Newsletter May 12, 2003

FCIA ECA Conference - Well, the FCIA Education and Committee Action Conference is history. We all attended the education sessions, worked together at committee meetings while having a bit of fun in Las Vegas at shows, casinos, and just relaxing by the pool. The FCIA Education Sessions received praise from many at the conference. Listed below are some highlights from each presentation:

  • Dennis Nolan, State of Nevada, Building Inspector - Dennis reported that firestopping, when awarded to the trades, "no one gets it right". What goes wrong with firestopping on projects? Problems include
    1. Coordination and timing (GC Issues);
    2. "What do we do with Firestopping?" was a question asked in 1993, as "one of the least understood items", "one of the largest cost over-run items" , according to John Tucker, Director of Buildings and Safety, City of Las Vegas, NV;
    3. Inspection of Firestopping should be done by a third party, independent firm, using ASTM E 2174 as a guideline. Municipal inspectors have almost 40 inspections to do per day in Las Vegas alone, making it difficult to spend the time needed on firestopping.
    4. Designers could make firestopping easier by overlaying mechanical, electrical and fire wall plans; and providing more space above ceilings for services required throughout buildings;
    5. Engineering Judgments / EFFRA's need to be handled to meet the requirements of the area, and may even need a licensed individual to write them.
    For questions on the program email Dennis.

  • "Alliance for Fire Safety" (AFS) - The team of Charbel Tagher (Specified Technologies, Inc.) Bill Koffel (Koffel and Associates) and Kathy Taraba (1 Source Firestop, Inc.) participated in this summary and discussion. AFS is a committee of the "Alliance for Smoke Containment and Control" (AFSCC), of which FCIA is a member organization. The AFS is funding a PR Campaign for promotion of Passive Fire and Life Safety Systems in the building codes. The budget for this PR Campaign is roughly $500,000 per year for over 3 years. It's aim is to promote the balanced approach to fire protection reinserting passive protection systems in the codes to the same extent that they existed in past building codes. As the IBC 2000 and NFPA 5000 codes were being developed, the AFS felt that there was an overreliance on sprinklers. According to the AFS Group, NFPA's own statistics show that sprinklers may fail in about one in six fires. Charbel reported that a major campaign success occurred in Phoenix AZ recently. A version of the "height and area table" from the UBC 97 code was inserted into to the NFPA 5000 Code in that case, bringing stronger Passive Fire and Life Safety Protection to their code. To be successful, the awareness of the reduction in building safety from previous codes needs to be communicated to more people, nationwide. The AFS Group feels both Sprinklers as well as Passive Fire and Life Safety Systems with Firestopping are required for safe buildings.

  • "Fire Barriers" - John Valiulis (HILTI, Inc.) did a nice job explaining fire resistive construction elements used in Passive Fire and Life Safety Systems. John presented a very educational program on what constitutes fire walls, fire barriers, smoke barriers and fire partitions, all of which are different. Many in the construction industry wrongfully assume these systems are the same. John is also president of the AFSCC, and explained a testing program using computer fire modeling by Hughes Associates, a world renowned fire protection engineering firm. John explained that the fire modeling would provide data indicating how a building would perform when sprinkler systems fail, using the sprinkler trade offs in IBC 2000 that utilize construction where fire barriers are minimized. Although the basic project is moving along, more funding is needed to complete modeling on various building types.

  • FCIA FM 4991, Inspector Standard Updates - Aedan Gleeson, (Gleeson Powers, Inc., Franklin, MA) Accreditation Chair reported that contractors nationwide are seeing more specifications that require an FM 4991 Approved Contractor due to ARCOM MasterSpec and BSD SpecLink's addition of the standard to their master specifications, FCIA's efforts with the Construction Specifications Institute and Specification Consultants in Independent Practice, as well as www.4specs.com . Randy Bosscawen (Multi Con Fire Containment, Columbus, OH) informed the group about a new ASTM Standard for Firestop Inspection firms. Randy is chair of the ASTM Group and is looking for help from FCIA Members on the task.

  • NFPA on NFPA - Nancy McNabb, NFPA Regional Manager, reported that the new NFPA 5000 Code was a consensus developed code, or "C3"....Comprehensive, Complete Codes". The code combined NFPA 101, the Life Safety Code, IAPMO's codes, and used the Disney "Reedy Creek Code" as a model reference as well. NFPA 5000 is different in that it compiles standards from ASCE, AISI, ACI, NFPA in to an "occupancy based" format. To review the codes, visit www.c3codeset.org . Nancy also reported that there are task forces reviewing NFPA 5000, and the height and area tables as well. Kathy Taraba, (1 Source Firestop, Inc.) represents FCIA on the NFPA Technical Committee on Fire Protection Features.

  • "Developing the Passive Fire Protection Message" - FCIA Past President, Blase Reardon, (A.F. Underhill, Inc., Canton MA) helped summarize the FCIA ECA Conference Attendees "Message".

  • FCIA Education Program Tours - FCIA Contractor Members toured the Carpenters International Union National Training Center as well as the Heat and Frost Insulators Union Facility to view their Firestopping installer training curriculum while in Las Vegas. Each organization is currently providing training to firestop installers who are part of their respective union.

FCIA Committee Reports - The FCIA Committees reported on actions to date. Most committees have been more active this year than last, with teleconference meetings and face to face gatherings to produce new FCIA Programs, or participate in industry meetings like ASTM, IFC or others. Committee Reports are posted on the website when received.

FCIA ECA Golf Outing - Twelve FCIA Members braved the winds of Las Vegas on the Stallion Mountain Golf Course. Dean Whitcomb, (W.R. Grace) won the closest to the pin while Mike Dominguez walked away with longest drive. Dean and Mike also won the Cash Prize for predicting their scores of 86 and 87 respectively.

NFPA Show - Dallas, TX - On May 18 (4:30 - 6:30 pm), 19 (10:30 am - 3:30 pm) and 20 (8:00 - 11:00 am) FCIA is sharing a booth with IFC at the NFPA Show. If you are interested in working at the booth, meeting fire officials, fire protection engineers, and friends at this show, please email Don Murphy of PPMI Firestop or Bill McHugh so we can put you in the schedule

FCIA Firestop Industry Conference - November 12 - 15, 2003 will be held at Disney's Contemporary Resort, Orlando, FL. The FCIA Program Committee is planning exciting speakers, educational seminars, DRI Testing for those whose three year retesting requirement will be due, Golf and discounts on Disney Park tickets as well. Don't miss this excellent program location. Watch our site for details.

Bill McHugh, FCIA Executive Director

Copyright FCIA 05/12/03. Permission is hereby granted to forward, print, circulate, quote with credit to FCIA.

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