Newsletter August 16, 2005


  • FCIA NIST Reports Comments
  • FCIA Firestop Industry Conference & Trade Show
  • Ray Usher Memorial Golf Tournament Info
  • FCIA at UL
  • FM & ICC & in Magazines

FCIA Comments on NIST World Trade Center Report Summary – The National Institute of Standards and Technology Report on the World Trade Center Disaster Building Collapse was published in late June. The report, about 2,000 pages long, has short Executive Summaries that are great reading. The reports support redundancy, robustness and effective compartmentation in buildings for fire and life safety… plus lots more. FCIA supported the call for better compartmentation and life safety in buildings through the NIST Public Comment Process. FCIA also supported the call for better construction quality through the use of FCIA Member Specialty Firestop Contractors, FM 4991 Approval, and ASTM E 2174 / ASTM E 2393 destructive firestopping inspection.

Read the summary for the list of NIST recommendations to improve fire and life safety in buildings. Here’s the link to the summary recommendations from NIST,

FM 4991 Program gaining momentum – At the FCIA Education and Committee Action Conference in Las Vegas, Apri27-29, 2005, there were 17 DRI Exam participants, plus another 6 that took the test during their audits the past few months. The 23 people interested in becoming FM 4991 DRIs means that more firms are applying for FM 4991 Approval. To learn why it makes sense, and how to set your firm apart, Visit

FM Approval Info

FCIA Firestop Industry Conference & Trade Show – The FCIA Program Committee has planned a blockbuster program for our industry. Dick Bukowski, of The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), authors of the National Construction Safety Team findings from the World Trade Center Disaster, Building Fire Research Laboratory, will address why Firestopping and Effective Compartmentation is needed in buildings, large and small. FCIA Committee Meetings allow FCIA Members to talk about issues important to our industry. Dennis Hall, FCSI, CCS, will cover new markets in firestopping due to the new CSI MasterFormat 2004. Plus, FCIA Firestop Contractor Project Profiles may bring an answer to your day to day problems on projects. And, an Effective Compartmentation Symposium will show you how your own promotion of effective compartmentation helps your firestopping industry and life safety, with the FCIA Conference Trade Show immediately following the seminars.

FCIA’s Golf Tournament Named – The FCIA Golf Outing has been named to memorialize Ray Usher, FCIA Past President, who was taken by cancer this May. The Ray Usher Memorial Golf Tournament proceeds will be used to fund fire protection education. Join as we make this tournament special, in Ray’s name. Steele Canyon Golf Club is our tournament site this year.

FCIA Spouse / Guest Activities - Look for a fun program for guests attending the conference. The FCIA Welcome Luncheon, San Deigo Trolley Tour, Ray Usher Memorial Golf Tournament, and FCIA's Firestop Industry Awards Banquet are all available for participation by guests. Watch the website for info.

Come for FCIA’s Firestop Industry Conference for education, stay for some fun. FCIA’s conference is at Paradise Point Resort, San Diego, CA. For Online reservations, the group code is 23804. For phone reservations, call 800-344-2626, and hold for Paradise Point Reservations. Don’t transfer to central reservations. Just stay on hold with the hotel directly. Mention FCIA in either case to get the $155 rate.

Visit our site for the Registration FAXBACK Forms, and info.

FCIA Technical Committee Conversations – FCIA is a member of UL’s Standards Technical Panel, (STP) representing the “Users” on UL’s consensus committee for UL 1479 and UL 2079 Standards for penetration and joint system firestopping assemblies. FCIA is also participating in the working group for the new “W” Rating from UL. Although we’ve made suggestions to the working group about the “W” Rating, our recommendations are much broader, and will be moved to the full STP Panel for further review. FCIA asked for testing requirements for Penetration Movement Capabilities, Aging the firestop materials for immediate exposure to water, or exposure after several years, plus other physical characteristics that need standards to evaluate product performance. Here’s information about the “W” Rating test protocol as it stands now:

“W” Testing - The standard tests for water resistance after the installed product is fully cured. The “W” Rating has not addressed an important issue to FCIA Contractors… movement of the penetrating item in the opening either before or after cure of the products. Contractors request that testing for suitability for use of firestopping products should include these characteristics for movement and exposure to water before the 3 – 30 curing period, which might cause washout of material…or several years later when exposed to water under real world conditions.

