BIM & Firestop Integration

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Introducing a powerful new plugin for AutoDesk Revit®. The FCM (Firestop Clash Management) plugin uses clash detection to find locations where penetrants and/or joints meet fire-rated barriers and automatically selects the appropriate firestop systems. It removes the complexity of designing firestop systems and ensures that when it comes time for construction, the systems selected provide the fastest installation and best installed cost. It is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

STI now offers a complete BIM (Building Information Modeling) solution which includes smart BIM objects for our entire product line and the new Firestop Clash Management (FCM) Plugin. The smart BIM objects are individual objects that can be input into a Revit model that represent our products digitally. The objects include devices, collars, and sealants that automatically adapt to the conditions of the model.

Information for all of STI’s BIM offerings can be found on the BIM Resources page (http://www.stifirestop.com/bim-resources/).

More in-depth features, including a download link to the installer and an instructional video on using the plugin, can be found on the FCM page (http://www.stifirestop.com/FCM).

Shout outs to: David Samuel, Justin Pine, John Graper, Corey Chess, and Jason Nappi for making this all happen.

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Spotlight on Perimeter Fire Barrier Protection

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I was fortunate enough to receive additional training at STI HQ recently on perimeter fire barrier protection (a/k/a curtainwall firestopping) from Eric Lacroix, our Director of Strategic Accounts and resident Curtain Wall Specialist, a/k/a GURU!

Eric hit on EVERYTHING that STI does well when it comes to protecting the perimeter…

Did you know? We own over 57% of the UL Certified CW Firestop Systems, including the ONLY UL Certfied Backpan Design. • Multiple Approved Connection Methods • Multiple Insulation Types and Brands • Spandrel Types; Glass and Aluminum, Stone and Composite Panels • Optional Shadow Box Designs • Lowest Sill and Spandrel Heights
• Documented L Ratings • Penetrations in the Safing Slot, for allowing Conduit for Lighting and accommodates radiator pipes • Coverage for Tubular Walls and I Mull Aluminum Framed Walls, Steel Stud/EIFS Designs, Insulated Panels and Non-Insulated Precast Panels • Anchor Connection Protection

MIND BLOWN!

STI Firestop is dedicated to providing our clients and partners with the industry’s most
advanced cost effective solutions for perimeter fire barrier systems. Whether you
are a curtain wall consultant or glazing contractor, STI helps get the job done right
the first time. We offer the products, training and support throughout all phases
of the project to eliminate delays, ensure compliance, and help guarantee a
successful outcome. Once again with a focus on providing solutions… not just selling you more product.

 

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Spotlight on DIIM for firestopping

Life Safety Digest (LSD) is a big part of the FCIA’s strategy to educate about the importance of the ‘DIIM’ for firestopping and effective compartmentation.

I was happy to be able to contribute an article to the most recent edition of LSD. Click on the image for a PDF of the article, or you can click here for the full issue (see page 27)… I guess that makes me a published author now. 😉

Know when

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Spotlight on STI BIM Resources

ASTI-BIM-logo quick and effective method to integrate firestop into your complex building design.


Specified Technologies Inc. offers BIM objects for architects and engineers to import into building models. Developed using Autodesk® Revit®, specialized software developed for building information modeling, these objects offer a quick and effective method to integrate firestop into your complex building design.
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Spotlight on firestopping conduit risers

Firestopping conduit risers has always been a challenge for electrical contractors on high-rise construction projects. Typically anywhere from 8-20, 4″ conduits rise through the building, originating in the basement and continuing up the building through fire-rated floors.  There are a few solutions that can be installed to restore the hourly rating of the floor; and STI Firestop has all of them!

COMPOSITE SHEETSTI riser COMP SHEET

Many contractors favor the ascetic finish of STI composite sheet as per UL System CAJ8181. Here is a picture of Five Star Electric’s work at World Trade Tower 1. Note how the conduit were at minimum of 1″ apart and the sheets overlaped the opening by 2″ on all sides. Great work Five Star!

