Newsletter February 21, 2006


  • FCIA Firestop Industry Conference site announced
  • UL Announces new Firestop Contractor Qualification Program
  • FCIA at ICC Meetings in Orlando
  • NFPA Conference Studies Sprinkler Reliability
  • MOP Updates to be mailed
  • FCIA Members in the news
  • FCIA Mourns Passing of Cam Phibbs

UL FIRESTOP CONTRACTOR QUALIFICATION PROGRAM -         FCIA announces Education for the upcoming UL Contractor Qualification Program and Designated Responsible Individual Testing take place at FCIA’s Education and Committee Action Conference.  Great education speakers, committee meetings, UL & FM Updates, FM 4991 Testing, and some good Canadian Fun. 

MARK YOUR CALENDAR! FCIA UPCOMING CONFERENCE!            April 26- 28 at Loews Vogue Hotel – Montreal.  Call 888-465-6654 and reserve your room now.  ($169CAN, about $145US).  Agenda will be online at  https://www.fcia.org  later this week.  Don’t forget your passport! 

FCIA’s Education and Committee Action Conference, meet new and old friends, and enjoy FCIA’s best in a great location. 

FCIA BOARD MEETS –                                                        FCIA’s 2006 Board traveled (on their own dime) to Indianapolis, IN for their first Board Meeting.  Four new members joined the 5 returning board members.  Together, they developed strategies to continue FCIA’s development of the Firestopping Worker Apprenticeship Program, UL Contractor Qualification Program, FM 4991 Standard for the Approval of Firestop Contractors, Life Safety Digest Magazine, ASTM Inspector Standard, supported further MOP Revisions for 2006, and combined Code & Standards with the Technical Committee.  The group packed a lot into 2-1/2 days, including a presentation from UL’s Betsy Titus and Dan Kaiser.  

FCIA at ICC CTC – TRB –                                                    FCIA was represented at the International Code Council’s (ICC) Code Technology Committee (CTC) and TRB (Terrorism Resistant Buildings) Meetings in Orlando, FL, February 3 & 4, 2006.  There was significant discussion on several code related issues about Compartmentation and Fire Resistance Rated Construction as a result of the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) World Trade Center Final Reports.    

Dick Bukowski, an author on the NIST World Trade Center Reports, Bert Polk of the National Association of State Fire Marshals, along with several other industry leaders presented that compartmentation and fire resistance rated construction is a good idea in buildings.  The Terrorism Resistant Buildings group researched various scenarios that need to be studied further.  The group researched building evacuation in events other than fire emergency, where people need to be protected by fire (and security) resistance rated assemblies.  Some possibilities included:

  • Building Power Loss
  • Prank 911 call – “There is a bomb in this building”
  • Medical Emergency
  • Chemical, Biological attack
  • Terrorism threat or event
  • Crime event
  • Earthquake
  • Tornado
  • Fire in building next door

The TRB Committee, Chaired by Bill Connolly, studied the NIST recommendations including Progressive Collapse recommendation #4 & #8. 

The committee recommended greater fire resistance, robustness in fire protection and compartmentation.  Additional structural steel fireproofing inspection and higher material densities were both proposed for greater robustness to fireproofing systems.

There seemed to be a focus on inspection at the hearings, and little about contractor qualifications.  To bring a contractor and building owner perspective, FCIA’s Bill McHugh, supported by UL’s Rich Walke, testified that in addition to inspection, installation quality is important as it is related to inspection.  Specialty Firestop Contractors provide greater quality than those who aren’t educated in our trade, reducing cost of inspection.  FCIA urged the committee to consider adding a requirement for contractor qualification plus inspection (ASTM E 2174 & ASTM E 2393) using FCIA Member, FM 4991 and UL Contractor Approval and Qualification Programs. 

FCIA 2006 CODE SUBMISSIONS -                                         FCIA is preparing its code proposals for ICC and NFPA’s code development process.  Contact FCIA’s Code Chair, Bob LeClair rleclair@afunderhill.com if you want to offer ideas.  FCIA supports contractor qualification and inspection of firestopping, plus more compartmentation for fire and life safety.

FCIA is forming relationships and working with many groups to effect change in codes for compartmentation … including fire doors & hardware, fire dampers, fireproofing, fire glass, the fire wall of gypsum, concrete or block. and others to learn more and educate about compartmentation, while promoting our industry’s importance in fire and life safety.

FCIA THANKS Firestop Industry Conference and Trade Show Sponsors – Exhibitors & Sponsors Thermafiber, LLC, 3M Fire Protection Products, Passive Fire Protection Partners / JM, Grabber, Inc., HILTI, Safe Check, Inc., Concrete Masonry Association of California and Nevada, Lawrence Roll Up Doors, MM Systems, Safti-First, Inc., Watson Bowman Acme – FPT Flammadur, Specified Technologies, Inc., US Gypsum, and Sam Dardano’s Fire Dampers. 


1 Source Firestop, Inc., A.F. Underhill, Inc., JLE Firestop, Multicon Fire Containment, Superl, Inc. and Thermafiber, Inc.  Congratulations to Steve McIntyre, Safe Check, Inc., winner of the golf tournament.  Proceeds have been used to build an education program about compartmentation for distrubution to fire marshal and code officials.

NFPA CONFERENCE STUDIES SPRINKLER RELIABILTIY -              Bill Koffel, Koffel Associates, FCIA’s Code Consultant the past few years, presented information about his AFSCC Sponsored sprinkler reliability paper to NFPA’s Orlando Hearings.  Koffel presented a program about the reliability / failure rate of sprinkler systems to the audience.  Koffel’s study revealed a sprinkler failure rate from .01% to about 13%. 

