Newsletter December 15, 2007


  • FCIA Thanks Volunteers, Board
  • FCIA Firestop Industry Conference
  • FM & UL Updates, FCIA / UL Total Fire Protection Systems Symposium

FCIA Thanks Past Presidents - Only a pastpresident of an association really knows how much work it really is . from FCIA's Membership, thanks for volunteering. FCIA 2007 President, Mike Dominguez & 2008 President-Elect, Tom Hottenroth

FCIA Thanks 2007 Board - The FCIA 2007 Board had a great year continuing programs started by past boards, and getting creative on their own.

New FCIA Board - FCIA announced the new 2008 Board of Directors at the Firestop Industry Conference & Trade Show. New Board Members Randy Bosscawen, Multicon Fire Containment, Columbus, OH, Gary Hamilton, Hamilton-Benchmark, Inc., Milwaukee, WI and Bob Hasting, Seattle, WA, were welcomed by the remaining board.

FCIA Firestop Industry Conference & Trade Show - What a venue by the beach, with great educational speakers, and lots of fun. FCIA's 2007 Conference was outstanding..the largest crowd ever, with many relationships started and renewed, great education sessions and learning opportunities. The Ray Usher Memorial Golf Tournament had its largest turnout, with Dennis Cohan, PREVENT, Inc., taking the prized 'Silver Caulk Gun' Trophy home with honors.

FM 4991 Gaining Ground - Jeff Gould, reported that FM has beefed up its FM 4991 program recently. With 16 direct employee auditors, FM Contractors in the FM Approval Guide, and on FCIA Website, FM is on a roll. In 2001, there were zero FM 4991 contractors, and 15 Designated Responsible Individuals (DRI's). FM expects between 44 and 51 FM 4991 Approved Contractors, with around 60 DRI's by years' end.

UL's Qualified Firestop Contractor Program Betsy Titus reported that to date, several news releases have been published and auditors have been educated by FCIA's Accreditation Committee and UL. Contractor personnel who have passed the UL Designated Responsible Individual Exam in 2007 - 39. She predicts first Qualified Firestop Contractor Firms to be in place early 2008. UL also announced a Canadian version of the program to receive the "cUL" mark. Better yet, Betsy told the FCIA crowd that as an investment in the industry, UL has dropped the cost from $6000 for the initial contractor firm and jobsite audit to $3000. Yearly contractor firm and jobsite audits remain at $3000.

UL & FM DRI Test Prep & QMS Education - The FCIA DRI Firestop Test Prep Program helped test takers get ready for the exam. FCIA's Quality Management System (QMS) Education Tuesday helped 30+ firms learn UL's requirements. Watch for another Quality Manual Development seminar at FCIA Education and Committee Action Conference in Seattle.

FCIA Member Starts SAC - FCIA's Bob Hasting established the first State Apprenticeship Committee (SAC) through the State of Washington. The first Firestop/Containment Worker Joint Apprenticeship Committee is now operating. The existing workforce is being tested to FM & UL Designated Responsible Individual Exams. One-on-one hands on firestop application and systems documentation exams are conducted to establish base knowledge to grandfather those with several years experience as Firestop/Containment Workers. This process provides real world evaluation of worker skills in the firestop systems selection and installation process.

Business Legal Issues - FCIA's Firestop Industry Conference attendees heard from Stephen Phillips, Esq., a seasoned attorney who also represents the National Roofing Contractors Association. He shared expertise with FCIA members of all types, took the group on a legal ride for fire and life safety! Contractors were warned about guaranteeing materials they do not manufacture and recommended to only warrant the labor they provide. Distributors and manufacturers were told to check their liability as well. Architects have been and continue to be exposed to liability. Most important, Stephen recommended that the business relationship from contractor to supplier to manufacturer, building official, architect, fire marshal be established early, rather than in court later. Safety & Scaffolding - Jeff Stachowiak, Scaffolding Industry Association Member, brought safety tips to FCIA Members.

