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Newsletter June 15 - Part 1, 2004

Highlights

  • FCIA Education and Committee Action Conference Results
  • FCIA at CSC Conference
  • FCIA Firestop Industry Conference & 5 Year Anniversary Celebration
  • FCIA at ICC Code Hearings

FCIA Toronto Education and Committee Action Conference - Keynote Speaker Dr. Gene Corley, CTL, Inc. presentated on "Lessons Learned from the World Trade Center" that kept us at the edge of our seats. Dr. Corley, Chair of the 9/11 Bulding Performance Investigation Team of engineers tasked by the Federal Emergency Management Act, (FEMA) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), with the assignment to collect information for public policy decisions, gave a thorough report from the group. Here's a few highlights:

  1. Building Codes - The World Trade Center buildings were constructed to codes of the time, the 1960's, which had roots in New York City's 1938 Code.
  2. Fire Characteristics - The fuel from both aircraft probably was gone in 3 to 9 minutes after the impact and fireball that followed. The "afterfire" of building contents is what continued for the remainder of the fire, before the WTC 1 & 2 buildings collapsed after about an hour of fire exposure.
  3. Design Implications - Dr. Corley mentioned his support for the Balanced Approach to Fire and Life Safety in Buildings, where a combination of Effective Compartmentation and Fire Resistance Rated Construction, plus Alarms & Detection and Suppression Systems are used to protect people, property and continuity of operations. Recommendations made by Dr. Corley's committee include the following:
    • First, designing and applying Fireproofing that stays adhered to steel in greater impact situations than current technologies is requested by the FEMA/ASCE Group.
    • Secondly, Column and Beam Connections that failed need more testing and possibly new technologies to prevent failure in the future.
    • Third, the code organizations need to decide how long a building needs to survive before burnout and collapse of the structure occurs.
    • Fourth, stairwells may need to be spread further apart, to provide true redundancy rather than both being rendered impassable due to close proximity.
    • Fifth, although it would be great to design buildings like battleships, it's just not economically feasible. A better answer is to keep terrorists out of airplanes.

Dr. Corley was quoted in a June 6 article on Fire Protection appearing in Engineering News Record. In the article, Dr. Corley says it’s necessary to define the hazard that will govern a high-rise building design, which should not be a missile attack. “But if you change office space to a law library, you should check to see if the structure can carry the added gravity and added fire load." “Barring an unusually high fire load,” he says, “it is probable there would be no additional cost to design a building to avoid collapse before burnout.

Corley also is on record as opposing the reduction of passive fire protection requirements in buildings equipped with sprinklers or other active fire protection systems. He believes that a balance between passive protection methods such as spray-on fireproofing and the active approach of sprinklers offers the best way to protect buildings and their occupants. To read more about Dr. Corley and the committee's findings, visit their site.

Bert Polk, The National Association of State Fire Marshal's, (NASFM) "Partnership for Safer Buildings" also presented to FCIA Members from the US and Canada. He explained key concepts in Fire Protection in NASFM's opinion:

  1. Integrity - Design, Inspection, Installation and Maintenance are all equally important to keep integrity in all fire and life safety systems in the TRIAD, Effective Compartmentation, Detection and Alarms, and Sprinklers all working when needed.
  2. Choices - Occupant safety vs. cost - Architects and engineers design buildings to meet code. However, code is the minimum requirement. There are some building owners who choose to invest significantly more than just the code requirements for their buildings. Bert cited the Marriott Corporation and Dupont as owners who are very interested in building safety in their properties, due to their corporate culture of safety.
  3. NASFM, as an organization, has asked each element in the Fire Protection Industry to "do the right thing", implementing the TRIAD of fire protection. He also challenged the industry to act on it's own to create programs that help fire and life safety systems perform when needed. Specifically, Bert mentioned that the sprinkler industry needs to replace defective sprinkler heads, and passive fire protection should provide fireproofing that is adheres to structural steel in buildings better than current standards.

Bert and NASFM, through the Partnership For Safer Buildings, also recommended that jurisdictions adopt the International Building Code or the NFPA 5000 Code. He mentioned that both codes should insert the height and area tables from the UBC 97 code, however, to protect both citizens and firefighters. "Bigger, larger buildings with less compartmentation may be a big safety risk", according to Bert. He also spent time challenging us to understand that recent fire statistics showing a decrease in fatalities in buildings may have been due to fire resistance rated construction built under previous codes, where the TRIAD of fire protection was also present. For further information about NASFM, visit their website.

FCIA Thanks all Education and Committee Action Conference Presenters - FCIA appreciates all the presentations by industry professionals like Dr. Gene Corley, Mr. Bert Polk, Rich Walke, PE and Emmanuel Sopeju, of Underwriters Laboratories, Bill Koffel, PE, Koffel Associates, John Gryffyn Ministry of Housing, Ontario, and Jeff Gould, PE, FM Approvals, at the Education and Committee Action Conference.

FCIA Canadian Membership Grows - The FCIA Conference in Toronto boosted FCIA's Canadian presence considerably. FCIA currently has 5 FCIA Contractor Members, and 1 Canadian based manufacturer. And, many FCIA US based manufacturer members have operations in Canada as well. FCIA has always had a Canadian presence, with Global Firestop (Bruce Richards) as our first Canadian Contractor Member. Beverly Life Safety (Allen Rams) joined next followed by Nexlevel Construction Solutions (Barclay Meyers), Interprovincial Insulation (Cam Phibbs & Mike St. Jean) and A/D Fire Protection Products, (Charles Merriman), Pro-Firestop, Inc., (John Sharpe) along with Brichem Sales (Jack Seeney), and ThermoFire Systems, Inc. (Mike McClure). We've grown significantly in Canada, and look forward to working together to support them while FCIA "Grows Globally".

