Problems may occur with fire protection materials if they are improperly designed, supplied, installed, damaged by an event/exposure, or inadequately maintained. When this happens, the resulting impairment may seriously compromise the performance of the fire resistant construction required for life safety and collapse prevention. Key in-situ properties, such as thickness, density, strength, hardness, composition, combustibility, weathering and fire resistance, of the existing fire protection materials may need to be re-evaluated for this purpose.
Fire protection is provided in varied forms, products and different materials, the most common of which are spray-applied fire resistive materials and gypsum board. Intumescent/mastic coatings, traditional concrete and masonry are also employed, along with archaic materials such as lath/plaster and clay tile.
Hughes Associates, Inc. has conducted various forensic investigations and assignments of this type on behalf of property owners, manufacturers/suppliers, contractors, insurance companies, and attorneys in occupied buildings, operating facilities, at landmark historic sites, and during construction. These have ranged from a due diligence review of the fire protection within an existing building that is being converted, improved or acquired to situations where distinct problems were identified after a damaging exposure, or after incidental or inspection observation(s) of material omissions, flaws, detachments or deterioration.
HAI is ready to respond in a professional and timely manner to such needs. We can quickly mobilize a field team with the appropriate expertise to survey the site, conduct material measurements and tests, and extract samples for any more rigorous laboratory examinations.
Standard or customized material testing is often necessary to accurately determine the in place conditions, deficiencies, causes, and/or solutions to the problem. Review and analysis of the available original project construction documents, including the design specifications for the passive fire protection and its inspection records, are also frequently necessary to supplement the newly obtained field, material and test data.
This work is often concluded with development of a suitable repair/remediation strategy to attain or upgrade the required fire resistance. HAI has provided consulting services for field oversight of the resulting rehabilitation implementation, together with assistance in follow-up discussions with the AHJ and other vested parties on the outcome of the forensic investigation.