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Issue: Fire Rated Board Confusion
There is a lot of confusion about so called “fire rated boards” and I think it is prudent to discuss a little about fire ratings and the use of so-called fire rated board products, that make up part of fire rated systems.
Terms widely used in industry
Some of the terms used commonly to refer to boards used to help provide a fire rating or FRL include:
Issue: Fire Rated Floor / Ceiling Systems
The NCC in Australia has made it clear; fire testing needs to be current and conducted in accordance with the latest version fo the fire test standard, AS1530 Part 4 - 2014. This method includes a section dealing with fire rated ceiling systems that deals with floor / ceiling systems and how to fire test them and any opening in them, for access, mechanical ventilation or where services pass through the floor / ceiling system.
Issue: Fire Rated Walls and Service Riser Shafts
The NCC is Australia has made it clear; fire testing needs to be current and conducted in accordance with AS1530 Pat 4 – 2014. Any variations from a fire tested SYSTEM can only be minor in nature and there are now strict requirements in Schedule 5 of the NCC which require thorough technical articulation based on sound supporting fire testing only.
Issue: Fire Stopping Works are being Closely Scruitinised Now
We have all heard all the fuss about so called combustible cladding on buildings here in Australia, and some of us would have seen the tragic events unfold at Grenfell in England, and our own near misses here with the Lacrosse Towers and New 200 Apartments fires. You might be thinking, what does that mean to me as an Electrician?
Issue: Are they as similar as some think?
There is more to compliance than just whacking a fire collar on a plastic pipe and walking away. This article is written to assist those working with fire collars understand a little bit more about them; that is what they are, what they do, how and why they are fire tested, and the different variable which must be considered when selecting a fire collar or a compliant installation.
Issue: Non-Conforming Building Products; the system is failing us all dismally
There would not be too many people who have not heard about the tragic events of the Grenfell fire which took the lives of so many innocent people in the UK. We had our own fires here, both in Melbourne, one at Lacrosse Towers and one at Neo 200, both in Melbourne by chance.
I think these fires and the publicity that pursued regarding so called combustible cladding made our Governments enact some legislation regarding defective building products; encompassing both Non-Conforming Building Products and Non-Complying Products; often referred to as NCBP’s and NCP’s.
I think the dramatic footage of Aluminium Composite Panels filled with combustible PE core, and the spate of fire that continue to make the news globally, has made people aware that something is amiss.
This article is not about cladding alone, sadly there are many other products being sold that fit into this category.
I am going to discuss some of my personal experiences with the system
here in Australia which in the most part is failing the consumer.
Issue: What happens to steel structures in fires
As I sit at my trusty laptop, on Sunday morning, watching the sunrise through my window, I take a moment to stop and pay my respects to the 2750 people or more that died almost 19 years ago in the World Trade Centre terrorist attacks. Time flies and quite often we get too busy to stop, just take a moment, to pause, reflect and review what we are doing.
It’s true, COVID19 has given some of us time in our home offices. Maybe some of you readers will have had time in between the Zoom & Team Viewer mania, to get to things you might not have got to if you were still working 70 hours a week in your offices?
This article is going to look at the legal or regulatory requirements for passive fire protection of steel structures here in Australia; that is the requirements of our own National Construction Code (NCC) encompassing fire testing requirements of AS1530 Part 4 or an equivalent fire test method, along with the strict requirements contained in AS4100 for data analysis and calculation of the thicknesses of fire protection materials required to provide a compliant FRL.
Issue: NCC2022 changes pertaining to FRL’s
NCC2022 is all but here; do you know what all the fuss is about and what other NCC changes have been implemented pertaining to FRL’s? This is article is a MUST read for all those participating in passive fire protection in Australia; whether you are a developer, builder, project manager, contract administrator, services engineer, strata manager, architect, designer, fire protection consultant, manufacturer or suppliers of fire stopping materials, a regulator, a building surveyor, certifier or the like.
It discusses the changing landscape of passive fire protection driven by recent and proposed changes to the NCC, coupled with the pro-active approach taken by leading construction companies because they were quite frankly fed up with the expensive mess they were continually having to clean up pertaining to protection of openings in as built buildings.
It sets out the challenges for the so-called Passive Industry sector; that is for manufacturers and suppliers, resellers of products, designers, installers, certifiers and those doing inspection and testing of existing buildings. As Trafalgar, my company, we have got onto the front foot, to respond positively to the challenges right here and now, and the ones we see ahead, but sadly, many manufacturers, suppliers and even installers are stuck in the past, (in the old way of doing things) and I can see a very hard time ahead for them, if they do not get very busy, very quickly. For many it will be a rude awakening and both an expensive and possibly company destroying experience.
Issue: Fire Rated Joints in Walls and Floors
Control, movement or expansion joints are an important part of good building practice. They are used to allow for movement and expansion and stop unsightly cracking.
I will use the term “control joint” in this article to refer to these movement or expansion joints.
When we incorporate a control joint into fire rated walls or fire rated floor slabs, these control joints must incorporate fire rated materials to provide an as tested fire rated control joint SYSTEM. This article discussed the fire testing requirement here in Australia, the determination of an FRL and what fire testing is required for compliance with the National Construction Code (NCC), formerly the Building Code of Australia. Full Article here
Holy crap, this whole passive fire protection seems to be a lot more than just holes in walls!
This is not Dr Zeus, but Doc PASSIVE at work here……………………
This article is trying to help those who work in construction gain a better understanding of how to get passive fire protection right the FIRST time.
Whether you are the builder, plumber, electrician, mechanical services contractor or anyone involved with building services, this should be a useful guide to understanding the BASIC questions you need to ask yourself to get a compliant, as installed FRL for a service, or a cluster of services, that need to run through a wall or floor required to have an FRL. Full Article Here
Who are the players in the fire protection industry and what role do they play in fire protection outcomes? John Rakic, the owner of Trafalgar Group, explores this tricky topic in this article.
"Just like the cladding and fires, waterproofing and our cracking buildings are evidence of where things aren’t quite right, I think passive fire protection is one area that could use some leadership and a shift in paradigm."
After a lifetime in the construction industry, involved with the manufacture and supply of specialty building products with an emphasis on fire protection, John Rakic, the owner of Trafalgar group, asks the question "Who is to blame?" when it comes to fire protection non-conformance.
Identifying the parties involved, and exploring how each has a part to play, John accepts there is a problem; that no one thing or group of people are at fault; and calls for everyone to come together to shift the paradigm to arrive at a solution, and better life safety outcomes. Full article here.
Images abound in this article of feeble attempts to firestop openings, with poorly chosen fire stopping solutions. Sadly, I could put up thousands of photos and typical scenarios.
At Trafalgar Group we have 5 full time engineers, that painfully and patiently try and advise builders, building owners, certifiers and the like what to do to fix up these types of scenarios.
I know you all can relate to exactly what I am talking about and, sadly some builders are spending millions of hard earnt profit on passive fire protection rectification.
So, the million Dollar question is.... HOW DO WE CHANGE THE STATUS QUO?
It can be easier than you might think so read on! Full Article here