Our recent SE University session by Kevin LaMalva, PE from Simpson Gumpertz & Heger (www.sgh.com) provided some interesting information for structural engineers about structural fire protection. As Kevin discussed, the vast majority of structures in the U.S. are designed to resist fire exposure according to prescriptive methods in the building codes in which the designer selects qualified fire resistance rated assemblies from available listings for the purpose of achieving an intended level of safety. The level of fire resistance required for a given building is based upon certain factors such as the building’s height and area per floor. Qualification of fire resistance rated assemblies is based upon standard furnace testing that has remained relatively unchanged since the early 20th century.
Kevin further elaborated that while the IBC allows for different methods to specify fire resistance, one common method is to use UL Directory listings. When a specific UL listing is given in the specifications, how would the engineer determine the requirements of that UL listing? In this video clip from our July 2013 SE University session, Kevin explains how to find that information through either hard copy or online methods, and also explains why it is important to read through the specifications to ensure that your design meets these requirements.
For online access to the UL Directory, visit http://database.ul.com/cgi-bin/XYV/template/LISEXT/1FRAME/fireressrch.html