Newsletter December 29, 2008


  • FCIA and NFPA 80
  • NEW FCIA Insurance Program
  • NEW UL Qualified Firestop Contractors
  • FM Approvals
  • Firestop Industry Conference & Trade Show
  • New opportunities for FCIA Members
  • More…

FCIA Firestop Industry Conference & Trade Show – FCIA’s Firestop Industry Conference & Trade Show at LaMansion Del Rio Hotel in San Antonio, was a big success.  The Ray Usher Memorial Golf Tournament drew 60 golfers, double 2007’s tourney.  Intertek (formerly Omega Point) Laboratories brought us on a tour of their facility in Elmendorf, TX, and brought 2 foursomes to the tourney.  Excellent speakers, great relationship building, and more are available at FCIA Conferences. 

FCIA’s 2008 Board was honored by 2008 President Tom Hottenroth, while incoming President Bill Hoos welcomed the 2009 Board … both with thanks for service to all.  FCIA thanks outgoing board members Aedan Gleeson, Don Murphy and Scott Rankin, while welcoming the new group, Jodi Clem, Randy Perry and Don Sabrsula.

FCIA and NFPA 80 – FCIA Members know that NFPA 80 is the document that healthcare and other occupancies refer to when installing, inspecting and maintaining the features of compartmentation; Fire Doors, Dampers, Glazing, Fire Curtains.  In 2006, FCIA’s Aedan Gleeson met with the Chair of NFPA 80 to discuss how Firestopping fits into the scope of the compartmentation features in NFPA 80.  During NFPA 80’s Fall Session, FCIA Code Consultant Bill Koffel introduced FCIA’s desire to add a firestopping chapter to NFPA 80.  Currently, the proposal is at the NFPA Standards Council for approval.  FCIA has invited the International Firestop Council to work with us on this important initiative as well.  Watch FCIA.org for more as we work together on this important initiative.

NEW FCIA Sponsored Firestopping Insurance Program – FCIA’s
Membership Committee searched and found a new resource for FCIA Specialty Firestop Contractor Members, Insurance. The Phoenix Group has been selected as the FCIA Sponsored Insurance Provider, with staff that understands the Firestop Specialty Contractor industry.  FM Approved or UL Qualified?  Get a discount on Workers Compensation Insurance. Check out the FCIA Insurance page on the website next week

FCIA Apprenticeship and the US Department of Labor – FCIA again visited the US Department of Labor in an attempt to move the FCIA Firestop / Containment Worker Apprenticeship Standards forward to approval.  FCIA’s Don Donnelly, Gary Hamilton, Mike Dominguez and Bill Hoos travelled in to meet with leaders at the DOL.  FCIA Members in each state may be tapped to help move this program forward.  Contact Bob Hasting, Apprenticeship Chair, for more info.

FCIA at CSI Northwest Region Conference – FCIA heard from Chris Chatto, an architect with Gunsul Frasca in Seattle at the FCIA Education and Committee Action Conference.  We listened in awe as Chris unraveled the “Green Building” Movement, its advantages and disadvantages.  Chris was found through our contacts at CSI.  Chris’ firm, Gunsul Frasca, supports CSI at local, regional and national levels.  In exchange for Chris’ program, FCIA presented our Firestopping Industry to the Construction Specifications Institute’s Northwest Region Conference, in Seattle in September. 

ICC IAS Firestop Inspector & Company Qualification Program – FCIA was approached by ICC’s International Accreditation Services to assemble qualifications for individuals and firms who are inspecting firestopping to the ASTM E 2174 & ASTM E 2393 Firestop Penetration and Joint Inspection Standards.  New York City’s adaption of the standards as part of their ICC Code Adaption amendments meant a need for qualification of inspectors.  Firestop inspectors can call the FCIA office to learn how to get ‘accredited’, which includes passing the FM or UL DRI Exam, as stated in AC 291.  Additionally, FCIA has had conversations with UL and FM about similar programs for firestop inspection firms. Watch FCIA.org in January for more about these new programs. 

FCIA at ASTM E-06 / E-05 Meetings – FCIA’s Standards Chair, Randy Bosscawen, along with Mike Dominguez and Pat Tesche, attended the ASTM Meetings for the E 2174 & and E 2393 Inspection Standards for penetrations and joints as well as the meetings regarding test standards, both held in Miami, FL this fall.  HILTI’s John Valiulis, Grace’s Craig Boucher, 3M’s Brandon Courdts, Tremco’s Tim Mattox, IFC’s Tony Crimi and others attended as well.  Watch for a ballot from ASTM to correct the mandatory and non-mandatory language which is one reason the codes haven’t adapted the standards. In addition to this, building official’s objections to adding the standards to the code need to be covered, through education by FCIA Members.  Help push the cause forward by giving a presentation to a local chapter of ICC. 

