to speak directly with a professional to see what types of firestopping services they provide. Here is a list of some of the services you should expect a commercial firestopping professional to perform:

  • Assessments and inspections of all rated barrier firestops and all joint seals
  • Develop a corrective action plan
  • Up-grade for code compliance
  • Implement safety improvements
  • Remove deficient firestopping materials and replace them with UL compliant materials
  • Digital documentation
  • Proficient in manufacturer applications
  • Sealing openings that are large or unconventional
  • Firestopping trade penetrations and joints
  • Inspection and walk-down services

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