Fireproofing is a critical part of construction. When done correctly, it will protect the structural portions of your building in case of a fire, consequently help prevent property damage, personal injury, and even loss of life.
WHY DO YOU NEED TO FIREPROOF A BUILDING?
The reasons to fireproof a building may seem obvious to some, but here are three essential reasons:
• Compliance with safety regulations and practice is at the top of the list.
Property owners need to be aware of all commercial and residential building safety requirements. Why? You will find that most buildings that go up in flames were not in accordance with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fireproofing regulations and practices.
• Increase the resistance of fire
Whether it is in material or structural form, implementing fire resistance practices during the planning, designing, and construction of buildings is vital for preserving life and property in a fire outbreak. A fire will ignite the flammable materials in its reach and quickly spread to other parts of the buildings, leading to the collapse of the structure.
Adopting measures such as using non-combustible Materials and fireproofing a building during construction is among the most effective way to slow down the duration and the speed at which a fire spreads.
• To safeguard critical control systems and keep them operating during a fire outbreak.
Every minute and second counts during a fire emergency, which is why critical control systems and emergency equipment must be adequately maintained, identified, and located in easily accessible areas and away from the source of hazard.
Emergency devices and lights that warn us of a hazard should also be regularly inspected, tested, and maintained to ensure optimum safety. Failure of inspection will lead to a potentially dangerous situation that may result in injury, loss of life, property damage even the environment.
TOP 3 MATERIALS FOR INDUSTRIAL FIREPROOFING
Structural steel loses about 50% of its design integrity once a fire reaches around 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, using the right fireproofing material will delay the time it takes for a fire to reach its average burning temperature between 1800 and 2000 °F.
While the standards and design codes do not necessarily provide the exact suggestion for the fireproofing material to be used, however, it must be made from a durable and corrosion-resistant product. The following are the top 3 materials that you should consider using for industrial fireproofing;
1. SPRAY FOAM FIREPROOFING INSULATION
Suppose you are looking for a non-toxic and very effective fireproofing insulation solution. In that case, spray foam is your best bet because it not only has fire retardant properties, it’s also self-extinguishing. Additionally, it fills up all spaces that need to be well-insulated, making it hard for heat to escape.
Compared to traditional insulation materials, gypsum, or cement-based fireproofing, spray foam does not release toxins into the air when it deteriorates with time.
The damage caused by a fire in a property depends on how rapidly it spread throughout the building. Also known as Sprayed Fire-Resistive Material (SFRM) or Spray-Applied Fireproofing, the fire-resistant spray foam complies with fire safety codes and building regulations because it is self-extinguishing; consequently, the fire is contained, and the flames don’t fully take hold.
APPLICATION; Spray foam insulation is available in low, medium, and high-density forms. The cement-like mixture that integrates water and air is uniformly applied directly onto steel structures using a high-pressure spraying method.
2. FIBROUS PLASTERS: WOOL OR FIBERGLASS
Fiberglass is a moisture-resistant and non-combustible fireproofing material made by combining very fine glass strands into a material. Then a specially designed resin is applied as a bonding agent. Its availability, affordability, and effectiveness make fiberglass an excellent option for private and commercial buildings. While it may not be entirely fireproof, fiberglass can withstand temperatures reaching 1,220 degrees.
Mineral wool (glass or rock wool) is an effective form of non-combustible insulation that is combined with other types of insulation to improve its fire resistance properties.
APPLICATION: Caution needs to be exercised when cutting and measuring fiberglass. It contains tiny slivers of glass material that may break away and harm your eyes, skin if you do not have the proper safety equipment. For safety purposes, use a staple gun to secure the cutout insulation to the studs.
3. INTUMESCENT COATING
The use of fire-resistant materials on walls to contain the spread of fire in its area of origin is a safety strategy that plays a significant role in safeguarding lives and minimizing property damage. This is the idea behind intumescent paint; it prevents the spread of fire throughout a building by expanding and absorbing thermal energy from the surrounding environment as soon it comes in contact with extreme temperatures. This reaction creates a porous foam that effectively slows down the heat transfer rate from the flames to the surface underneath.
APPLICATION: A coating of intumescent paint is sprayed as a base layer directly on the surface of a range of steel elements, timber, concrete, and composites.
Many different materials are used to help render residential, commercial, or industrial structures incombustible or fire-resistant. To get the most out of fireproofing materials, you need to work with a licensed contractor who can advise you on the best performing material to use for your type of construction.