FCIA and Photoluminescent Markings Industry Photoluminescent safety products, marking and signage, provide obvious and intuitive ways out of buildings to occupants under low and dark lighting conditions in stairwells of buildings.  At the ICC Final Action hearings in Minneapolis this September, a code proposal was approved in the 2009 International Building Code (IBC) and International Fire Code (IFC) that photoluminescent path markings must be installed in stairwells of all new and existing high rise occupancies.  FCIA Members are uniquely qualified to install these systems in buildings. 

Watch Life Safety Digest and https://www.fcia.org for more details about how Specialty Firestop Contractors can get involved.

Terrorism Resistant Buildings (TRB) Committee Speaks at FCIA Conference - Gary Lewis, current TRB Chair, spoke at FCIA’s Firestop Industry Conference & Trade Show, brought tons of info for us to absorb, as fire resistance rated and smoke resistant structures, compartments, sprinklers, egress systems, communications, and much more work together in an emergency to keep occupants safe in buildings.  FCIA’s Bill McHugh is participating a member of the TRB.  Look for more on this as the committee gets active in the next code cycle.

FCIA Conference Presentations at FCIA.org – FCIA members can access the powerpoint presentations given by the industry leading speakers at the Firestop Industry Conference and Trade Show in San Antonio.  Check them out at FCIA.org, click on members only, enter your password, and learn big time.  Forgot your password?  Email Angies@fcia.org or webmaster@fcia.org
New UL Qualified Firestop Contractors –FCIA Members Carolina Insulation Contractors, Florence, SC and Firestop Logistics, Nashville, TN became UL Qualified in the last month.  UL’s Betsy Titus spoke at the Firestop Industry Conference & Trade Show about the program.  “Contractors are urged to get contracts rolling now to take advantage of the $3000 Fee for UL  Qualification.” After 12/31/2008, the price reverts to $6000 for the initial audit. Regardless if your quality manual is ready, get your contract in now to nail down the $3000 cost of UL Qualification.” 

Visit https://www.fcia.org/ulapproval.php to learn more about the UL Qualified Firestop Contractor Program.

FCIA FM Approved Contractors - Jeff Gould also spoke at FCIA’s Conference, “FM Approvals is very pleased at the growth and acceptance of the fire and life safety concept through the quality process.  I am pleased to be the original author of the program, and still servicing the contractors worldwide.”  Here’s who became FM 4991 approved recently: 

  1. Al Swiss Insulation Company, LLC - Sharjah, UAE
  2. Alert Insulation Co, Inc - La Puente, CA
  3. Bartkowski & McDonald LLC - Oak Forest, IL
  4. Performance Contracting Inc. - Carmel, IN
  5. Performance Contracting Inc. - Memphis, TN
  6. Performance Contracting Inc. - Phoenixville, PA
  7. Performance Contracting Inc. - Richmond, CA
  8. F. Rodgers Corp - Anaheim, CA
  9. West Coast Firestopping Inc. - Anaheim, CA
  10. Karcher Interiors - Orange, CA         

Visit https://www.fcia.org/fm4991approval.php to see the contractors, and learn more about how to get approved.

UL Qualification & FM Approval Process – Are you in the process of getting qualified or approved?  FCIA offers resources for Members including FCIA’s website, the FCIA Manual of Practice, FCIA Education at the FCIA Conferences, and at offsite locations.  Keep an eye on FCIA.org’s events page for more info about DRI Exam schedules.

FCIA at AWCI ’09 Convention – FCIA is speaking at AWCI’s Convention this March about the Firestopping Industry Programs for proper Design, Installation, Inspection and Maintenance of Firestop Systems.  The objective is to meet potential members, and help people understand how complicated this industry really is before they get involved.  Firestopping is a great fire and life safety item, and needs attention to detail.  Not everyone chooses to be a specialty firestop contractor...nor is everyone qualified to do this work.

ICC Code Development Final Action Hearings – ICC held final action hearings in Minneapolis, MN Sept. 17-23, 2008.  While at the hearing, we noticed interesting dynamics and trends.  Large cities are starting to adapt the International Family of Codes, and amending them with Effective Compartmentation, plus inspection for firestopping to the ASTM E 2174 and ASTM E 2393 Standards.  New York, California (Los Angeles and San Francisco, Orange County) have adapted, and amended the code, while Chicago is reviewing it as well.

As the large cities get involved in the ICC Process, watch for big city changes to occur naturally.  Most of these cities use Total Fire Protection as their theme, with higher structural fire ratings, more effective compartmentation, detection and alarms plus sprinklers and occupant education than is in the current International Building Codes. 

FCIA Membership Contest Update - FCIA’s New Membership Drive is bringing in new firms.  The following members were recognized for recruiting new members during the FCIA Membership Drive this year. 

2nd Place tie

3rd Place
Dan Flynn - Firestoppers Inc.
Aedan Gleeson - Gleeson Powers
Don Murphy, PPMI Firestop, Inc.

