Who isn’t captivated with the shrill of sirens as firefighters speed by to save property and lives from smoke and flames? These firefighters are certainly a familiar sight, but they are not our only defense. Many people have dedicated their careers to protecting us from the horrors of fire. Fire protection professionals – engineers, technicians, code writers and regulators – continually work to develop new and better protection systems. Construction methods and materials are one focus of these efforts and ‘firestopping’ is an old term that is gaining recent attention in the industry.

Fire stopping is a passive fire protection method used to seal openings and joints in fire-resistance-rated walls and floor assemblies. Firestopping prevents penetrations in a wall or floor from being a route for fire and smoke to spread.

Firestopping was first required in commercial construction almost 50 years ago. The 1973 Standard Building Code required: “All openings around exposed pipes or power shafting shall be filled with approved non-combustible material, or shall be closed off by close-fitting metal caps at the ceiling and floor line, and on each side of a wall or partition.” Since then, advances in fire stopping approaches and materials have been adopted in revisions to building and fire codes.

Recognizing the importance of firestopping, the 2012 the International Building Code introduced a requirement for special inspections of fire stop systems in high rise buildings. Today, under current requirements, special inspectors are now required for firestopping in many buildings throughout New Hampshire.

SFC Engineering boasts New Hampshire’s largest fire protection engineering team. Three Fire Protection Engineers and two certified inspectors are available to provide professional fire stopping inspections for your next project.
Contact Todd Sullivan at tsullivan@sfceng.com to learn how we can help you.