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Newsletter December 20, 2006

Highlights

  • FCIA Firestop Industry Conference & Trade Show Recap
  • ICC & NFPA Code Hearing Results
  • FCIA in Manitoba
  • FCIA & DHI, BHMA, IFC Meetings
  • FCIA at ICC CTC Height and Area Study Group

FCIA Firestop Industry Conference and Trade Show - FCIA’s attendance at this event grew to over 100 this year, with a record number of attendees from all facets of FCIA…contractors, manufacturers, associates and firestop consultants.  With a blockbuster speaker agenda, excellent education was received by all.  Visit the photo album if you want a pictorial view

New UL QFC Program Coming Alive - Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.’s Betsy Titus, Manager of Business Development, brought the formal introduction schedule for the UL Qualified Firestop Contractor Program to the FCIA Firestop Industry Conference and Trade Show, Charleston, SC.  Titus commented, “UL is pleased to bring a new management process to the construction industry.” UL sent an email press release to over 2,500 AHJ’s, architects, contractors, and building owners/managers.  To view the release, visit their site

Additionally, FCIA has developed a FCIA/UL Education Partnership to teach Designated Responsible Individual (DRI) Candidates, firestopping inspectors, fire marshals and building officials about effective compartmentation and firestopping. The first seminars on firestopping and a “Compartmentation Symposium” will unveil in late February, 2007.  FCIA thanks Accreditation Leadership Aedan Gleeson, Gleeson Powers, Inc., Bob LeClair, A.F. Underhill, Inc., and Don Murphy, PPMI Firestop, for the many teleconferences, travel and time donated to help UL launch the program.  

FM 4991 Gaining Ground - Jeff Gould, FM Approvals’ Manager for FM 4991, Standard for the Approval of Firestop Contractors, reported that the number of contractors approved in continues to grow covering major cities in the U.S., and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. “FM has been pleased to lead the way in construction quality programs through FM 4991 Approval of Firestop Contractors”, stated Jeff Gould.  FCIA member Tony Gamble, Apex Firestopping, reported that in Texas, there have been several specifications requiring an FM 4991 Contractor.  FCIA continues to enjoy the relationship we have with FM’s Jeff Gould, George Smith and other key FM Leaders.

FCIA FIC Conference Programs - Randy Bosscawen, Multicon Fire Containment, and Rob Hlady, Affinity Firestop Consultants, presented the details of ASTM E 2174 & ASTM E 2393 Inspection Standards in great detail so contractors, manufacturers and consultants understand their roles in firestopping application and inspection. Barry Anderson and Steve McIntyre, of Safe Check, Inc. spoke on fire and smoke damper maintenance and infection control. Dennis Hall, FAIA, FCSI, Hall Architects, delivered reasons why contractors submit substitutions and architects possibly “give in”. His response, ‘we’re both weenies’ brought the house down. Dennis’ message of partnership for supporting construction documents was clear. Well-prepared, well-executed construction documents result in higher quality, better buildings.  Bert Polk, National Association of State Fire Marshals delivered great perspectives on the code development process, and the leadership qualities needed to stay on the high road instead of presenting negatives about other means of fire protection.  George Mills educated FCIA about the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization’s view on fire barriers, and Type 1 violations for fire doors, fire dampers and firestopping.  Jerry Heppes, Door and Hardware Institute CEO, brought FCIA the DHI Door Inspection Process which implements requirements in the new NFPA 80, a potential model for the firestopping industry. At the annual awards banquet, Charleston Fire Marshal Rusty Thomas brought enthusiasm for our profession, plus invitations to visit one of the oldest firehouses in the U.S. Ask Allen Rams, Beverly Life Safety about the fire pole ride he experienced!

FCIA Apprenticeship Initiative gaining steam - FCIA Member Bob Hasting, Specialty Firestop Systems, Inc., has successfully formed the first state apprenticeship committee (SAC) in Washington. The apprenticeship initiative for firestopping has brought an O-Net Classification for Firestop / Containment Worker, 47-2131.00, which sets the stage for local jurisdictions to establish Davis-Bacon Wage Rates. A nationally accepted apprenticeship program also gives states the required tool to enact legislation for firestopping trade specific licensing programs. This is one of many moves by FCIA to make firestopping a stand alone “Trade”.  FCIA visited the US Department of Labor in December to discuss the standard and its future in the industry. 

