Firestopping

Firestopping refers to the sealing of penetrations and joints of fire rated walls, floors and ceilings to prevent the spread of fire and/or products of combustion. It ensures that fire, smoke and toxic gases are contained to reduce the tragic loss of human life and damage to property.

Firestopping is an effective way of Building Compartmentation. To prevent the spread of fire, smoke and toxic gases within a building, certain walls, floors and joints are required to meet a specific fire resistance rating.

Firestopping

 

What it takes for fire to start?

Firestop Sealing and closing

Fire needs three basic elements to start;

  • Fuel
  • Oxygen
  • Heat Source

This is called the ‘Fire Triangle’. If anyone of the three elements is missing, fire will not ignite, or, if it is already burning, removing one of the three will quench the flames.

The fire can be brought under control and/or can be quenched, if one of these elements is taken out of the ‘Fire Triangle’.

Example: Remove the oxygen and the flames go out. This is often what is being done when we talk about extinguishing a fire. An atmosphere with less than 16% oxygen will not allow a fire to burn.

 

Where is firestop required?

It is required by the Building Codes that every penetration or membrane penetration, joint or open gap in a fire-rated wall or floor assembly is adequately protected by sealing or “firestopping” such that the building component is restored to its original fire-rated condition in order to maintain compartmentalization.

It is mandatory to provide firestop systems consisting of a material, or combination of materials installed to retain the integrity of fire resistance rated construction by maintaining an effective barrier against the spread of flame, smoke and/or hot gases through penetrations, fire resistive joints, and perimeter openings in accordance with the requirements of applicable Local as well International codes & standards.

Firestop systems shall be used in locations including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Penetrations through fire resistance rated floor and roof assemblies including both empty openings and openings containing penetrants.
  • Penetrations through fire resistance rated wall assemblies including both empty openings and openings containing penetrants.
  • Membrane penetrations in fire resistance rated wall assemblies where items penetrate one side of the barrier.
  • Joints between fire resistance rated assemblies.
  • Perimeter gaps between rated floors/roofs and an exterior wall assembly.
Firestop Sealing and closing
Firestop Sealing and closing

 

Classification of firestop systems

Firestop Sealing and closing
THROUGH PENETRATION FIRESTOP SYSTEM
  • This category addresses openings in fire rated assemblies where penetrants are passing through a fire-rated construction and where the integrity of the wall and/or floor needs to be maintained.
  • The penetrants include, but are not limited to, mechanical, electrical, piping, structural and communication devices.
  • Through Penetration Firestop System Ratings shall be established in accordance with ASTM E 814 or UL 1479 as the test method.
  • The firestop system refers to all the necessary components in the approved firestop design, which can include but is not limited to the penetrant size, annular space, sealant depth, and other parameters in the listing.
  • The rating of the firestop system shall be equivalent to the rating of the barrier in which the firestopping is installed.

This is called the ‘Fire Triangle’. If anyone of the three elements is missing, fire will not ignite, or, if it is already burning, removing one of the three will quench the flames.

The fire can be brought under control and/or can be quenched, if one of these elements is taken out of the ‘Fire Triangle’.

Example: Remove the oxygen and the flames go out. This is often what is being done when we talk about extinguishing a fire. An atmosphere with less than 16% oxygen will not allow a fire to burn.

 

MEMBRANE-PENETRATION

This category addresses openings in fire rated assemblies where only one side of the fire rated barrier is penetrated and where the integrity of the wall or floor needs to be maintained. This would include items such as, but not be limited to, electrical outlet boxes and other electrical devices.

Membrane Firestop System Ratings shall be established in accordance with ASTM E119 as the test method.

Membrane penetrations shall be permitted to be installed on both sides of the wall (or floor). If more than one (1) membrane penetration is installed in the test assembly, the vertical and/or horizontal distance separating them shall be the minimum separating distance shown in any resulting listing.

Firestop Sealing and closing

 

FIRE RESISTIVE JOINT SYSTEMS
Fire Resistive Joint System
This category addresses any gap, joint, or opening (whether static or dynamic) between two fire-rated barriers including where the top of a wall meets a floor; wall edge to wall edge configurations; floor edge to floor edge configurations; floor edge to wall configurations.

Fire Resistive Joint System Ratings shall be established in accordance with ASTM E 1966 or UL 2079 as the test method.

The system refers to all the necessary components in the approved firestop design, which can include but is not limited to the joint width, sealant or backing material depth, and other parameters in the listing.

The rating of the firestop system shall be equivalent to the rating of the two assemblies in which the firestopping is installed.

 

PERIMETER FIRE BARRIERS / EXTERNAL CURTAINWALL SYSTEM

This category addresses any gap, joint, or opening, whether static or dynamic, between a fire-rated floor assembly and a non-rated exterior wall assembly.

A single or combination of materials used to create a firestop assembly at the perimeter gap between a fire resistance rated floor assembly and a non-resistance rated wall assembly, capable of preventing the spread of heat, fire, gases, smoke or other defined hazards through the opening in the wall and floor assembly.

Perimeter Fire Barrier System Ratings shall be established in accordance with ASTM E 2307 as the test method.

The system refers to all the necessary components in the approved firestop design, which can include but is not limited to the gap size, sealant or backing material depth, and other parameters in the listing.

The rating of the firestop system shall be equivalent to the rating of the floor in which the firestopping is installed.

Firestop Sealing and closing