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I think I've snapped - fire stops

Inspector Gadget

BRONZE MEMBER
Joined
Mar 5, 2020
Messages
825
Location
New Brunswick
After having the 467th explanation that gooping a fire-stop product around a pipe may - or may not - meet the requirement for a fire stop I am at the point where I am sincerely considering refusing to issue a building permit where fire-rated assemblies are involved until the contractor/designer/agent/owner/whoever provides a UL/ULC tested assembly for every. freaking. penetration.

Currently dealing with a job where the contractor blindly followed the engineer's declaration to slop some goop around a pipe. It will almost certainly fail.
 
If they're a new to me contractor, I explain how I was taught to properly install it, and what happens to intumescent materials when heated and warn them that I will randomly check one or more during my framing inspection .
 
Fire stopping submittals being submitted at the permit review stage is a best practice identified by the International Firestop Council. I was considering making it a requirement for permit submittals for my municipality before leaving my role there...
 
Fire stopping submittals being submitted at the permit review stage is a best practice identified by the International Firestop Council. I was considering making it a requirement for permit submittals for my municipality before leaving my role there...
Problem is that most of the folks around here will grab a tube of grey fire-rated silicone, squirt it around pipes, and then figure it done.
I am arguing with someone who sincerely believes Hilti FS-1 gooped around 4" PVC pipe is good enough to go through a floor.... with a two-hour rating.
Best I could do is explain that a firestop is like a pancake. It's a recipe. FS-1 is part of a recipe. Saying you've used FS-1 as a firestop is kinda like telling me that a cup of flour is a pancake.
 
Fire stopping submittals being submitted at the permit review stage is a best practice identified by the International Firestop Council. I was considering making it a requirement for permit submittals for my municipality before leaving my role there...
I always require a submittal (except for small jobs), and prefer a deferred submittal as it is usually better because it is more than just an afterthought by the DP's. I like a submittal once a contractor has been chosen. Otherwise the DP just starts cherry-picking systems just to provide something, then the contractor uses their own. This should be caught in the field, but too many inspectors also think a nice helping of goop is good enough.
 
I always require a submittal (except for small jobs), and prefer a deferred submittal as it is usually better because it is more than just an afterthought by the DP's. I like a submittal once a contractor has been chosen. Otherwise the DP just starts cherry-picking systems just to provide something, then the contractor uses their own. This should be caught in the field, but too many inspectors also think a nice helping of goop is good enough.
I had a significant alarm upgrade at a major post-secondary institution take place. Lots of penetrations of fire-rated assemblies. The contractor subbed it out to a company whose employee - get this - actually knew what he was doing. I dropped by near the end of the job, and the installer was stunned that (a) I was inspecting his work and (b) that I actually knew what I was looking for.
Buddy and I spent about 45 minutes talking shop. He was immensely proud of his work, and said that in the years he'd been doing fire-stop installation, I was the first inspector he'd ever seen.
That kinda made me both proud and sad at the same time.
 
I know require SI for all firestopping....because I am sick of fighting....And it is still a fight...
I tried to get my last BO to require SI's. He said "I can't, it's not a high-rise". I urged a closer reading of the code. Politics.
 
I was the first inspector he'd ever seen.
And the band played on. I hear that with a twist....oh sure, the inspector showed up ..... he didn't do an inspection. I have been a witness to this for years. It is especially true with solar and el. service upgrades.
 
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After having the 467th explanation that gooping a fire-stop product around a pipe may - or may not - meet the requirement for a fire stop I am at the point where I am sincerely considering refusing to issue a building permit where fire-rated assemblies are involved until the contractor/designer/agent/owner/whoever provides a UL/ULC tested assembly for every. freaking. penetration.

Currently dealing with a job where the contractor blindly followed the engineer's declaration to slop some goop around a pipe. It will almost certainly fail.
Any data you have on gooping a fire stop product wont work? Otherwise its just an opinion.
 
Any data you have on gooping a fire stop product wont work? Otherwise its just an opinion.
It is just an opinion...But it is the only one that matters.

The code requires a fire stopping system. Not just some random product applied.

Show me the listing you used when you were installing the product.

If I have concerns you didn't follow the listing, I can make you take it apart to prove you did. The fire stopping company will even pay for the wasted material...If I find it was done right.
 
I tried to get my last BO to require SI's. He said "I can't, it's not a high-rise". I urged a closer reading of the code. Politics.
Yep....1705.1.1...I don't enjoy playing the "because I said so" card.....but I do when deemed necessary....

3. Materials and systems required to be installed in accordance with additional manufacturer’s instructions that prescribe requirements not contained in this code or in standards referenced by this code.
 
Any data you have on gooping a fire stop product wont work? Otherwise its just an opinion.
All I need:

714.4.1.2 Through-penetration firestop system.
Through penetrations shall be protected by an
approved penetration firestop system installed as
tested
in accordance with ASTM E814 or UL 1479,
with a minimum positive pressure differential of 0.01
inch (2.49 Pa) of water and shall have an F rating of
not less than the required fire-resistance rating of the
wall penetrated.
 
