The Benefits of Using a Qualified and/or Approved Firestop Contractor
There are many benefits to using a qualified firestop contractor to manage your firestopping needs for new commercial as well as remediation. There are two programs offered by third party accrediting agencies that qualify and approve firestop contractors. The first is Factory Mutual’s (FM) 4991 Approved Firestop Contractor Program. This was the first well respected agency to appreciate the value and intricacy of firestopping as a trade, and to recognize the need for a firestop system to be chosen and installed by an approved firestop contractor. The second and most recent accrediting agency to qualify a firestop contractor is Underwriters Laboratory’s (UL) Qualified Firestop Contractor Program. Both programs have a series of requirements and qualifications to ensure that all qualified and approved firestop contractors possess exceptional knowledge of firestopping, are highly skilled in the installation of firestop systems, and have a working quality control manual in use.
In order to ensure exceptional knowledge of firestopping, both the FM 4991 Approved Firestop Contractor Program and the UL Qualified Firestop Contractor Program require a Designated Responsible Individual (DRI) to be employed with the approved/qualified firestop contractor’s firm. In order to become a DRI, the individual must pass a comprehensive exam covering all aspects of firestopping, including such topics as historical knowledge, firestop system selection, and proper installation of firestop systems and engineering judgments. DRIs are also required to keep up CEUs on an annual basis to ensure that their knowledge of firestopping remains present.
Contractors must also ensure that firestop systems and engineering judgments are installed properly. To ensure that all firestop installation is of the highest possible quality, FM Approved and UL Qualified firestop Contractors are subjected to annual audits, including site visits, to verify compliance with each agency’s standards. During these audits, destructive testing is performed in order to ensure the proper installation of a firestop system and/or engineering judgment.
The initial and annual audits performed by Factory Mutual and Underwriter’s Laboratory, respectively, also ensure that the FM Approved and/or UL Qualified Firestop Contractor has a working quality control manual that guides day to day practices both at the facility and on the job site. This quality control manual covers a variety of topics addressing how the firestop contractor will approach such topics as material tracking, storage and usage, documentation of firestop systems (with attention paid to engineering judgments), proper document management, training and continuing education programs, labeling, inspection, and approaches to workplace safety.
Both FM’s 4991 Approved Firestop Contractor Program and UL’s Qualified Firestop Contractor Program provide architects, owners, general contractors and AHJs with a venue for identifying quality firestop contractors throughout the United States, Canada, and world-wide. For more information about these programs, please visit the Firestop Contractor’s International Association’s website.
Gleeson Powers, Inc. is both a Factory Mutual (FM) 4991 Approved Firestop Contractor and an Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) Qualified Firestop Contractor. They were the first firestop contractor to become UL Qualified, and in the first round of FM Approved Firestop Contractors. They are currently the only firestop contractor in New England who is both FM Approved and UL Qualified. To learn more about their services, please visit www.gleesonpowers.com