Contractor implications - Contractors should be careful to protect against signing contracts that require more than the ‘W” Rating provides, (movement and early washout). Other factors such as open elevator shafts, perimeter, penetrations not in the scope of firestopping contractors, and expansion joints should addressed and excluded. For press info from UL about the rating, visit UL’s Website.

Architects, building owners and managers, and others can join this committee. Contact FCIA’s office for information if you are interested.

FM 4991 Contractor Updates – Non Conformance to Standard – FM Approvals FM 4991 Program follows up on Non Conformances, found through annual audits. FCIA and FM Approvals (part of FM Global) have worked hard to develop the FM 4991, Standard for the Approval of Firestop Contractors”, as another tool to add value to the Specialty Firestop Contractor Concept. FM owns and administers this program separate from FCIA, rendering credibility in the marketplace for the Approval. According to Jeff Gould, FM, “To maintain the FM 4991 Approval, several items must be in order at the contractor firm’s operation”:

Contractors are required to have a quality assurance program that identifies non-conformances when they occur, and provide a means to remedy the situation. When a Non-Conformance occurs on a contractor’s project, FM’s goal is to review the situation without prejudice and act in a fair and appropriate manner. In addition to trying to figure out how serious a non-conformance is (although one could argue that they are all serious), any of the following or combination of the following could occur upon FM’s discovery of deviations from standard with an FM Contractor, depending on the seriousness of the problem and the other considerations noted above:

  • FM Warning Letter to FM Approved Contractor.
  • FM notifying an AHJ that certain requirements were not met on their FM 4991 project.
  • FM requiring a contractor to sign a proposal to reimburse FM Approvals for time spent looking into the matter (not authorizing the proposal would result in loss of Approval). Reinstatement would not occur until the reason for withdrawal was taken care of as well as payment of a reinstatement fee (currently about $1500).
  • FM requiring that the company send their Designated Responsible Individual (DRI) to FM Headquarters, Norwood, MA for a written re-examination within a certain time period.
  • FM may require that the contractor be subjected to another audit by someone from FM’s Norwood, MA office. This would result in a cost that included time and expenses and would probably approach the initial cost of obtaining Approval for the contractor.
  • FM Approvals Withdrawal of Approval recognition.

Aedan Gleeson, FCIA Accreditation Chair, stated, “FM 4991 has been a very good program to bring credibility to the Firestop Systems Specialty Contractor and the Industry.” Aedan continues, “All firestopping contractors, manufacturers, distributors, reps and consultants who support the industry through testing, design, installation, inspection and maintenance, should support the FM 4991 contractor quality program, as it brings credibility through installed products that meet requirements of tested and listed systems. And, firestop products don’t’ become a system until they are installed to the tested and listed system design.”

FCIA at International Code Council Code Technology Council Meeting (ICC-CTC) – The International Code Council (ICC) Board of Directors has ordered a study of passive fire protection to address the debate of why fire resistance rated walls and floors are still needed as a code requirement even when sprinklers are part of structures. Meetings in Chicago in April and July formulated a process for evaluation of passive fire protection by the ICC CTC committee. Bill Koffel, working with the industry, proposed the study be based on a matrix that analyzes where fire resistance rated construction is required in codes, and where it is not.

FCIA testified at the ICC CTC Meeting that the Committee should continue to study the effect of the new ICC 2003 Code on effective compartmentation and life safety. As part of the quality improvement program for the International Building Code, ICC should take a look inside itself to assure that the public and life safety are protected to the fullest economic extent possible in the code. FCIA Firestop Contractors use continuous improvement methods to keep their operations efficient. Why not the codes?