Many years back I did a lot of fire inspections for health care facilities. Of course, I found a lot of problems every time as during the intervals between my visits, various people poked a lot of holes. But, one thing that always stuck with me was the level of professionalism I saw in most firestop contractors employed by these facilities, and the most impressive and useful thing was the tagging of each system used. I wish that would become part of the requirements for the IBC, with some threshold level for bigger jobs or more sensitive occupancies. The tags made installers take ownership of the work.
 
There is a bit of science behind firestopping. There is the material that is penetrated, the material of the item that penetrates, the size of the penetration and the size of the item that penetrates, the environment, expansion and contraction of both the item material and the the penetrated material, the number of anticipated cycles of expansion and contraction, the rating, etc.

Manufactures of firestopping have pretty much worked out the parameters and they provide choices. The choice is made by either a contractor, engineer or an architect. I have always preferred the architect. SFR firestop comes in a can ... all other gets more attention. More than one architect has been upset when told that it is their responsibility.
 
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Many years back I did a lot of fire inspections for health care facilities. Of course, I found a lot of problems every time as during the intervals between my visits, various people poked a lot of holes. But, one thing that always stuck with me was the level of professionalism I saw in most firestop contractors employed by these facilities, and the most impressive and useful thing was the tagging of each system used. I wish that would become part of the requirements for the IBC, with some threshold level for bigger jobs or more sensitive occupancies. The tags made installers take ownership of the work.
Ask and ye shall receive...Took me way to long to find so it is probably in the wrong spot, but it is a start....

703.5 Marking and identification. Where there is an accessible
concealed floor, floor-ceiling or attic space, fire walls,
fire barriers, fire partitions, smoke barriers and smoke partitions
or any other wall required to have protected openings
or penetrations shall be effectively and permanently identified
with signs or stenciling in the concealed space. Such
identification shall:
1. Be located within 15 feet (4572 mm) of the end of
each wall and at intervals not exceeding 30 feet
(9144 mm) measured horizontally along the wall or
partition.
2. Include lettering not less than 3 inches (76 mm) in
height with a minimum 3/8-inch (9.5 mm) stroke in a
contrasting color incorporating the suggested wording,
“FIRE AND/OR SMOKE BARRIER—
PROTECT ALL OPENINGS,” or other wording.
 
As a Fire insp/investigator, I have seen damage due to holes or compromised fire separation walls, doors, I have never seen or heard from others that fire spread through a gooped up opening. Have you really looked at some of the details, not much better than gooping. Fire-wool gets pulled out lot easier than goop.
what we are gooping is plastic pipes, wood and drywall, give time and they all burn.
So, as inspectors do you guys harass people to get 5 star Fire stopping that will be left after everything is burnt. Typical inspector outlook, in my experience, every inspector develops a fetish over a minor issue and becomes an expert on some minutia, we all are masters of minutia.
most important stuff like structural inspection and testing we give to third parties. I know quiet a few that look at nothing but fire stop, go figure.
 
It is just an opinion...But it is the only one that matters.

The code requires a fire stopping system. Not just some random product applied.

Show me the listing you used when you were installing the product.

If I have concerns you didn't follow the listing, I can make you take it apart to prove you did. The fire stopping company will even pay for the wasted material...If I find it was done right.
You are so powerful, but remember knowledge makes you humble.
 
As a Fire insp/investigator, I have seen damage due to holes or compromised fire separation walls, doors, I have never seen or heard from others that fire spread through a gooped up opening. Have you really looked at some of the details, not much better than gooping. Fire-wool gets pulled out lot easier than goop.
what we are gooping is plastic pipes, wood and drywall, give time and they all burn.
So, as inspectors do you guys harass people to get 5 star Fire stopping that will bd left after everything is burnt. Typical inspector outlook, in my experience, every inspector develops a fetish over a minor issue and becomes an expert on some minutia, we all are masters of minutia.
most important stuff like structural inspection and testing we give to third parties. I know quiet a few that look at nothing but fire stop, go figure.
My own operating premise, as to the purpose of the Code, is centered around it's two fundamental - and historical - objectives:
  1. If a fire breaks out: Keep it from spreading from building to building to building and burning down an entire neighborhood or City - as used to happen back in the day.
  2. If a fire breaks out: Allow the Occupants enough time to exit the building safely.
The purpose of the Code is not to construct buildings in such a way as to prevent fire damage to the building once a fire breaks out. It's to insure the two points above.

Now that fire sprinklering is rule, and not the exception, the role that fire stop penetrations play in the Code has not caught up. 100 to 150 years ago, tens of millions of Americans used to live in Cities with fire departments that were far less effective than they are today. And most buildings weren't sprinklered. It was pretty much taken as a given, back in the day, that once a fire broke out, the building was pretty much going to burn down. But as long as it met the two stated objectives above, the Code was seen as success.
 
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