Letter to CSI's
Magazine, Feb 2001
LETTER FROM KEN HERCENBERG
TO CSI's Magazine, "The Construction Specifier"
- a national publication circulated to over 18,000 CSI members,
A CALL TO CERTIFY FIRESTOPPERS
This is a simple issue of life safety. We require architects
and engineers be registered. We prefer our specifiers
and contract administrators to be certified. We often
require that roofers, waterproofers, painters, and dozens
of other applicators be trained or approved.
Yet the people who are in a position to stop us from being
burned to death are not certified, registered, trained, or
approved. They walk onto the project site, get handed
a caulk, mortar, or mud and are told to fill in joints, gaps,
and openings. Even if they are conscientious, they rarely
have the knowledge or training to know whether they are installing
the right product or system to save lives.
It's time for the firestopping industry to establish an association
which can set standards and certify firestopping professionals
the same way welders are certified. Annually.
Once this is achieved, code officials and design professionals
must support and require it. Manufacturers claim they
are trying to provide the training. The time has come
for current training to be mandatory. Our lives depend
Ken Hercenberg, CSI, CCS, CCCA
RTKL Associates, Inc. Baltimore, MD
LETTER FROM AEDAN GLEESON, FCIA
TO CSI CONSTRUCTION SPECIFIER MAGAZINE
Construction Specifications Institute
99 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 300
Alexandria, VA 22314
RE: Response to Ken Hercenberg's letter to the Editor - "Addenda"
in The Construction Specifier - February 2001
I read with enthusiasm the letter from Ken Hercenberg, RTKL
Associates, Inc., about the call for Certified Firestop Contractors.
The timing of his call for certified firestop contractors
couldn't be better. As Past President of the Firestop
Contractors International Association (FCIA) and it's current
"Accreditation Committee Chair", I couldn't agree more with
Ken's worry that some non-qualified firm is supervising Firestop
work, an important life safety component in building construction.
Over the past two years, FCIA has taken steps to answer your
call! They include:
- Formed a National Association - The FCIA is a strong national
group focused on Life Safety.
- FM 4991 Approved Contractors - FCIA hired FM Research,
a world leader in construction standards, to write an approval
program for firestop contractors, complete with personnel
testing and an audit of the firestop contractor's quality
program with a separate audit at the project site to verify
compliance with their own company procedures.
- "FCIA Manual of Practice" - The FCIA Technical Committee
wrote this Firestop Industry Book that is used for the basis
of the FM Written Test that a "Designated Responsible Individual"
(DRI). To qualify as a DRI, the individual must pass
with a grade of 80% or greater. The FM 4991 Approved
Firestop Contractor must employ a DRI as implementer of
- FM 4991 Implemented - FCIA and FM held their first "FM
Test" for DRI's and contractors went through rigorous audits
from FM Personnel to become approved.
FCIA has taken the steps to be the FIRST group of contractors
in the construction industry to embrace a formalized quality
program, administered not by the contractors, but by a credible
independent construction industry leader...FM Research.
FCIA Contractors are committed to Life Safety through knowledge
of this specialized trade, expertise demonstrated through
a quality program and personnel examination, and providing
value to the owner through economies gained with a total "Firestop
Systems" approach vs. "a Firestop caulk product", and no system
details in hand at the jobsite".
The FCIA Contractors who have invested time and money to
be FM 4991 Approved are taking their trade seriously.
FCIA has invested it's own money to create the FM 4991 Life
Safety Program. FCIA Members who are FM 4991 Approved
have proven quantitatively that they are truly, "Firestop
Specialists" through their demonstrated knowledge and audit
tested quality program. Specify a "FM 4991 Approved
Firestop Contractor" to get your client the Life Safety their
buiding's occupants deserve. It could be any one of us in
a building during a disaster. Why not protect the investment
with an FM 4991 Approved Firestop Contractor.
For more information about FCIA and finding an FM 4991 Approved
Contractor, visit the FCIA website at www.fcia.org
Aedan Gleeson, Past President & Accreditation Committee
Firestop Contractors International Association