FCIA at Construction Specifications Canada - As a result of our Toronto FCIA Conference, FCIA Member Mike McClure of ThermoFire Systems, Jack Seeney, Brichem Sales and Allen Rams, Beverly Life Safety Systems attended the CSC Conference in Toronto May 26, 27 and 28, 2004. We met many new specification specialist friends at this conference and look forward to our new relationships. FCIA Executive Director Bill McHugh, CSI North Central Region President, is working with CSC on a joint CSC / CSI North Central Region Conference in 2006, and attended as well.

FCIA Firestop Industry Conference & 5 Year Anniversary Celebration - FCIA celebrates 5 years of activity in the industry November 10 - 12 at Frenchman's Reef Hotel, St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. This year's theme, "International Effective Compartmentation" will feature seminars on how Firestopping fits into the bigger picture of Effective Compartmentation, throughout the globe. Our agenda will look like past programs with seminars, a trade show and education programs. Look for a great educational program...and celebration of FCIA's 5th Anniversary. Charter Members, be there to celebrate the past and plan the future. We'll finish early each day for some fun activity, and provide opportunities for spouses / significant others to be included as well. Visit the website to download the room reservations form. http://www.fcia.org/articles/stthomasmeeting04.htm Look for a FAXBACK Form and agenda for the FCIA FIC conference shortly.

FCIA Firestop Industry Conference Travel Information - Mark your calendars now and try FCIA's new travel partner, Corporate Travel Management Group, Inc. (CTMG). CTMG is waiving ticket fees and providing 5 - 10% discounts for FCIA Attendees who fly American Airlines, the major carrier to St. Thomas. This discount applies only to tickets issued by CTMG. If someone confirms travel on any other carrier than American, a $25.00 per person ticket fee is charged. St. Thomas is a US Territory, so no passports are required for US Citizens and your cell phones will work fine. Travel info is listed below:

Diane Fielmann (Group Co-Ordinator)
Corporate Travel Management Group
450 E. 22nd St.
Lombard, Il. 60148
Phone: (800) 323-3800 or (630) 691-9100 x523 (direct)
Fax: (630) 691-8097

FCIA Testifies at International Code Council (ICC) Hearings - FCIA's Executive Director, Bill McHugh and Code Consultant, Bill Koffel, testified at the ICC Public Comment Hearings in Kansas City, KS, May 18 - 21, 2004. Others who testified included the Alliance for Fire and Smoke Containment and Control (AFSCC), the International Firestop Council, as well as the National Association of State Fire Marshals. FCIA Members John Valiulis of HILTI, Inc., 3M Fire Protection Products (represented by Vickie Lovell) were visible promoting passive fire protection also. There were many code proposals put forth by the AFSCC to add passive fire protection features into existing 2003 International Building Code. Most AFSCC proposals were defeated by the ICC Code group in attendance at the Kansas City hearings.

NASFM Inspection Code Proposal for International Fire Code Passes - The National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) proposed a code change requiring annual inspections of building compartment components. The proposal was approved by the ICC Code Assembly in Kansas City a few weeks ago. Fire Walls, Doors, Fire and Smoke Dampers, Firestopping in existing buildings are all included in this inspection. The hearings for proposed changes to the 2003 International Codes, will appear in the supplement to 2003 codes called the 2004 Supplement. Specifically, this will appear in the 2006 International Fire Code book as part of the larger code book, that is adopted by municipalities across the country. The new code requirement for maintenance is great news for building owners who value Fire and Life Safety Protection as well as economy in buildings.

Effective Compartmentation, like sprinklers and alarms, must be properly installed, inspected and maintained to perform when called upon. Once built, fire walls sometimes look like Swiss cheese after many trades have installed new services. We all know how hard it is to control "the cable guy" in buildings. This new code requirement will help owners protect occupants through a manageable, yearly program, rather than getting hit with a large repair bill after 5 or 10 years. Some FCIA Member Contractors already provide this service to their customers. Watch for more on this as FCIA's Technical Committee has started drafts on a maintenance document with specific recommendations that will be included in the FCIA Manual of Practice.

Walter Smittle, NASFM representative, Bill McHugh, FCIA, John Valiulis, (HILTI, Inc.) AFSCC President and Rick Thornberry, Consultant to AFSCC testified on behalf of this code change, moved first by Don Bliss, Past President of NASFM in 2003, and resubmitted by Jim Burns, current President of NASFM in 2004. FCIA representatives Aedan Gleeson, GPI Firestop, Inc. and Bill McHugh visited with Jim Burns, who is also State Fire Marshal, State of New York, in February. We appreciate the relationship we are building with NASFM, and look forward to working together for Fire and Life Safety in buildings.

FCIA Member, IFC President Jim Park in the News - At the NFPA Show in May, RectorSeal National Sales Manager, Jim Park was quoted in the Consulting Specifying Engineer E-News about Firestopping and Maintenance. "I couldn't agree more with the need for better maintenance inspections for all fire protection systems, particularly for firestopping materials". Often a difficult task because of its out-of-sight, out-of-mind nature, Park says firestopping must be inspected regularly, particularly for new penetrations made in buildings due to churn or alterations. The key, however, is education. He says both building managers and building code officials must be educated on both the need for passive fire protection measures and of the importance for ensuring that system integrity is not breached. Way to go Jim...keep up the good work publicizing the Firestopping industry...and promoting the need to maintain effective compartmentation.

Bill McHugh, FCIA Executive Director

We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we may always be free.
Former President Ronald Reagan, Normandy, France, June 6, 1984

FCIA's Firestop Industry Conference - November 10 - 13, 2004 - Frenchman's Reef Hotel, St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands


©Copyright FCIA 06/15/04 - Permission is hereby granted to forward, print, circulate, quote with credit to FCIA.

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