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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

We are getting ready to build our first home & detached garage. The garage is a steel kit Quonset hut style. Our permits are being held up because of the garage. Because were less than 5 ft at back, we are required to have a 1 hour firewall assembly. Current firewall assembly codes are based on a traditional stick built structure. The city planner has never dealt with this before and cannot offer any advice on how to achieve. Our architect (who is very progressive) is working on options to present. However, everyone else we've reached out to has been stumped. Surprised it's never come up! Looking to see if anyone has dealt with this before? Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, the manufacturer is trying but apparently they've never had this situation come up. They are looking into the history of other client builds in the meantime.
Our architect and structural engineer have to come up with firewall calculations, ideally link them to UL approved designs, testing docs, etc. Most of the UL designs are based on more traditional framed structures and can't be adapted to our structure. Thankfully the city planner is very reasonable, we just have to put together accurate documentation.
 

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Doesn't sound reasonable to me.....

Sounds like your asking for a variance, if so it's time to play.....
What about...
A hardwired smoke detector located wherever.
A small space specific sprinkler system located wherever.
Fire rated drywall in the immediate area wherever.

I'd be willing to bet a steel structure is not like a wood structure, what would that fire rating be.?

Gee inspector, my husband is a fire fighter and can stand guard......I am sure he can put that metal out before it reaches the house....
 

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Is there even any wood in the thing? What is actually flammable in the proposed structure?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
There is currently no wood in the structure. All non-combustible steel. But there are close structures neighboring. (Hence the need for the firewall). We are pretty much being told to add a wood framing inside the steel structure to create a typical fire wall assembly (2 layers of sheetrock) as that is what the dept. is most familiar with. Trying to create a one sided assembly (since we have no framing) that would calculate a 1 hour firewall, but that might not suffice if it hasn't actually been done & tested previously.Technically we are required to have the firewall at rear and one side wall.
 

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How about coating the steel with some of that spray on insulation that they use to protect steel I-beams in high-rise structures?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
@Msradell, yes that's one option (intumescent) we are proposing as an alternate However, the coating application cannot be done diy, and could drive our costs up a lot. We may not have a choice at this stage if they approve this method. Finger crossed!
 

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Let's get this straight just for a piece of mind...

There's no building product that's more fire rated then that steel. The steel is not going to catch fire.
They want you to install products that will catch fire, not to prevent it but just keep the fire that those products will produce at bay for 1 hour.
And still it will be the metal holding back any fire.

...
 

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@Msradell, yes that's one option (intumescent) we are proposing as an alternate However, the coating application cannot be done diy, and could drive our costs up a lot. We may not have a choice at this stage if they approve this method. Finger crossed!
No need for it to be intumescent. The stuff that I would think would work is something that looks like a cross between chewed up paper and oatmeal.


Intumescent materials are used when filling holes or when a material that may melt passes through a firewall. You are needing a coating material.



To the poster speaking about it being metal and therefore should be a firewall all by itself, two things;

Part of the function of a firewall is to prevent heat transfer. Steel passes heat quite well and could easily allow the transfer of enough heat to ignite materials on the other side and;

Metal does deform or even melt. If you have ever see a post frame building that was involved with a fire you would understand that the simple fact it is made of steel is in itself not enough.
 

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Let's get this straight just for a piece of mind...

There's no building product that's more fire rated then that steel. The steel is not going to catch fire.
They want you to install products that will catch fire, not to prevent it but just keep the fire that those products will produce at bay for 1 hour.
And still it will be the metal holding back any fire.

...
:thumbsup: :thumbup: :yes: exactly what I was thinking.

This is a case of the Government with a solution in search of a problem. :censored:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Technically, steel alone is not considered fire-rated, but rather non-combustible & fireproof. As @nap said, it's the heat transfer aspect that is also part of a firewall code that has to be achieved. I have a feeling we will end up stick building inside of it, but also looking into steel commercial parking structures that require fire-ratings......
 

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Okay then, this leads to another question...
You are not using this as a garage.?
Prove to me that metal buildings catch fire or transfer heat to another building when there are no flammable building materials used.?

what's the fire rating of the metal in the building, I bet it far exceeds wood etc..? Unless they make you use material that will catch fire.

An electrical fire will catch what on fire in a steel building.?
A car fire due to electrical will catch what on fire in a metal building.?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hi @ron45, yup we are using it as a garage. I agree with you, however the UL doc's that the steel comes with only proves non-combustibility, nothing about heat transfer. Currently there is no fire-rating attached to the structure as most people do not require it. We are on a small lot and close to other buildings (less than 5 ft) which require the fire rating. Apparently all the steel building kit companies I reached out to have not had to deal with this situation before!
 

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Would you be able to put roxul on the wall i believe it adds a 1 hour rating and you could also probly use monocoat. That's what they put on the beams of a large comercial buildings and it can be applied by hand a good commercial plasterer could probly get some and put it on.
 

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I know you can use it for different things. My work put it on the 2nd floor ceiling of a all concrete parking garage to get a fire rating because of offices on the 3rd floor
 

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A car fire due to electrical will catch what on fire in a metal building.?
the car


You are missing the point; it isn't just about containment. Fire walls also serve to prevent the transfer of heat. That is why the proximity to an adjacent building is causing them to be required to make that wall fire rated.
 
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