One minute and thirty seconds is all it takes for a modern room to become completely engulfed in flames and smoke. Less time than you thought, right? With everything we know about fire safety, why are buildings burning faster and hotter?
Today’s buildings are built with engineered beams and wood, which are simply small pieces of wood compressed together with glue. These materials are lighter and cheaper, which can be good, especially for building quickly and efficiently. Unfortunately, in a fire these materials are much more hazardous because these construction pieces are lightweight and use laminated beams and trusses, which will burn all the way through and collapse almost instantaneously in a fire. Not to mention, modern furniture and coverings which are made out of synthetic materials don't help either. Carpet, curtains, chair seats, and many other modern synthetic products contain hydrocarbons which is a solid form of gasoline. This causes them to ignite quicker and burn hotter and faster than natural materials, in addition they let off deadly gasses like carbon monoxide and cyanide when they burn.
This is why a building’s fire protection system is important to it’s overall integrity and the safety of those occupying it during an emergency. One area that is important in the prevention of fire and smoke is firestopping. The International Building Code (IBC) and The International Fire Code (IFC), as well as other regional building codes, require new construction to have been properly firestopped before the building is even allowed to open to the public. If the final inspection reveals that firestopping is not properly installed, the opening of the building will be delayed, leading to costly issues and negative public relations.
Model Building Codes That Require Firestopping in New Construction:
- Uniform Building Code (ICBO)
- Standard Building Code (SBCCI)
- National Building Code (BOCA)
- Life Safety Code (NFPA 101)
- National Electrical Code (NFPA 70)
- NFPA 5000 (NFPA Building Code)
Firestopping For New Construction
Firestopping has become a key component to a building’s over all fire and life safety system. Firestop materials are used to seal up any spaces that surround penetrating items, such as plastic pipes or wires. These items will even melt or change shape during a fire, which is why some firestop materials will also expand in the presence of heat. This swelling action seals and stops the spread of fire and smoke to other rooms and even floors within a building.
Some Common Firestopping Materials Include:
- Silicone, Latex, Intumescent
- Wrap Strips
- “Thick, Thin, Wide, Less Wide”
- Composite Sheets
- Bricks / Plugs
- Pre-Fabricated Kits
- Spray Products
Fire and smoke can spread quickly in the event of a fire by slipping through gaps and holes around penetrations in the walls or ceilings of a building. A properly firestopped barrier will help prevent the spread by containing fire and smoke to one location.
Preventing the spread of fire and smoke is crucial to the integrity of the building and the survival of those who may be occupying it in the event of a fire. Keeping the fire contained through the use of firestopping allows occupants to safely exit the building, and keeps the building’s structure from becoming unstable.
LSS Life Safety Services®
The construction industry will find many manufacturers of firestopping products. So, choosing the right product is a critically important task, ensuring the outcome achieves the required levels of fire resistance. LSS Life Safety Services is an expert in specifying the most effective components to slow the spread of smoke and fire should the worst occur in your facility.
LSS Life Safety Services is FM Certified with DRI Certified managers on staff. Our installers are OSHA 10 trained, STI FIT Level Certified, and have extensive installation experience with STI, 3M, and HILTI systems.
Contact Us Here or call us at 888-675-4519 to learn more about properly firestopping your new contraction project!