BCAB #1115 - Fire Stopping, Sentences 3.1.7.1.(1) and; (2), Article 9.10.9.9.

January 23, 1990

BCAB #1115

Re: Fire Stopping, Sentences 3.1.7.1.(1) and; (2), Article 9.10.9.9.

With reference to your letter of November 30, 1989, regarding the application of Sentence 3.1.7.1.(1) and (2); you also refer to Article 9.10.9.9. We find no specific question being raised, so will make general comments on the Clauses at issue, which may be of assistance.

Sentence 3.1.7.1.(1) covers service equipment penetrating a fire separation, or penetrating a membrane forming part of an assembly required to have a fire-resistance rating; it provides two alternative methods of coping with a penetration. The first, under Clause 3.1.7.1.(1)(a) is for the penetrating item to be tightly fitted; we take this as intended to deal with penetrations through structures such as concrete or masonry, where close contact with the actual materials of the assembly throughout its thickness can be maintained without the necessity for further action, either by pouring around the penetrating item or cutting and tight fitting, to ensure an effective seal preventing the passage of flame. In the case of a framed assembly the feasibility of this alternative is questionable, we are unable to visualise a situation using frame construction where compliance with Clause 3.1.7.1.(1)(a) could be achieved. You also mention grout, but we would not regard this as providing the "tightly fitted" performance required, although we would accept concrete or masonry infill of an aperture for this purpose, provided that the mass of infill could reasonably be expected to maintain integrity by providing the same level of performance as the surrounding structure under the same conditions.

The second alternative, under Clause 3.1.7.1.(1)(b) requires that the method of penetration be tested to CAN 4-S101, but we would also consider CAN 4-S115, a later standard, to be acceptable. The materials and methods should be tested and listed by nationally accredited agencies.

Under Part 9 of the Code, Article 9.10.9.9. deals with the penetration of fire separations in a less restrictive fashion, which is further explained in the Appendix. The proof of adequacy by testing is not mandatory, and fire stopping is acceptable in addition to tightly fitting. We consider this to permit, as indicated in the Appendix, the use of fire stopping materials as packing around a penetration difficult or not practicable to tightly fit; the Code refers to generic fire stop materials such as mineral wool, gypsum plaster or Portland cement mortar, but ceramic fibre would be equally acceptable. Such a method would accommodate penetrations through frame construction, more common under Part 9 than Part 3 buildings.

J.C. Currie, Chairman