Spotlight on membrane penetrations

A couple of weeks ago, I received the following email…

“Please review the inspectors deficiency report and provide us an Engineering Judgment similar to what you sent me just for a 1″ insulated copper pipe, but it penetrates only one side of partition and then turns down inside partition wall.”

I immediately replied back with a link to STI Firestop’s UL System W-L-5327. A couple of minutes later, I followed up with a phone call and was greeted with insulated-pipe“How did you get that back from your engineering department so fast?”

I explained that, “what I sent was NOT an engineering judgement, but was in fact a tested, listed UL System for an insulated cooper pipe membrane penetration… we knew you guys would need it eventually, so we had it ready… in fact, we are the only manufacturer (as of the writing of this article) with an insulated pipe membrane system.”

In fact, UL has just published 9 new STI Firestop W-L membrane systems that include metallic pipe both insulated and uninsulated as well as combustible piping, cable bundles, steel supports, duct work and a wood stud/truss type penetration.

So, why after all this time are we testing membrane penetrations?

Being a student of the industry, I called up Jonathan Mathews, STI Firestop’s Fire Protection Engineering Manager to get some clarification. He had this to say, “Historically, membrane penetrations of vertical wall assemblies were treated as one-half of a through penetration firestop system. Some model codes even included verbiage to this effect. Recently, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) announced that their requirement would be for membrane penetrations in vertical wall assemblies to be specifically tested and listed.”

“They cited the fact that when the membrane penetration firestop system was tested for fire exposure to each side, they had concerns about whether the configuration where the gypsum board was intact on the backside of the membrane penetration would behave in the same way. While perhaps not a concern for noncombustible penetrants such as metallic pipe or conduit, it could be a concern for plastic piping. Accordingly, this has necessitated specific testing and listing of membrane penetration firestop systems.”

Jonathan went on to tell me that not only are we the only manufacturer with an insulated pipe membrane system, but we are the only manufacturer with a steel duct, 4″ plastic pipe and wood stud/truss membrane penetrations. Not to mention that the other systems we have listed have some serious competitive advantages over the competitors.

What do you know, STI Firestop, once again, has some serious competitive advantages over the competition.



About zalepka

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