Building Information Modeling (BIM) helps Compartmentation - BIM brings design capabilities to head off conflicts in placement of structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, HVAC and other services. By alerting the design and building team to conflicts before they occur, strategic placement of these items can be discussed long before crews argue in the field. ~Graco has new capabilities - Graco's Mark McGowan brought years of expertise and a new "Pump Handbook" for contractors to FCIA's Firestop Industry Conference & Trade Show. "Spraying firestop systems and intumescent fireproofing can be a challenge. We're reorganizing to meet these challenges, and are here to help", stated McGowan.

International Firestop Council at FCIA - Sean DeCrane, IFC Executive Director, updated FCIA on IFC's goals. "Strengthen codes, provide better education, and better inspections". In addition to IFC Executive Director duties, Sean serves as the International Association of Fire Fighters Local #93 Representative to the ICC Code Development Process.

Fireblock v. Firestop Issues Solved - FCIA's Randy Bosscawen worked with FCIA - IFC Manufacturer Members to clarify a fireblocking vs. firestopping issue for an Ohio Building Officials Group. The application dealt with UL's new position about plastic pipes enclosed in chase walls in wood frame construction, or 'caulk and walk', and remained a firestop condition.

FCIA at ASTM - FCIA Member Bill Weber, Multicon Fire Containment, Inc., joined with Bill McHugh, FCIA Executive Director, at ASTM E- 06 Meetings in Tampa, FL. A discussion about firestop inspector qualifications took place with John Nicholas, Intertek / Omega Point Laboratories, leader of ASTM task teams and committees. FCIA now chairs the ASTM E 2174 & ASTM E 2393 Standards Task Groups, as well as the Inspector Qualification Standard. With inspector qualifications, debate continues about how 'qualified' an inspector should be. >From the contractor perspective, the inspection person should be able to select, analyze, and dissect a firestop system for assurance that the system was installed to the classified system or engineering judgment.

ICC Committees Meeting - ICC has organized the Code Technology Committee (CTC) to study topics that keep coming up at the Code Development Hearings. There are Study Groups working under the CTC for Height and Area (Chapter 5 of IBC), Vertical Openings (Chapter 7, IBC), and 'Balanced Fire Protection'. FCIA attended the ICC "Features Meeting" in Dallas, Nov. 27 & 28 to prepare for Palm Springs ICC Committee Hearings. In Chicago December 5 & 6, the full Code Technology Committee met and decided about supporting/opposing code proposals. The Vertical Openings Study Group was reactivated, and height and area table proposals discussed. Height and area determines how many compartments are in buildings, vs. open space. Height and area of a building was being tied to water fire flow, with between 1500 and 2000 gallons per minute the acceptable flow before compartments get smaller. There will be significant discussion on this, as water is needed to feed sprinkler and firefighter systems while supply issues are plentiful in the US.

FCIA at NFPA Committee Meetings - FCIA's Bill McHugh attended Fire Protection Features Committee Meetings to deliver the message that qualified and approved firestop contractors, inspected by professionals, means fire and life safety. As a member of the committee, FCIA submitted several comments for discussion, including FM 4991 & UL Qualified Firestop Contractors, in addition to adding the ASTM E 2174 & ASTM E 2393 Standards to NFPA 5000 & NFPA 101. FCIA thanks Past President, Kathy Taraba of Rolling Plains Construction / One Source Firestop, Inc. for her 7 years of participation at NFPA. Bob LeClair, FCIA past president will replace her on the committee.

FCIA Life Safety Digest - FCIA's Life Safety Digest Committee Chair, Scott Rankin seeks technical articles and project profiles for this renowned publication. Submit an abstract for consideration by the editorial committee for the next issue by January 28, 2008 to srankin@pyrostop. com or bill@fcia.org.

FCIA / UL Total Fire Protection Systems Symposium - Another FCIA Symposium is set for January 31, February 1, 2008 in Los Angeles, CA Area. The seminar is open to architects, building officials, fire marshals, building owners, to present a total view of fire protection.