MORTAR

When the price of product is a consideration, sometimes contractors turn to STI Firestop Mortar as per UL System CAJ 8055. Zwicker Electric useSTI riser MORTAR EJ drwaingd and engineering judgement similar to this drawing which as based off of CAJ 8055 this system at the Bank of America Tower. Mortar can sometimes be challenging, as you need to form out the opening from below. A lift rental due to a high ceiling and/or additional labor due to having to work both below and above the slab, could negate any product price savings.

PILLOWSSTI PILLOWS JFK

For the quickest install and when a future condu
it run through the opening is a consideration, Firestop Pillows as per UL System CAJ 8093 may be the best solution as it was for EJ Electric at JFK Airport. Note that for larger openings wire mesh will need to be installed at the top and bottom of the opening after the pillows are installed.

INTUMESCENT SEALANT – (LCI)

The final solution that is common among contractors for firestopping risers is mineral wool and STI LCI Intumescent Sealant as per CAJ 8113. You can see a snapshot of this “super-system” showing multiple penetrants, including conduit. This is not
an easy install and can be very messy. If full STI LCI CAJ 8113.jpgmineral wool compression is not achieved, in a larger opening in particular, the mineral wool could cave in from the weight of the sealant resulting in a re-install, and no one wants that.

A special thank you to David Augello, STI Northeast Regional Manager for the idea and content for this article.

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Know when to say when: friends don’t let friends overfill sleeves

Recently I was at a cocktail party making some new connections when someone asked me the good old question, “So, what do you do?”

As a sales rep in the firestop industry, whenever I get this question, I have to quickly make a decision on just how much I’m prepared to share about my everyday life, or for that matter, how much do I think the person asking really wants to hear. I always ponder how much easier it would be if I were a lawyer, a doctor, or a mechanic for that matter. I know that whenever someone tells me they are a lawyer, doctor or mechanic, I automatically think of a very simple follow-up question like: ‘what type of law?’, ‘what type of medicine?’, or ‘what type of vehicles do you work on?’ Instead I’ll get what seems like an obligatory blank stare, followed by a question like ‘what in the world is firestop?’

I have found that most people have no idea what firestop is, so I always ask a qualifying ‘are you sure you want to know?’ then I start from the beginning… owners… architects… curtain wall… fire-rated assemblies… passive fire protection… compartmentalization… penetrants… annular space… intumescent… and so on. If my audience’s eyes haven’t completely rolled into the back of their heads’ at that point, they will generally start to understand what I’m talking. About this time I tie the overall concept of firestopping into a topic that they can relate to, low-voltage cabling. Anyone who owns a home has had some experience with a contractor coming into their house to run a new cable, and the subsequent hole created and left behind by their phone, cable or internet company. I’ll ask them to consider a high-rise condominium with multiple families and thousands of cables or brokerage business in office building and the cables feeding individual work stations, or educational facilities connecting to ever-changing technology. I grabbed my phone to pull open a BICSI-accredited PowerPoint presentation that I typically give to illustrate potential firestop/cabling issues; one gentleman politely excused himself and two others started their own side conversation.

I thought I was in the clear, when Bob, a P.E. from Princeton, or was it Yale, wanted to know more. Hopefully I can get through the barrage of technical questions I’m about to get I thought to myself. But instead I got this softball, “So, what happens when new tenants and thus new cabling needs to be run in an existing building?”

Great question Bob!

Moves, adds and changes in low voltage cabling is the biggest challenge in maintaining code compliance and more importantly the life safety of a figure 1building. Datacom cabling is an example of penetrants that will often require change or removal or replacement over the lifecycle of occupying tenant. As such, we need retrofittable sealing products such as putty (see right) that can be removed and reinstalled as necessary.

