Firestopping is an important part of maintaining and repairing your fire barriers. Without proper firestopping, penetrations that are left untreated can be deadly if a fire were to break out in the facility. There can be many different opinions on how to tackle firestopping projects, but those are likely never based on the facts or code. Don’t let your facility fall short on compliance by listening to opinions rather than knowing the facts.
To ensure that your facility’s fire barriers are code compliant, follow these dos and don’ts on proper firestop installation:
DON’T Mix Manufacturer Products
Manufacturers each have their own set of firestop UL systems that are specific to their products and cannot be combined with other manufacturer’s products. If products from different manufacturers are being used on the same penetration, the UL system is considered non-compliant. When this happens, your fire barriers can become compromised, and are no longer being protected. If you are doing your firestop maintenance in house, be sure you are only using one manufacturer, and are following their specific UL system requirements. If you decide to go with an outside contractor, be sure to let them know what product you prefer to use in your facility.
DO Have a Plan for Addressing Open Penetrations
Having a plan for protecting your fire barriers is important to implement in your facility. Over the years, projects or maintenance can happen at any given time. This means penetrations can be made in your fire walls and barriers to run cables to a different room, accommodate new construction, etc. If you don’t’ have a plan in place to maintain these penetrations and stay aware of areas needing firestop, your facility will fall short on compliance and be unprotected in a fire. If you don’t have the manpower to put a plan in place, hire a specialty firestop contractor to set up a monthly or quarterly maintenance plan to take care of your fire barriers.
DON’T Allow Your Contractor to Leave Without Documentation
Thorough documentation with before/after photos of firestop maintenance done in your facility is required during an AHJ survey. Without documentation from your contractor, you will not know which areas have been completed and what, if anything, still needs to be done. If documentation is not available during an AHJ survey, they are more likely to fine or discredit your facility for not being code-compliant. If you do have documentation to prove that a program is in place to maintaining these issues, an AHJ is more likely to be lenient on the areas that have yet to be touched.
DO Enforce the Documentation of Which UL System was Used
After receiving documentation from your firestop contractor, be sure that the documentation is thorough and includes which UL systems were used on each penetration. This is the first thing AHJs will look for when conducting a survey in your facility. If UL systems are not included on the documentation, even if the penetration has been sealed using the right UL system, your facility could be facing consequences. Make sure each UL system is written out in documentation clearly to avoid any consequences.
DO Research Your Firestop Contractor
If you decide to set up a program with a specialty firestop contractor, do a little research on them. Don’t just hire the easiest or cheapest option, hire a contractor that has a track record of being the best in the business. Here are some more tips on how to hire a reputable firestop contractor.
DON’T Let Your Facility Fall Short on Compliance
Maintaining compliance in your facility is a job that you do on a daily basis to keep the facility running smoothly, while also keeping the building and occupants safe. We cannot stress how important it is to follow code, as they are in place to help maintain safety and save lives. If you are in need of a firestop contractor to protect the integrity of your fire barriers, many contractors such as PREVENT can help you get back in tip top shape.
Give us a call at 877-392-6074 or request a free quote online.