Fire Stop and International Building Code
A fire stop consists of tested and rated fire protection systems that, when properly installed, limit the movement of flame, heat, smoke and toxic gas throughout a building in the case of a fire. Fire stops consist of pipe penetrations, which are either metallic or plastic, and a number of other proprietary products and accessories. Fire stops often work in conjunction with other fire containment tools, such as fire walls and smoke barriers, all of which play a significant role in fire protection.
In order to best protect building occupants and firefighters, and contain the fire to its intended area, it is essential that the fire protection system be in proper working order. An improperly installed or otherwise defective fire stop can majorly impact the overall fire protection system; therefore, it is extremely important that you hire a qualified professional that is knowledgeable in fire stop code requirements to ensure that your system is properly installed and in good shape.
Many installation inspections have been and continue to be completed by municipal building inspectors, but this has changed slightly in recent years. Beginning in 2012, the International Building Code (IBC) required that fire stop installation inspection in high-rise buildings, and Risk Category III and IV buildings with occupancy greater than 300, such as schools and hospitals, be completed by independent special inspection agencies. The agencies selected for such buildings are required by law to submit interim and final reports to building officials, contractors and project designers. Professionals at these agencies are the most knowledgeable and experienced in regards to fire stops, and will ensure that buildings are well protected in the event of a fire.
In addition to checking that the system is properly installed, fire stop professionals can also determine the system’s ratings. The IBC and building owners themselves often establish minimum ratings for buildings and other projects, so it is important that a professional check to ensure the system meets the minimum established levels. Approved systems will receive three ratings, which include the following:
- F Rating. The time the system remains unscathed while properly containing the fire.
- L Rating. The amount of smoke that is allowed to leak through a joint or penetration.
- T Rating. The amount of time the system is able to prevent the temperature on the non-fire side from raising 325° F above the surrounding air temperature.
To ensure that your building is well protected in the case of a fire, work with a fire stop professional to properly install a quality fire stop that meets IBC regulations as well as the established system ratings mentioned above.
If you are interested in further protecting your building in the case of a fire, consider working with a company specializing in cabling installation and fiber optic installation to create a customized fire and security alarm system. At CTS Cabling, we have have worked with hundreds of businesses and residences to create and install customized security systems, which include voice, data and video, to protect both building occupants and property. To learn more about fire and security systems, whether at a residential or corporate building, call CTS Cabling at 877-685-2626 or contact us online.
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