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Important Building Code Terms for Firewall Requirements

Fire_Partition.jpgWith so many code terms for firewall requirements, trying to determine which ones are important is a monumental task. However, understanding the terminology helps tremendously when choosing a fire partition for your business. Following are some of the more important code terms to learn.

  • Fire Barrier Wall (NFPA 221, – “A wall, other than a fire wall, having a fire resistance rating.”
  • Fire Wall (NFPA 221, – “A wall separating buildings or subdividing a building to prevent the spread of fire and having a fire resistance rating and structural stability”.
  • High Challenge Fire Wall (NFPA 221, – “A wall used to separate buildings or subdivide a building with high fire challenge occupancies, having enhanced fire resistance ratings and enhanced appurtenance protection to prevent the spread of fire, and having structural stability.”.
  • International Building Code (IBC) – In Section 706, two adjoining buildings must have different occupancies. Also, the firewall rating must comply with the most restrictive one.
  • Fire Resistance Rated Construction – This code term relates to the amount of time – in minutes or hours – that either assemblies or materials can withstand exposure to fire, something determined through testing at accredited test laboratories to approved test standards.
  • Restriction of Fire Growth – From the time officials created building codes specific to fire protection this term has been a critical term. Also referred to as passive protection, it refers to the ways for protecting the occupants of a building, as well as the public from uncontrolled fire.
  • UL/ULC – This marking proves that a product underwent vigorous testing and evaluation and met the UL/ULC listing requirements.
  • ASTM E 119 – The design and construction of firewalls must meet the requirements of this code, which stands for Standard Method of Fire Testing of Building Construction and Materials. The code specifies that endurance testing shows the fire separation limits the spread of fire and the amount of heat that passes through it.
  • CAN/ULC S-101 – The Canadian equivalent to ASTM E 119.

Remember when you do business with a reputable company, you will receive all the support needed in deciphering terms and selecting the right product. An experienced representative will provide you with valuable information, which may include the difference and benefits of a fire barrier vs firewall, what type of protection you need for your specific business, and where you should place the protective wall, door or enclosure.

If your business deals with flammable materials, it is particularly critical that you adhere to all building code firewall requirements. The consequences can include being non-compliant with current regulations and laws, putting you at risk for hefty fines, temporary shutdown, or worse, danger to your employees, assets, and even infrastructure. Having some understanding of building code terminology is important, but even more crucial is having adequate fire protection in place.