Compartmentation reliability has not been studied extensively according to a paper written by Dick Bukowski, NIST, keynote speaker at the FCIA Firestop Industry Conference & Trade Show last November.  Bukowski states that compartmentation can be effective from 90 – 95% of the time when doors are operating in the article.  Steve Hahn, ARDI / Lawrence Doors reported that an FM Study revealed a 10% possibility that a fire door would be inoperable for whatever reason. 

Compartmentation does provide excellent protection, and has been improving steadily over the past 20 years with new technologies like Firestopping, Fire Doors & Hardware, Fire Dampers, Fire Glass and Dampers.

FCIA APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM -                                     FCIA’s Apprenticeship Task Force is ramping up to complete the FCIA Apprentice Training modules, based on FCIA’s Manual of Practice.  Look for more on this program in the next few weeks as the committee continues it’s work to help make the industry a real trade.  Also, an O-Net Classification for Firestopping has been determined. According to the Department of Labor (DOL), firestopping workers fall under O-Net Classification #41.2131.00, an insulation worker category.  Firestopping work now has a Davis Bacon Wage Rate based on the O-Net Classification, nationwide.  FCIA thanks Education / Apprenticeship Committee Members Bob Hasting, Specialty Firestop Systems and Bob LeClair, A.F. Underhill for their work with the DOL to get us to this point. 

FCIA will file for a subset to the classification to create the actual firestopping worker classification, and pursue Canadian classification in 2006 as well. 

FCIA WEBSITE -                                                               FCIA’s website is visited and updated frequently.  Over 3000 people per month visit to find Specialty Firestop Contractors, Manufacturers & Associates, information about firestopping and effective compartmentation for their projects, worldwide. Check out the Committee Reports, posted last month.  Several articles have been added, that you can use for promoting fire and life safety through firestopping and effective compartmentation.  Also, Don Murphy’s 2006 President’s Letter is posted too:  https://www.fcia.org .

FCIA MANUAL OF PRACTICE (MOP) –                                     Over 100 pages of FCIA’s MOP have been edited, plus new chapters were added on maintenance and labeling.  A revised FCIA Specification will become part of your new Manual of Practice.  The update is free to members who own the MOP, and will be mailed late this week. 

FCIA’s Technical Committee will be editing Chapters 2, 4, the glossary of terms and adding language for Canadian requirements throughout the 2006 /2007 MOP update cycle. To get involved, contact Mike Dominguez and Bill McHugh through FCIA’s Office, bill@fcia.org.  The MOP is a living document, and will continue to be updated as our industry evolves.

NASFM IN THE NEWS –                                                         FCIA Board Member Randy Bosscawen made us aware of a USA Today article about defective sprinklers in buildings.  National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) President Jim Burns makes bold statements about requirements for fire resistance rated construction in addition to sprinklers in buildings during this article.  NASFM urges building code officials, fire marshals, building owners and designers to heed the warnings of these dedicated public servants.  Check the articles out at the following link:


~FCIA in CSI’s Construction Specifier – FCIA’s Aedan Gleeson, Don Murphy & Bill McHugh wrote an article published in the February  “Specifier”, CSI’s (Construction Specifications Institute) Magazine.  To view the article, visit https://www.fcia.org , Articles/PR. 

~Life Safety Digest – FCIA’s Life Safety Digest, the Magazine of Effective Compartmentation has gone to press again. 

If you have an article to submit for publication in any of the four Life Safety Digest issues for 2006, email it to bill@fcia.org for consideration by FCIA’s Editorial Committee. Article submission deadlines are April 14 for the June issue, July 14 for the September issue, and October 13 for the December issue.

Get the benefits of using your Specialty Firestop Contractor Firm to those who need to know!

Advertising is available from McGraw Hill, FCIA’s partner in this effort to promote the value of fire and life safety through effective compartmentation. Visit https://www.fcia.org to view the advertising rate sheet.

~FCIA & UL’s Standards Technical Panel (STP) – FCIA Proposed changes to UL’s testing standard UL 1479 to add movement of penetrating items, better water resistance when exposed to water prior to ‘conditioning’ (3-21 days), movement of piping before water testing, and testing to understand how long the water resistance lasts using typical firestop system materials, a total of five proposals.  Manufacturers who make up most of the voting on the committee, voted to focus on fire resistance of assemblies where one element is not rated, such as a non-fire resistance rated roof assembly meeting a rated wall assembly. This condition exists in retail, entertainment and day surgery / healthcare, education environments.  FCIA hopes UL and other testing laboratories plus manufacturers, will study movement of piping and penetrating items, aged water resistance, and other material characteristics to make testing reflect actual field conditions.  

FCIA MOURNS PASSING OF CAM PHIBBS -                                 FCIA Member Cam Phibbs, Interprovincial Insulation, Inc., Kingston, ONT Canada, passed away February 17, after a struggle with cancer.  A self made success, Cam worked with insulation materials in the field before being in his own business. His clear, action based thinking, knowledge of the industry…and passion for people will be missed.  Cam was also a Past President of the Thermal Insulation Association of Canada (TIAC) and Master Insulators’ Association of Ontario. 

Mike St. Jean reports that Cam left the firm with good people and excellent strength for the future. Cam is survived by his wife and two children.

“Life’s short, don’t take anything, anyone, or any time for granted.  Leave your mark in everything you do and everyone you touch.”  Anonymous

Bill McHugh, FCIA Executive Director

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