More and more insulation contractors have been asked to include firestopping into their line of work. While many contractors are actively applying tested firestopping systems in order to prevent the spread of fire, smoke and gases, others feel that they do not have an adequate knowledge level concerning firestopping. This is not the case for a company like Great Northern Insulation, who is familiarized with the thermal properties of numerous pipe insulations, not to mention that they are well acquainted with how these products behave in a fire. If you are starting renovation in tenant’s new accommodations, this is what you should know.
The basics of firestopping
Fire-stopping is made up of three elements: fire-rated walls, partitions, floors and ceilings; the cables that make up the object which is creating the penetration; last but not least, the materials and the methods which are used to seal the penetrations to prevent the spread of the fire and the smoke. Besides these elements, the installation designer will take into consideration whether the penetrations will remain permanent. The fact is that the penetration may change during the renovation project, which means that electrical-system installations may also be required. Permanent penetrations imply those made specifically for building power, while telephone and data-cable penetrations can be changed or even reused by the contractor.
The choice of firestopping systems
Generally speaking, the choice of firestopping systems depends largely on the activity in the service penetration. If cables will be installed, and implicitly firestopped, then low-cost solutions will be used to cement the cables into the wall. However, if cable additions or removals tend to occur every few years, then there are many firestopping products and devices that can provide relative ease. A modern way in which insulation contractor find firestop systems is by using online listings provided by testing and certification labs. The good news is that the choices abound, which is at the same time a blessing and a curse due to the fact that there is a solution for every existing situation.
Installation methods used by insulation contractors
The insulation contractor may choose one or two methods for installing firestop materials. When the cable tray ends at the wall and a conduit sleeve gets through the wall to provide a path or the cable, the contractor is forced to fire stop the counduit penetration and to fill the body with firestopping material. The second method that the contracto can use implies filling the opening with fire-stopping material that will fill in the voids of penetration. Typical firestopping products include mortar, putty sticks, blocks and pillows. Although the firestopping materials mentioned here serve as effective means, the effectiveness can be compromised when the contractor or the maintenance personnel moves or add cables.
The key to a successful installation is planning. A well-designed cabling system must identify the unique problems which are associated with through penetrations, so you need to make sure that the insulation contractor can provide large-enough penetration for the expected cable loading and future growth requirements.