ASTM Committee E 06 Meets - FCIA Board Member and Standards Chairman, Randy Bosscawen attended the E.06.21.17 - Inspection Standards meetings for E 2174 & E 2393 Standards for the Inspection of Penetrations and Joints. Bosscawen and Bill McHugh, of FCIA, with Michael Jaycox, a principal at an inspection firm from New York, are new co-chairmen of the ASTM Task Group. FCIA manufacturer members typically attend these meetings, with a few contractors and many consultants involved.

FCIA also met with members of the E 06.21.16 Inspector Qualification Standard task group. The group decided to move language from section 6 of the Inspector Qualification Standard and input it directly into the E 2174 / E 2393 standards rather than having separate standards. Ballot results will be available in the near future.

In another area, FCIA was invited to attend the Standard for Cost Effective Building Risk Mitigation group’s meeting. Members of the committee include representatives from the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), Construction Specifications Institute (CSI), and others. The group discussed a newly developed software tool from NIST for cost-effective, economic calculations for risk mitigation strategies. 

FCIA at ICC 2006/2007 Code Cycle Committee Hearings - Many industry leaders gathered for the International Code Council’s (ICC) Committee Hearings in Orlando, Fla., Sept. 17 – Oct. 3. This is the first of two hearings for the ICC Code Development Process.  The code development process starts with code change proposals, submitted March 24, 2006.  The proposals are heard at ICC Code Committee meetings, held September 17-30, 2006. Committees have about 20 people, including industry representatives, building officials and fire marshals. The committee hears a proposal from an individual or organization for two minutes, testimony in support of the proposal for one minute, testimony in opposition for one minute, then rebuttal and re-rebuttal if needed. After the committee discusses the proposal and shares information with the assembly, a vote of the committee is taken to approve or disapprove the proposal. A floor vote can be called if there is disagreement with the committee’s decision, with all in attendance allowed to vote.  Public comments can be submitted if an individual or group disagrees with a committee action on a particular proposal. They are due Jan. 24, 2007. After being published in manuscripts available at their website , the public comments are debated publicly at Final Action Hearings May 19-27 in Rochester, N.Y. The debate takes place in front of the complete assembly of building officials, fire marshals, and the industry. However, only building officials and fire marshals are allowed to vote.  Successful code change proposals become part of the 2007 supplement. The next code change cycle starts with proposals due Aug. 20, for the 2009 International Family of Codes.

Code Change Process – Easy?  The code change process is a bit like changing cultures at a large company or organization. There are many who monitor, or attend these hearings regularly, from building officials and fire marshals, to industry representatives including code consultants, trade associations, and individuals. Each of these individuals has a paradigm about what language the building or fire code should include. Although it looks easy and common-sensical, introducing new concepts into the code can take time, sometimes two cycles or more.

ICC Code Change Hearings - In the compartmentation industry, there were several code changes proposed to make the building and fire codes better. The National Association of State Fire Marshals, ICC Code Chapters throughout the country, California Fire Chiefs, International Association of Fire Chiefs, International Union of Fire Fighters, and those industries affected by code change, were all present in Orlando, Fla. Sept. 20 – Oct. 3.

NASFM Corridor Code Change Proposal - The National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) submitted a code change returning fire-resistance-rated corridors to the ICC International Building Code, as they exist in the Uniform Building Code (UBC). NASFM’s Bert Polk proposed that all corridors in Table 1017.1 become at least one hour fire-resistance-rated systems and assemblies, up from mostly zero rated systems.  This provides safer egress for building occupants, while allowing firefighters protected access into the building fire area, regardless of where it was located in the structure. Testimony in support came from the Lorin Neyer, California’s Office of Statewide Health, Planning and Development (OSHPD). FCIA’s Bill McHugh also testified with information showing that both sprinklers and compartmentation produced statistics that provide an inference of safe buildings in the past, and are needed in buildings to support total fire protection. The committee voted against the code proposal.  Look for public comments to come on these important code changes.  In a related change, Neyer limited changes in corridors to healthcare I-2 and I-4 occupancies, the highest risk occupants of all because the people in these occupancies don’t move fast, or at all….rather than in all occupancies. This proposal was also voted down, for now.

FCIA Code Changes - FCIA submitted nine code change proposals focused on three goals—

  • Define Compartmentation as a concept in the code.  It’s used in chapter 4 of the code, and needs a definition.

