A Look at the Fireproofing Methods Used for Structural Steel

The Dangers of Fireproofing Steel and How You Can Avoid Them

 

Fireproofing steel columns and beams on a construction site are one of the worst decisions you as a commercial contractor can make. Not only does this hold up production, but it can also be a health hazard for your construction team.

 

If you work in commercial construction, there’s a simple solution: Outsource your fireproofing needs.

 

When is Steel Fireproofing Required?

Commercial construction structural steel columns must meet at least the X106, or 2-hour, fire-resistance rating, among other requirements. The most common fire-resistance ratings are 2-, 3-, and 4-hour ratings. A certified AISC column fabricator is qualified to take care of these fireproofing needs, so you don’t have to stress over whether your building will need to pass additional inspections.

 

Why is Fireproofing Used in Steel Frame Construction?

Steel is not indestructible. It can melt at approximately 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, and hydrocarbon and average building fires can burn at about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Although it won’t necessarily melt, Steel Fabrication Melbourne  can become deformed and lose its strength when exposed to extremely high temperatures.

 

Fireproofing steel helps maintain a building’s shape in the event of a fire. This way, more people are able to escape unscathed. Fireproof steel columns are used in everything from parking garages and shopping centers to hospitals and cafeterias.

 

 

How is Structural Steel Used in Creating Fireproof Columns?

Structural steel columns are available in standard and custom shapes and sizes to accommodate whatever specifications your job requires. Industry-leading column shapes by Black Rock Fireproof Column range from the Round Type OH to the Rectangular Type RR, with most having a concrete-filled center. You can read more about the specs of our types of fireproof columns here.

 

The sleek, strong look of steel complements a structure while also serving as a durable shell on fireproofed columns fabricated by Black Rock Fireproof Column. The composition of each structural column includes structural steel surrounded by concrete, which is then wrapped in a proprietary insulating layer of vermiculite fireproofing protected by an exterior steel shell.

 

Many building codes require fireproofing protection to structural steel as a safety precaution. The most common way to provide such protection in the U.S. is by spraying low-density fiber or cementitious compounds, now called spray-applied fire-resistive material (SFRM). The product can be sprayed on steel to provide heat resistance and also can be applied over wood, fabric, and other building materials. Building codes dictate the required thickness of the coat is applied. Sprays are divided into wet spray or dry spray materials, describing how the material is mixed and applied.

 

Usage 

 

Cementitious Fireproofing

 Many building codes require fireproofing protection to structural steel as a safety precaution. The most common way to provide such protection in the U.S. is by spraying low-density fiber or cementitious compounds, now called spray-applied fire-resistive material (SFRM). The product can be sprayed on steel to provide heat resistance and also can be applied over wood, fabric, and other building materials. Building codes dictate the required thickness of the coat is applied. Sprays are divided into wet spray or dry spray materials, describing how the material is mixed and applied.

 

Intumescent Coatings

 Also known as intumescent paint, this method provides fire resistance to structural steel members. One of the key benefits is that intumescent coatings will expand as much as 100 times the original thickness of the material, providing superior fire resistance by creating a buffer between the fire and the steel members. The coating will undergo a chemical reaction and expand when subjected to extreme temperatures—but before the temperatures become hot enough to affect the integrity of the steel.

 

 Intumescent coatings are a great solution when aesthetics come into play with steel that is exposed to the general public. The product is applied just like paint, with every layer adding to the overall thickness of the product. This fireproofing material can be applied to structural wood as well.

 

Rigid Board Fireproofing

Rigid board fireproofing can be installed quickly and easily. One of the benefits is that it can be installed as you go during the process of installing steel decks and beams. Rigid board fireproofing provides the right fireproofing requirements as well as thermal and acoustic control. This type of fireproofing can be mechanically fastened and can prevent pests and termite attacks. It also is available in different thicknesses to meet UL requirements and can withstand moisture and humidity without losing its fire-stopping characteristics. Boards can be designed to precise measurements and can include decorative finishes.

 

Fire protective sprays

Fire protective sprays typically consist of a binder (normally cement or plaster), fillers and fibres. The spray is delivered to the jobsite in powder form. The powder must be mixed with water to produce a sprayable material. Onsite mixing, pumping and spraying equipment are therefore required. Sprays are particularly suitable for structures where aesthetic requirements are not so important, although a careful application by a professional applicator may even provide an aesthetically pleasing look that is sometimes preferred by architects.

 

Sources-

https://www.industry.gov.au/data-and-publications/australias-steel-manufacturing-and-fabricating-markets