Month: February 2017

Sneaky Tricks of Steel Coating

Not All Fireproof Steel Coatings Are Equal

Intumescent Steel Coating for fireproofing has become a near exact science, with loads, calculation tables, Hp/A and or W/D to know the exact DFT required for your hourly rating. These sure take time to quantify, especially on large projects, but the end result will be exact with a DFT that correlates to the steel section, all based on actual test data and tables supplied by the test facility.

In principal manufacturers and agents (well let’s say most) are offering Dry Film Thicknesses (DFT) of their Intumescent steel coatings related to the BS 476 Certifire approval or UL263, using the given critical temperatures 500°C / 520°C or 620°C. If the approval also allows a multi temperature data, the certificate may also provide DFT’s up 750°C critical steel temperatures. And for sure, the demand of coating is lower if the critical steel temperatures raised.

Structural Steel Fire Coatings
Steel Coating Fire Protection

But raising the critical steel temperature is only possible, if the structural engineers confirms the higher critical temperature of the total structure (and not only for a single beam or column). If we don’t know the critical temperature of the structure a higher critical steel temperature will reduce the safety level.

In a worst case the structure is no longer protected for the requested fire rating. As manufacturers, we are very aware that nearly all projects we work on with either CharCoat SC60, SC120 or SCe120 consistently use the given critical temperatures of 500°C / 520°C or 620°C.

We have in recent months, especially in the Middle East with several manufacturers agents noted that they are not explaining the structural engineering facts, when they calculate projects they are using a higher critical temperature, which is reducing the paint volume requested for the project to gain a better footing to sell more coating, and in doing so are no longer fire rating the structure.

Something to be very aware of when you are looking at your steel fireproofing coatings.

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Is Cheap The Best?

The Costs Of Passive Fire Protection

It seems like anything in life, we would like to pay less and get more. But typical of most things, this is rarely the case.

And fireproofing falls into that category as well. We were recently asked to inspect a Structural Steel Fireproofing project in Malaysia where not only the fireproofing was falling off, but also the lack of skill and pride that was in the workmanship was horrific, not to mention incorrect thicknesses.

First and foremost, the incorrect thicknesses of the steel coating found meant that the fireproofing could not achieve the designated 2 hour Fire Rating, and was an immediate failure. This was an immediate RED flag and was brought up to the engineering and asset owners.

Cheap Fire Protection
Failed Fire Coating

Although we are not cementitious manufacturers, but intumescent thin film Coating manufacturers, we did not have to be specialists in this case to see failure and poor choice of installation. You cannot fault a supplier for the application of their product (unless completed by the manufacturer). As you see in the photo’s the fireproofing is falling off, leaving exposed flanges and no reinforcement or mesh, which is typical of a cementitious product, and most importantly they system has never been sealed.

Needless to say, we have been asked to replace the existing fireproofing with CharCoat SC120, which is no easy task given removal of existing failed fireproofing, preparation and installation.

The funny thing is, we quoted this project originally and the asset owner went for the “cheapest” installed quotation and as you can see, cheap was not a good choice as it will now cost 4 times the contract cost to repair and replace.

Thinking your saving money by choosing the most inexpensive solution can sometimes be a very expensive exercise.

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