  • Develop the DIIM Concept- Design, Installation, Inspection and Maintenance of Effective Compartmentation is imperative to performance.  FCIA asked that compartmentation code requirements allow for ‘properly designed, installed, inspected and maintained’ compartmentation, just like in Chapter 9, Sprinklers.

  • Systems Concept - The building and fire codes did not have the word “systems” referenced in the building code.  This code change added the word “systems” to Fire-Resistance-Rated construction Chapter 7, reflecting real world references to our industry standard language, tested and listed systems. 

All three concepts were supported by the National Association of State Fire Marshals, (NASFM), California Fire Chiefs, International Association of Fire Chiefs, Door Safety Council, Door and Access Systems Manufacturers Association plus the Door and Hardware Institute and Door Safety Council.

During the ICC code change process, additional objectives were to build FCIA and Effective Compartmentation awareness by:

  • Educate building and fire code officials about the importance of the specialty firestopping and effective compartmentation contractor.
  • Make contact with key organizations around the U.S., and other parts of the world that use the International Building Code. 
  • Defend against threats to FCIA members through the codes. 
  • Form relationships with building and fire code officials, committee members and allied industries involved with the code development process.
  • Create awareness of FCIA.

FCIA was quite pleased on all fronts with our participation at the code hearings. To meet the next deadline for public comments, FCIA is meeting with many allied associations to formulate strategy for the Final Action Hearings in Rochester, N.Y. See the Life Safety Digest industry calendar for dates.

FCIA Supports IFC Code Changes - FCIA partnered with the FCIA manufacturer members who are part of the International Firestop Council (IFC), to develop ASTM      E 2174 & ASTM E 2393, Standards of the Inspection of Penetrations and Joint Systems. The IFC proposed these standards be added to Chapter 35 of the International Building Code.  The standards complete the “inspection” part of the ‘Design, Install, Inspect and Maintain’ for reliability of the effective compartmentation equation. The ICC Committee voted to disapprove the proposal. Reasons for disapproval ranged from cost of inspection, inspector qualifications, to the need to inspect all compartmentation items and the belief that the standards belongs in Chapter 7, where the industry tried to put these standards four years ago. Plus, we heard that the standards need to be updated with mandatory language inserted.

Identification Systems – Labels - Another code change supported by FCIA, submitted by IFC, attempted to add that firewalls, fire barriers, fire partitions, or smoke barriers, or any other wall required to have a fire-resistance rating or restrict the passage of smoke shall be identified with signs or stenciling in a manner acceptable to the building official. FCIA testified in support of the proposal by IFC, stating that it is not a big deal for FCIA Member firestop / containment workers to install them. Firestop / containment workers are already there at the end of the project and can install these quickly. The committee disapproved the code change, stating that there is no good reason to add them as a requirement at this time.

Height and Area Table Debate - There were several code change proposals by various groups to change the ICC Height and Area Tables in Chapter 5 (Table 503) of the International Building Code.  Code change proposals ranged from ‘no limits’ to adding significant restrictions.  In a move to consolidate the proposals and attempt to develop a single multi-party code change public comment, the proponents agreed to meet separately as a study group under the ICC Code Technology Committee as the “Height and Area Study Group”.  Meetings in October, November, December 2006 have occurred, with one more meeting January 3, 4 and 5, 2007 are ongoing.  Discussion at the meetings centered on using sprinklers and stronger structural frames to create bigger, more open buildings.  FCIA’s Code Consultant, Bill Koffel reported on the NFPA study on Height and Area which used effective compartmentation as a way to maximize height.  The NFPA plan was not implemented.  We did note that compartmentation was mentioned as a word hundreds of times, and discussed at length by the committee during these sessions. Led by co-chairs Kate Dargan, California Assistant State Fire Marshal and Dave Collins, AIA, of The Preview Group Architects, this group will finalize debate on safety issues behind the height and area tables shortly.

NFPA Code Change Cycle Starts - FCIA Lifetime Member Kathy Taraba, attended the NFPA Fire Protection Features Meeting to participate in the NFPA “Report on Proposals” process in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Nov. 1-3. Taraba supported proposals by FCIA Manufacturer Members who are also members of the International Firestop Council (IFC) to add requirements for ASTM E 2174, ASTM E 2393, Standards for Inspection of Penetrations and Joint Firestop Systems, to NFPA 5000 and 101 non mandatory “Annex” Chapters. ASTM E 2307 was also added as a reference in the Annex as well. Another proposal to bring smoke-resistance-rated construction a quantifiable “L” Rating of <5cfm/sf opening area was disapproved by the committee. 

