When you have a third party firestop inspector visit a building, they look at many potential issues. Customers need to understand what a firestop inspection is likely to include, and here are four things they can expect a professional to do.
The Goal of the Inspection
Firestops are systems within buildings that serve to halt or at least delay the spread of fires. Walls and floors are the most logical places for the stops to be. However, you'll also find engineered solutions that incorporate ducts and conduits as stops.
Why Must You Inspect Them?
One of the biggest arguments for a firestop inspection is when projects were handled by multiple contractors. It's normal during construction or remodeling for some work to go to an electrician, more to go to an HVAC person, and then the exterior is handled by a drywall installer. This often leads to inconsistencies in the implementations of firestops. For this reason, it's wise to have a third part firestop inspector check things out at the end of every build or remodel.
Likewise, owners should order inspections for all buildings that are older than 10 years. Firestop rules are part of the International Building Code, and they are subject to regular revisions.
What Is Inspected?
The primary goal of a firestop is to ensure that vulnerable areas of buildings are protected. In addition to the walls and floors of a structure, the joints are a point of particular concern. These locations often lack the same amount of materials as the straight lines of a building. Anywhere a section of a building meets another one ought to be inspected. If a wall or floor meets another wall or floor, it's a point of concern.
How Is an Inspection Conducted?
An inspector will conduct a visual review of the system. If they have worries about the system, they must be able to gain further access to the firestop. This may include taking samples of materials, including cores. Building owners need to keep construction details at the building, too. The inspector should be able to reference the plans for the building to identify where the stops are supposed to be.
No elements of installation should be concealed until a firestop inspection is completed and the building is approved. Changes must be implemented immediately, and a re-inspection will follow. Once everything is up to code, the property owner may order the stops concealed. Reach out to a third-party firestop inspector to learn more.