The below diagram shows the typical life-cycle of low voltage cables installed in a traditional firestop sleeve where cables are added over time and firestopping is removed, eventually leaving us with all cables.figure 2.png

Deployment of new technologies and the size and scope of the Local Area Network ( LAN) are growing exponentially on a daily basis. There are a massive number of communications cables finding their way into concealed overhead and underfloor spaces of open-plan offices, health care facilities and educational institutions throughout the world, posing a significant burden to firestopping systems on a daily basis. There are 2 key challenges to maintaining code-compliant, firestopped sleeves:

  1. MAINTAINING THE SEAL
  2. OVERFILLING THE SLEEVE

MAINTAINING THE SEAL

The first challenge can easily be solved with by creating a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to ensure that a retrofittable seal is used and replaced. Very few buildings, outside of healthcare facilities, have inspections after the building is open. This means that over time firestop seals may be compromised, or removed and not reinstalled properly according to code leaving a potentially devastating life-safety issue. An SOP helps to establish guidelines and parameters for how to properly install a tested and listed UL® System and how to maintain that opening moving forward, along with specifications including products and sealing methods to be used. For best practices, consider implementing some sort of barrier management program, they are available in printed (cBMP) or digital (eBMP) versions.

OVERFILLING THE SLEEVE

The biggest safety concern is allowing cables to totally displace the firestop materials and/or exceed the maximum allowable percentage of cable fill. The biggest question is always what is the maximum % of cable fill allowed in a sleeve?

Often time, contractors who install firestop systems talk about the 35-40% rule of thumb, believing that the National Electrical Code (NEC) calls out the maximum allowable cable fill in a sleeved opening. This is a common misconception that artificially restricts the
cable fill of sleeved openings  in fire-rated and non-fire-rated construction alike. The NEC, although often cited generically as restricting sleeve fills to a maximum of 40%, in reality places no restrictions on maximum cable fill in sleeves. The cable fill requirements of the NEC are applicable only to conduit and tubing systems and do not apply to short sections of pathway used to protect cabling from physical harm a.k.a. sleeves, see NEC(NFPA 70) Chapter 9, Table 1 Note 2. Furthermore, the NEC specifically states that low voltage cabling is exempt from pathway fill requirements, see Articles 770.110, 800.110 & 820.110.

Firestop systems evaluated to the parameters of ASTM E814/UL 1479 are the actual limiting factor in regards to cable fill in sleeves passing through fire-rated construction (such as the 46% fill called out in UL® system WL3133: aggregate cross-sectional area of cables in sleeve to be max 46 percent of the cross-sectional area of the sleeve. Cables to be tightly bundled.). Cramming that last cable into a tightly packed sleeve can push it beyond what the original firestop system was designed to accommodate making the installation non-compliant. When sleeve fills are exceeded, more robust and expensive solutions are required such as firestop collars. These remediation efforts also make existing sleeves static and require a new sleeve or pathway to be installed to accommodate future work.

Taking steps to prevent sleeve overfill in traditional methods is possible, but are not fool proof and result in increased administrative and inspection/maintenance costs and documentation. Along with being cognizant of % of sleeve fill, keeping enough fire stopping material on site is recommended, as is the labeling of sleeves that are close to or have reached their maximum capacity.

So Bob, as you can see with the growing number of networks and cabling needs has come heightened awareness among contractors, designers, and installers that their firestopping efforts may be better served by installing high-fire-performance cables through zero-maintenance fire-rated pathways with factory-metered and installed self-adjusting firestopping preinstalled. Zero-maintenance fire-rated pathways completely eliminate the guesswork and need to keep firestopping materials around after construction has been completed; potentially saving lives and property damage with “built in” security. When it comes to traditional firestopping methods, you never stop paying. You pay to put it in and every time you make cable changes, you do it again. The more changes you make, the more it costs you both in time and money… Not to mention disruption!

With the EZ-Path® System, firestopping is a one-time event! No sealant, putty, or foam pads to remove and replace. Nothing to adjust. Nothing to loosen and re-tighten!