FCIA visits with FCIA Manufacturer Member, IFC Members - FCIA Code Committee Leadership, Bob LeClair (Code Chair), Past President Aedan Gleeson and Incoming FCIA President, Mike Dominguez, spent a day in Baltimore discussing codes with IFC’s Code Action Committee.  FCIA Code Consultant Bill Koffel hosted the meeting, with IFC Code Consultant Tony Crimi, IFC Technical Director Richard Licht, plus FCIA and IFC Member Manufacturers 3M, HILTI, Specified Technologies, and RECTORSEAL. The group made agreements to support each other’s code changes at the ICC Final Action Hearings, May 21-27, Rochester, NY.  As a result, FCIA is moving forward with the “DIIM” Concept, while doing more research on Effective Compartmentation for submissions in future code cycles. Contact Bob LeClair if you want to volunteer for FCIA code development.  rleclair@afunderhill.com

Life Safety Digest – FCIA’s new Life Safety Digest Magazine celebrates its one year anniversary this month.  We are pleased with the responses from subscribers about the publication, and the value it’s adding to the Effective Compartmentation initiative for safer buildings.  For archived copies of the magazine, advertising info, reprint information, visit our magazine page. The current copy of the magazine is always hidden in the ‘members only’ area.  Archives are available to researchers to find information about compartmentation.

FCIA visits Manitoba - FCIA Member Rob Hlady, Affinity Firestop Consultants, set up a rock solid day of education for Manitoba area FCIA Member Contractors and industry leaders from the Construction Specifications Canada, Canadian Government, and the Manitoba Association of Architects.  Board Member Barclay Myers and Bill McHugh presented an FCIA update, Effective Compartmentation and Firestopping education programs that were well received by over 150 people in one day.  If you want to organize one of these programs in your area, contact the FCIA Office (bill@fcia.org) for details about how to get it done. 

FCIA visits Door and Hardware Institute, BHMA, Fire Rated Glazing, DASMA - FCIA had the opportunity to meet with Jerry Heppes, CEO and Bill Johnson, of the Door and Hardware Institute and Ralph Vasami, the Building Hardware Manufacturers Association to discuss code changes for fire and life safety egress from buildings.  We also spent time with Steve Hahn, frequent rolling fire door industry author for Life Safety Digest who represented DASMA and Tom Zaremba of the Fire Rated Glazing Industry at the ICC Height and Area Discussions.  Together, we developed strategies for supporting important code changes.  FCIA is pleased to be forming relationships with many allied effective compartmentation industries.

FCIA New Members – FCIA has grown significantly this year, while retaining existing members in a big way. We reached the ‘100 contractor location’ milestone in November, and are looking forward to 2007 and beyond.  Here are the new FCIA members who joined in the 4th quarter of 2006.

Albrico Services – Ron Russell - Langley, British Columbia, Canada – Contractor

  1. Boss Products – Craig Walkins - Elizabethtown, KY – Manufacturer
  2. State Line Products – Hank Vogel– Pompano Beach, FL – Contractor
  3. Kal’s Insulation – Les Kalimootoo - Greentown, PA – Contractor
  4. Tri-City Insulation – Alan Faske – Linden, NJ – Associate – Distributor
  5. White Cap Constr. Supply–Tony Gasper–Baltimore, MD–Associate – Distributor
  6. Jersey Firestop – Dan Hinojosa – Piscataway, NJ – Contractor
  7. Advance Testing Co.–James Smith– Campbell Hall, NY – Associate – Consultant
  8. Arctic Fireproofing, Inc. – Rush Fleshman – Elkridge, MD – Contractor
  9. Tonbridge Environmental-Barclay Myers–Burlington, ONT, Canada - Contractor
  10. Global Environmental and Safety, LLC – Patrick Tesche – Associate - Consultant

FCIA welcomes these new members, and looks forward to active participation in this vibrant group of contractors, manufacturers and associates from throughout North America, the United Kingdom and Dubai. 

FCIA Seasons Greetings - The holiday season  is a great time to reflect the years opportunities, challenges and blessings…while looking ahead to 2007.  From the FCIA Office, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and greetings for whichever way you celebrate the season. 

FCIA Staff - Bill McHugh, Evie Caprel & Linda McHugh


Bill McHugh, FCIA Executive Director

© Copyright FCIA 12/20/06 - 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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