FCIA congratulates ICC for looking at its code, to see that it protects public safety, welfare in buildings”, testified Bill McHugh, on behalf of FCIA. “FCIA also believes that statistics stating that other fire protection features are 99.9% reliable should be reviewed for validity. We also mentioned that statistics may not be interpreted, and not represent conditions as they actually exist in the field. Watch the FCIA Website, articles section for more on this important debate about fire protection features.

AFSCC Annual Meeting – The Alliance for Fire and Smoke Containment and Control, (AFSCC) met in Chicago for their annual meeting in late July. About 14 people, mainly manufacturers of fireproofing, fire glass, fire dampers, rolling doors and firestopping, plus FCIA and the employees / consultants of AFSCC, came for the meeting. AFSCC reported that Bill Koffel was a big supporter of effective compartmentation in the ICC CTC debate. FCIA’s vision to hire Bill Koffel, a world renowned Fire Protection Engineering Specialist, has helped the Effective Compartmentation and Firestopping industry immensely. Thanks Kathy Taraba, FCIA Past President and Past FCIA Code Chair for your vision hiring and supporting Bill Koffel, Koffel Associates as FCIA’s Code Consultant. The results are showing!

FCIA promotes firestopping in magazines – FCIA has had several articles published recently. The June National Insulation Outlook Magazine had articles from Aedan Gleeson, Accreditation Chair, (Firestopping – Setting the Standard…for quality) Mike Dominguez, Technical Chair and Bill McHugh, FCIA Executive Director on Firestopping, (“W” Ratings) plus an article on why optimization of fire protection removing effective compartmentation doesn’t make sense.

Construction Specifications Canada Magazine published a great article on firestopping technology, code requirements and the firestopping quality process. This article included highlights on both Quality Specialty Firestop Contractors combined with Inspection and the relationship to efficiency for the building owner. Qualified Contractors means an easier inspection process, reduced initial costs due to the project done right the first time, with Mike McClure, Keith Brebner, Barclay Myers, Bill McHugh and Rob Hlady contributing.

Don Sabrsula worked with ASTM on an article on ASTM Standards forming the quality process for firestopping, with ASTM E 2174 &

ASTM E 2393 Firestopping Inspection Standards combined with FM 4991, Standard for the Approval of Firestopping Contractors providing owners with a circle of quality, much like ISO 9000 in the manufacturing environment where the installation process is verified through inspection of the finished, installed system, but tailored to conditions of the construction industry. Watch for more articles as FCIA continues to promote specialty firestop contractors and FCIA Members in the US and Canada.

FCIA Member A/D Fire Protection Products Purchased - RPM’s Carboline division (fireproofing) purchased A/D recently. According to A/D representatives, the firm’s Canadian fireproofing product lines will be integrated into Carboline’s lineup of fireproofing systems in the USA. A/D Firebarrier Firestopping remains an independent product line marketed under the A/D name.

FCIA Relationships – So, you are in your office estimating…and think, hmm…..what do I do with this set of penetrations, joints, head of walls, perimeter? Which products and systems make sense for this crazy application? With many options available for contractors, which manufacturer, and distributor or manufacturers representative can help me with this situation? What characteristics make for a great business partner? Fast engineering judgments? Great price? Brings job leads? Understands our business and supports our firm?

FCIA President, Bob LeClair states, “a big benefit of FCIA Membership is the relationships that are formed, that can prove invaluable when you really need help…regardless of time of day.” FCIA’s Firestop Industry Conference is a great place to form those relationships.

FCIA’s Program Committee and FCIA’s 2005 Board invites you to join us at the Firestop Industry Conference & Trade Show® at Paradise Point Resort in San Diego! Come for the Firestop Industry Conference Education Seminars, stay for the relationships and fun. See you there….

Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not. ………..George Bernard Sha

Bill McHugh, FCIA Executive Director ~ 630.690.0682

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