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Click on the above graphic to see EZ Path in action!

 

 

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Spotlight on Solutions: Composite Sheet

If there were one thing (and there were many) that Mark Nunn tIMG_3251aught me, it is to sell solutions, not products. One of our last jobs together was at one of the new NYC Sanitation buildings.

It was toward the end of the job and we had to close up a handful of round duct penetrations, but there were a lot of ancillary things going on around it (as you can see from the before pictures below). A pillow or LCI intumescent sealant solution would not work, as the client did not want any product that could be removed or accidentally stepped on or poked into because “these are garbage men after all” is what we were told. Mortar was out as the ceilings were 40+ feet, that left only one solution… Composite Sheet.

But how could we make it work?

Nunn had a vision… He began to sketch up the solution and a couple of EJ’s later, our problem was solved (see after pictures below).

Now the fine men & women of the NYC Sanitation department can feel safe in their new home.

Comp Sheet Tristan NYC Sanitation

SpecSeal® Composite Sheet is a lightweight, rigid fire resistant panel consisting of an intumescent layer bonded to a galvanized steel sheet reinforced with steel wire mesh covered with aluminum foil. SpecSeal Composite Sheet is designed to seal medium to large size openings with a variety of different penetrants in both fire resistance rated floors and walls.

For more information, product data sheets and UL Certified Systems using Composite Sheet, please visit our website

 

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Spotlight on pipe insulation

All insulation is NOT created equal… and neither are their firestop systems. sss100-application-3

Sharron Halpert, of HLS Consulting, has almost 15 years of experience in the construction industry. She has focused primarily on passive fire protection; dealing with firestop, proper design of rated assemblies, specifying cost effective solutions for difficult situations, inspections or rated assemblies, training of installers, inspectors, GC’s, superintendents, engineers.

Sharron has written an article with the intention of bringing awareness in regards to the differences in pipe insulation as it pertains to firestop installation. Our hope is that knowing these differences and basic things to look for, firestop installers will understand when and sometimes even when NOT to install certain firestop systems.

Whether you are reviewing submittals, installing or inspecting firestop or any of the steps in between, you need to know NOT ONLY the differences in insulation types, but how they will impact firestopping and potentially your company’s liability on projects.

Here is the link to her article, any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

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Spotlight on Volunteerism

Volunteerism (n) – the policy or practice of volunteering one’s time or talents for charitable, educational, or other worthwhile activities, especially in one’s community.

People volunteer for a wide variety of reasons, especially wanting to help others. But it’s also OK to want some benefits for yourself from volunteering.

Currently, I am the Chairman of the Freehold Township Education Foundation. I chose this organization at this point in my life because I have 2 children in the Freehold Township School District. I figured it was a no-brainer to get involved in helping our district become recognized on a national level. And I am happy to say that with the hard-work of all of our volunteers and the commitment of our administration, the FTEF has been able to play a role in doing just that.

Check out this video that outlines our current initiative STEAM212… enjoy!

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Spotlight on “Standardize with STI”

When you standardize with STI, you will reap the benefits by exclusively using STI products on all of your projects.

Compatibility issues with caulks, sealants, & sprays exist between durst-57th-street-pyramiddifferent manufacturers that compromise performance because of the various chemical compounds used. Using products from multiple suppliers within the same opening can void the UL® Certified Systems, jeopardizing compliance and placing liability squarely on the owner, facility or contractor. Risk of mixing products can be mitigated by standardization and liability exposure is further reduced with products designed, tested and approved for the specific applications.

STI can support the entire project, from the design phase through construction and fit out. We help simplify the process with barrier management programs and expert advice to optimize efficiency and help lower your costs. Our eBMP® & cBMP® programs encourage building owners and facility directors to standardize by exclusively using STI products for a number of reasons.

Here is a link to some other benefits as to why you should Standardize with STI.

Call us today 1-800-992-1180 for a no cost specification review.

 

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