FCIA Committees Make Things Happen - There is a lot going on at any given time by various committees. Here are just a few examples:

  • Accreditation - Led by Aedan Gleeson, this committee worked with FM & UL to develop the credible contractor qualification programs now available.
  • Technical - FCIA's Firestop Manual of Practice (MOP) is continuously updated. Watch for new perimeter fire containment, inspection, and glossary info in 2008. Mike Dominguez continues to work with Rob Hlady, Pat Tesche, Lance Simms, Mike Pautsch, Jim Shriver, and others on the committee who have traveled to meet, write and review all that goes into the MOP.
  • Code - FCIA's Code Consultant, Bill Koffel, and Bill McHugh continue to promote the specialty firestop contractor concept, inspection, and compartmentation at ICC and NFPA Hearings. FCIA's Bob LeClair heads this committee that is focused on proper "Design, Installation, Inspection and Maintenance" requirements to improve installed reliability for Firestop systems and effective compartmentation.
  • Membership - FCIA has grown from 140 members to over 170 in 2008, thanks to a very active committee led by Bill Hoos.
  • Program - FCIA's Education and Committee Action Conference and Firestop Industry Conference & Trade Show continue to grow and serve the membership. Thanks to Scott Rankin, Bob LeClair, Chris Downey, Tom Hottenroth for a great 2007.
  • Marketing - Chaired by Don Murphy and Mike Wellons, FCIA was active in the outside world in 2007 appearing at the CSI National Convention, articles in various publications and liaison relationships with influential organizations. FCIA's Life Safety Digest is led by Scott Rankin, the magazine of effective compartmentation is gaining credibility wherever it is read. And, the FCIA Manual of Practice has been promoted to architects, building officials and fire marshals as a tool for understanding our industry as well.
  • Standards - Led by Randy Bosscawen, FCIA has been active at both ASTM and NFPA providing input to and developing standards for firestopping that reflect field conditions.
  • Apprenticeship - To create a true 'trade' for firestopping, a career for workers with true education and training is needed. FCIA's Bob Hasting has been leading a charge to put Firestopping on the radar joined by Don Donnelly, Gary Hamilton and Bill Hoos.
  • Education - FCIA continues to provide education to audiences nationwide, with members' active teaching about the Firestop and compartmentation industry. FCIA's Bob Hasting and Dan Flynn have worked together on this important task.

All that takes place at FCIA is sometimes looked at like "The Magic of FCIA". However, the magic really is that people get together and provide work for the good of the industry, cutting new ground in many cases. With everyone giving what they can give, FCIA has developed, implemented and grown great ideas for our industry that result in better fire and life safety.

On behalf of the FCIA Board and Committees, thanks for a great 2007, and get ready for 2008!

FCIA Member Discount for On-Center Software - FCIA Specialty Firestop Contractor Members can purchase estimating software for a discount. Contact On-Center Software by visiting the link at https://www.fcia.org , to receive the discount. On-Center Software, Inc., Firestop Estimating Software for productivity. http://www.oncenter.com/index.php/firestopping/

FCIA Thanks Manufacturer Members:

  • Gold
    • 3M Fire Protection Products
    • Specified Technologies, Inc.
  • Silver
    • HILTI, Thermafiber
    • W.R. Grace & Co.
  • Bronze Level
    • BOSS Products, Inc.
    • No-Fire, Inc.
    • Roxul, Inc.
    • Tremco, Inc.

As we reflect on 2007 during the holidays, we are very thankful for the relationships we've made, renewed, and maintained all year long. With the hard work of Volunteers and Staff, FCIA had a great year. Here's to 2008, with all the challenges and successes that the year brings. However you celebrate the holiday season, remember those who really need our support of time, finances, either, or both. Give, and encourage others to give...

Best wishes for the holidays, and a successful 2008.

Bill McHugh, FCIA Executive Director

© Copyright FCIA 12/15/07 - Permission is hereby granted to forward, print, circulate, quote with credit to FCIA.  FCIA is a non profit organization of Firestop Contractors, Contractor Branch Offices, Manufacturers and Associate Members interested in furthering life safety through the Specialty Firestop Contractor Concept.  For more information, contact the

FCIA Office Bill McHugh, Executive Director 4415 W. Harrison St. Hillside, IL 60162

Phone: (708) 202-1108 Fax: (708) 449-0837

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