Fireproofing is one of the most regulated trades on the construction site. I’m not sure exactly why but I think it has something to do with the fact that most fireproofing materials are literally manufactured on site and with that manufacturing there can be a lot of variables, product density, mix time and speed, amount of water added. All things that have an impact on the final in-place product – that has to work when needed at whatever timeline that might be. Another contributing factor, in my opinion is that not many truly understand fireproofing; the products, the applications, the purpose, how it works, etc.
On the one hand, each application has a series of field tests. Most common among these are the density verification, the thickness verification, and finally the adhesion /cohesion test. Very briefly the density tests says if the material is mixed and applied within this given density range then it is known to work and provide the hourly protection. The thickness verification is verification that the proper thickness of applied material will indeed provide the hours of heated protection as called for in the design and code documents. The adhesion /cohesion test verifies how well the material sticks to thesubstrate and to itself.
After 9 1 1, an additional requirement came in to being through what is called a Special Inspection. This code requirement states that an engineering or licensed professional has reviewed all the documents and the application of the SFRM and in doing so is willing to stamp the process as “approved” meaning it is within the project documents, including code requirements, within the material manufacture’s requirements, and within UL requirements. These verifications or tests as they may be, along with some visual examination by local building or fire officials constitute the typical fire test protocol.
Prior to the bag/bucket/pail of fireproofing being opened the material must itself be tested. These tests prove to the applicator who is about to open the bag/bucket/pail that the material, if mixed properly, will perform thusly. Of course there is a natural conflict created in that the applicator really doesn’t know what exact ingredients are in each bag/bucket/pail as these are closely held corporate secrets. On the other hand if there is a problem the manufacturer is going to say the applicator, as an independent business, didn’t mix it properly. Hence the argument.
The crucial test, material test, for fireproofing begins and ends with the ASTM E 119 protocol. In this protocol nothing is left to chance. Everything is predetermined, location of the thermocouples, test duration, temperature rise rate, maximum temperature everything is predetermined. Passage of the test requires that all conditions are consistent with ASTM E 119 – independently. Once this test is passed, noting the UL 263 is its equivalent, then we can go on to additional tests.
Additional tests that we had performed, independently, is ASTM E 84 which has determined that our UFP material creates NO smoke and NO fuel contribution. We also ran additional tests; ASTM E 605 which determines the density of our material. If you do not know already in the fireproofing world the material density is a reflection of the robustness of the applied material. The higher the density the more durable the product.
To provide some context, a commercial grade material, might have an in-place density ranging from 16 to 18 lbs. per cubic foot. A medium grade fireproofing might be in the 22 to 28 lbs. per cubic foot. A high density material, the most durable of all, might be in the 40 + lbs. cubic foot. Our UFP material came in at 38.52 lbs. per cubic foot meaning that it is more durable than 95% of the material being applied today.
Finally, we wanted to know how well our UFP sticks to the substrate and how well it sticks to itself as the buildup in thickness becomes more of an issue. Again, and of course, there is an ASTM protocol for this verification. ASTM E 736 is the appropriate protocol for this verification and our results were a cohesive/adhesive force of 2745.71 lbs. per square foot. In context the commercial grade fireproofing materials are in the 200 – 400 lbs. Per ft3 range and the medium grade fireproofing are in the 600 lbs. per square foot range. Our UFP came in at nearly 5 times the average of fireproofing materials as found on the internet.
We think our product compares pretty well to other material out there; that is from a numbers perspective. There are two more concepts, actually 3, that are important. Every bucket of material we sell has been inspected at the time of manufacture for consistency of ingredients, of mix, of packaging, and of labeling. This inspection is performed by UL personnel independently of anything we might say or do.
Our material, is the only material we know of that has been tested specifically as a patch material. What that means is that our material has been tested as a patch while the others as a fireproofing. To test as a fireproofing you spray your material on a structural element and subject it to the rigor of ASTM E 119. “If it is good enough as a spray them it must be OK as a patch” – not! What we did in addition to doing the fireproofing protocol we took several different materials from several different material manufacturers and sprayed various structural elements. We then deliberately damaged the structural element and installed strategic thermo-couples. We then repaired the damage using UFP all under strict and independent supervision. We then let everything cure properly and burned each of the samples under ASTM E 119 protocol. We did not assume that it would work as a patch, however, we now have proven it independently.
Our final observation is the constant visual observation line of demarcation between the existing materials for the various material manufactures and our new UFP material. In all tests NO delamination was observed. This proves our compatibility with other materials.