The client had purchased previously built buildings from another source. After there were some instances of failing Spray-Applied Fire-Resistive Materials (SFRM) within buildings, these buildings were inspected and found to have issues with the spray applied fire resistive materials located between the roof deck and the ceiling. The SFRM acts as another barrier in the case of a fire, helping to prevent the steel from getting too hot and damaged during a fire. This in turn keeps the building structurally safe and able to be open for service once the interior has been cleaned up for the situation. Due to the buildings being unsafe the client brought a lawsuit against the buildings previous owner.
SFRM was falling off the roof deck, falling through the ceiling and landing on the inside of the building. The owners of the building began their own investigation into what was happening. After a time, the client contacted Poole Fire Protection to come in and do a full investigation.
In 1998, Poole Fire Protection was hired to visually determine which of the buildings had spray-applied fire-resistant materials applied and in what areas the material was used. Poole Fire Protection then created a priority list of the buildings for physical spot testing. To prepare for the testing process, two mock application sites were established.
Once a protocol was established, Poole Fire Protection's certified spray-applied fire-resistant material testers began testing the spray-applied fire-resistant material used in more than 60 building locations in about 15 states. The firm's testing process includes visual observations of the facility and areas where the spray-applied fire-resistant material had been applied. Probe tests are performed and black light tests are used to determine if an adhesive or bond seal was used.
In addition, samples of the spray-applied fire-resistant material's adhesion are tested in accordance with ASTM E73. Density tests are performed in accordance with ASTM E605 and thickness is measured in accordance with ASTM E605. The tests are conducted on any area within the building where spray-applied fire-resistant material has been applied including roof decks, floor decks, bar joists and I-beams.
To accurately maintain the information gathered during this detailed process for the volume of sites involved, Poole Fire Protection tracks the test results, digital photos and sample information for each site. This information is compiled in trip reports provided to the client.
Poole Fire Protection was hired to do investigation of multiple buildings and decide if they were safe, and if not, how to make them safe. During this investigation, Poole Fire Protection prepared documents to help the client win the lawsuit.
Poole Fiore Protection also provided to the clients different ways to fix the failing SFRM materials. One option was they could have the SFRM removed completely and start over from scratch, making sure there was enough adhesive applied before the SFRM was sprayed to the steel. The other option they could do is to apply CAFCO Boards to the roof deck as another layer/barrier to prevent to the fire/heat from reaching to the steel of the building structure.
Jack Poole, PE, FSFPE, is a registered Professional Engineer in Fire Protection, licensed in over 50 states and territories. Principal of Poole Fire Protection, he is involved in the day-to-day activities of code consulting, life safety analyses, design of engineering alternatives, fire protection system design, and construction management services.
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