5 firestop myths you won't believe are false

The Truth Comes Out

High-rise buildings undergo the same inspections as regular buildings.
This statement is incorrect. High-rise buildings have specific inspections they must adhere to. First lets start with what a high-rise building is. According to NFPA 101 and the 2012 edition of IBC, a high-rise building is any building with occupants at a level of 75 feet or higher. This height is above the level that is accessible for the fire department.

According to IBC 1705.16 Fire-resistant penetrations and joints.

High-rise buildings or buildings assigned to Risk Category III or IV in accordance with Section 1604.5 of IBC, are required to undergo special inspections for through-penetrations, membrane penetration firestops, fire resistant joint systems, and perimeter fire barrier systems that are tested and listed in accordance with Sections 714.3.1.2, 714.4.1.2, 715.3 and 715.4 shall be in accordance With Section 1705.16.1 or 1705.16.2.

Intumescent Firestop can be used on all penetrations
False. Intumescent sealants should be used for materials that will burn away. Intumescent sealants expand with heat and form a char that fills the void created when a combustible penetrant starts to melt away.

Non-intumescent sealants are designed for metallic pipes (noncombustible penetrants) and are nonexpanding. If the penetrant is not going to melt or collapse during a fire you do not want to utilize an intumescent sealant that will expand and put pressure on the noncombustible penetrant.

Dry wall compound is a suitable substitute for firestop materials.
No! Drywall compound is not a tested and approved of method of firestopping. Dry wall compound is approved to cover seams between adjacent layers of gypsum board in fire-rated assemblies, BUT it is not approved to be used as a product to fill penetrations or voids in annular space between the penetrant and the opening. Drywall compound is brittle and often water soluble, meaning overtime it may crack, deteriorate or dissolve.

The key takeaway here is—do not assume that any product is a firestop product unless it bears the correct markings from a third-party testing or listing agency.

All firestop caulks are required to be red.
False, there is no building code that mandates product color. In fact, firestop caulks and sealants come in a variety of colors to help differentiate the type of product and its specific use. Many manufacturers do chose to use red and other colors that standout to help ease inspection and make the product easily identifiable.

Once you firestop your facility you are done until your next inspection.
False, firestop maintenance is a continuous process involving design, installation, inspection and maintenance. This ensure that your building occupants are safe, and that nothing slips through the cracks.

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