Firestops: Benefits of Installing Them Yourself & Code Requirements to Know
Finishing a job feels incredible, but jobs aren’t just about the finish line. As plumbing contractors know, there’s so much more at stake. Beyond installing plumbing systems, pros have to make sure their installation is protected from fire threats — and that the building’s residents are protected just the same.
Firestopping is an integral part of commercial construction jobsites and the liability tied to it is top of mind for both business owners and project managers. And now contractors have more control over firestop installations. With the use of listed firestop sleeve devices, the process of firestopping floor penetrations is automatically taken care of, eliminating the need to rely on a secondary manual operation by themselves or other contractors.
Brush up on your knowledge of firestop codes and standards and discover why you may want to start installing listed firestop sleeves, rather than simply installing manual firestop systems.
Benefits of Installing Firestop Sleeves Yourself
There are a few reasons that performing your own firestop system installations is actually the best solution. And with cast-in-place sleeves, it’s easier than you think.
Less Room for Error
It’s not uncommon to rely on manually installed and sometimes makeshift methods to get the job done — like using mineral wool and a firestop sealant — or even subcontracting your penetrations out to a firestop specialty contractor. But with more hands involved, there’s more opportunity for mistakes. Is there enough firestop backing material installed? Does the other contractor know how much sealant to put in? Is their fire caulking installation up to code? Not only can this cause inspection failures, but it can also compromise your hard work and increase liability risk.
With HoldRite HydroFlame cast-in-place firestop sleeves, all the firestop components are already factory pre-installed for you. Simply adjust the sleeve to the height of the concrete, nail the base of the sleeve down to your formwork, then pour concrete. It’s that simple. After concrete is cured and formwork is removed, you run your penetration through the sleeve and you’re done. Nothing gets missed between you and a secondary contractor, and you know that everything meets code.
Better Efficiency Leading to Increased Profits
Firestopping with your own crew not only puts you in control of safeguarding your plumbing work. It has the potential to increase your value in the construction company’s eyes too. Offering two services instead of one can make you a more desirable contractor for construction jobs.
Installing cast-in-place firestop sleeves is proven to be up to 6 times faster than traditional firestopping methods. Most contractors agree that rising labor costs are the largest expenses they will incur on today's jobsites. Cast-in-place firestop sleeves save you money by reducing the number of times you have to revisit that construction penetration.
Ability to Use HydroFlame Pro™ Firestop Sleeves on a Wide Range of Through-penetrations
There are all sorts of pipe types, fire-rated assemblies and ratings you may be working with on any given job. HydroFlame Pro firestop sleeves are designed and optimized to accommodate your everyday jobsite through-penetrations. Since laying out cast-in-place firestop sleeves is the same process as laying out traditional metal or hollow plastic sleeves, you don’t need to have a special firestop UL or FM Accreditation to install them.
HydroFlame Pro goes beyond the fire rating too. It also has water, smoke and temperature ratings. These aren’t necessarily a requirement across the country, but they prevent additional damage to the building and help minimize harm to occupants.
Key Firestop Codes to Know
As pros know, intumescent firestop materials are designed to expand and seal off the annular space around a penetration to ensure that fire and its byproducts don’t go through the rated assembly and ultimately to other parts of the building. There are several codes and standards that confirm a firestopping product can perform under these conditions.
ASTM E814 and UL 1479 are the standards that through-penetration firestop products must meet in order to be considered on any project. These testing standards ensure that the firestop products will endure the test and restore the assembly back to its original fire-rated integrity. For instance, if a corridor wall has a 2-hour rating, the firestop must be tested in a UL-accredited lab furnace for 2 hours to prove that it can be used in that assembly. This could vary across assemblies like walls, floors and ceilings in different areas of different buildings, and it’s defined in the building code.
Why Firestop Code Requirements Matter
When you look at building codes for commercial buildings or multifamily homes, they have all incorporated fire-resistant construction standards and requirements in order to ensure that building safety requirements are met. Following firestop codes helps protect the building in the event of a fire.
Abiding by the ratings also protects your business. Firestops must be installed in accordance with their listings otherwise the liability transfers to the installing contractor.
Changes in Code: HoldRite Does the Heavy Lifting for You
Codes and standards are updated every three years. While it’s important for contractors to keep their knowledge of codes and standards up to date, HoldRite also helps ensure that the products you rely on are always meeting code.
HoldRite’s parent company, RWC, is extremely active in the code arena, and we watch changes to see how they affect your jobs. Because our teams are a part of associations that consider codes and standards improvements, we’re at the forefront of any changes and update our products accordingly.