FCIA Firestop Contractor Members report that Specifications sometimes request equal F and T Ratings on metallic and other penetrating items, joints and gaps with no extra treatment specified by the architect. The purpose of this "Standard Answers" paper is to provide clarification for FCIA Member Contractors and the construction industry about "Equal F and T Ratings" for Firestopping
Definitions - Firestop Systems tested to ASTM E 814 or UL 1479 result in hourly ratings for both flame ("F") and temperature transfer ("T"). The "F" Rating defines the amount of time before flame pokes through openings to the unexposed side of the test assembly. The "T" Rating defines the amount of time for the surface of the penetrating item on the non-fire side of the test assembly to rise 325F plus ambient temperature.
The purpose of the "T" Rating is to prevent fire spread from the fire side to the non - fire side of the assembly even when no breach in the fire resistance rated compartment exists that would allow flame propagation. Below is discussion regarding the "Equal F and T Ratings" issue that affects FCIA Member Specialty Firestop Contractors regularly:
The 2000 edition of the International Building Code requires equal "F" and "T" Ratings for items penetrating through fire resistance rated floor assemblies. In floor assemblies, penetrations contained and located within the cavity of the wall do not require a "T" Rating. For floor penetrations outside wall cavities, "T" ratings of no less than 1 hour or the required rating of the floor penetrated are. When penetrations are in fire resistance rated walls, there is no mention of a "T" rating requirement. (See IBC 2000 Code for further explanation)
Upon review of the Underwriters Laboratories, (UL) Fire Resistance Directory for through penetration firestop systems, FCIA Member contractors found the following results:
Based on the above referenced information, it is FCIA's position that "Equal "F" and "T" Ratings can be provided in some cases. However, Equal "F" and "T" Ratings may not be available in all cases. Architects and engineers shall communicate the need for equal "F" and "T" ratings when required by code for life safety or property protection in construction documents, with specific tested and listed systems referenced to accomplish the ratings.
Due to the limited number of available tested and listed systems in metal pipe applications, there may be engineering judgments or equivalent fire resistance rated assemblies (EJ's or EFFRA's) needed to provide the specific "T" Ratings ratings requested.
FCIA Standard Answer # 1 - "Equal "F" and "T" Ratings May 6, 2004 FINAL; Edited August 18, 2018
Firestop Contractors International Association
FCIA Technical Committee Document number 1
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