FCIA Membership stands at 217 as of 12/26/2008.  Congratulations to the membership committee

FCIA Resources for FCIA Membership – Over the years, we’ve had several union and non-union trade contractors call the FCIA office asking how to get out of installing firestopping on projects.  "Is it really in my scope of work?"  "The union is claiming I have to do it using their people."

The answer usually is that the unions sometimes use specifications, building codes that say plumbing, electrical, or communications annular spaces in fire resistance rated assemblies have to be fire rated with firestopping. But, Specifications and Building Code do not bring jurisdiction rights to a trade.  And, the International Building Code has Firestopping in Chapter 7, Fire Resistance, not plumbing. 

FCIA advises some of these trade contractors to check the spec…MasterFormat 04's 07-84-00 covers firestopping, not the sections on mechanical, electrical, insulation, caulking, plumbing or drywall. And, the ICC Codes do not dictate trade jurisdiction either, only work result.  However, there is one group that’s trying to use the code to do everything but say ‘use this trade only’, for firestopping.  Read on. 

FCIA at International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials Code (IAPMO) Process – FCIA attended the Final Action hearings at IAPMO in Atlanta, October, 3 2008.  We testified against a code change proposal to connect Table 14-1 to Chapter 15, Firestop Protection, via Chapter 3.  The United Association (UA) of plumbers, fitters, former employee Sid Cavanaugh developed the ASME A112.20.2 ANSI - Standard for the Qualification of Installers of Fire Stop around Piping Penetrations.  The standard requires 4 years documented experience in piping systems, and education to an ANSI 17024 Accredited Education Program.  It just so happens the plumbers union has testing administered by a firm that is accredited to ANSI 17024, and journeymen plumbers have 4 years documented experience in plumbing.
FCIA, 3M, and other FCIA Members participated in original standard’s editing, but objected to the requirement for 4 years documented experience in piping, (i.e., Journeyman plumber), as it would dictate that contractors become signatory, union or non union, as required by the IAPMO Uniform Plumbing Code, and mandate a journeyman pay scale. At the ASME ANSI Standard Development Process, our industry was outvoted by the plumbing union, plumbing suppliers, and other plumbing industry interests in what was supposed to be an open, ‘consensus’ process.  The problem is that the consensus wasn’t reflective of the firestopping industry.  It was the plumbing consensus, and disregarded the fire rated assembly, firestopping, insulation, industries, all of whom would have been needed for true ‘open consensus’.

At ICC, the Final Action ‘assembly’ voting is the Building Officials and Fire Marshals, not industry.  At IAPMO, industry members vote at final action hearings.  Plumbing union officials, plumbing suppliers, plumbing industry consultants all can vote in addition to plumbing inspectors.

With this process, the plumbing industry has created an environment that now creates the opportunity for the AHJ to mandate a ‘person with 4 years documented experience in piping systems’, as the only person that can install firestopping around piping penetrations.  That means journeyperson, not apprentices…and dictates a plumber, not carpenter, pipe coverer, laborer, or other labor organization, all which provide specialty firestop contractors important labor for this work.

FCIA appealed the final action to the IAPMO Standards Council and was supported at the Standards Council Appeal by Southern California Leaders from the Carpenters Union, Laborers Union, and Drywall Information Trust, Specified Technologies, Inc., and FCIA Apprenticeship Chair, Bob Hasting.

FCIA is petitioning to the IAPMO Board of Directors and Executive Director, as allowed by the IAPMO procedures.  Watch FCIA.org for further actions. “Firestopping isn’t about the pipe, it’s about the assembly rating,” stated FCIA’s Bob Hasting, board member in attendance at the IAPMO Standards Council Appeal.

FCIA Life Safety Digest – FCIA’s Life Safety Digest Editorial Committee seeks technical articles and project profiles for this renowned publication.  Showcase installations done by your firm.  All that’s needed is a one page summary, and a few pictures with captions.  Submit for consideration by the editorial committee for the next issue by February 15, 2008 to angie@fcia.org .   

FCIA 2008 Manufacturer Members:

  • 2008 Gold Level - 3M Fire Protection Products, Specified Technologies, Inc.
  • 2008 Silver Level – HILTI, Nelson Firestop Products, Thermafiber, Inc.
  • 2008 Bronze Level – Abesco, BOSS Products, Inc., Roxul, Inc., W.R. Grace & Co.

From FCIA’s office and homes, to yours, Happy Holidays.  Enjoy family and friends as the years time seems to fly by faster each year.  Also, remember those who don’t have what we do…shelter, food, water, family, and friends.  Best wishes for the rest of 2008, and a successful 2009.
Bill McHugh, FCIA Executive Director, the FCIA Staff and Board

© Copyright FCIA 12/26/08 - 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
Email: info@fcia.org
Website: www.fcia.org

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