Navigating Fire Resistant Construction

By May 22, 2013Architecture

In your best 1990’s Beavis and Butthead Cartoon voice, say to yourself “FIRE…FIRE…FIRE!”  That’s what kept going through my head for the 8 hours as I sat listening to the instructor inform us about the new and enthralling world of fire resistive construction.  As you read the blog, when you come across the word “fire” read it as the beloved cartoon character (go ahead…I promise it will make it more enjoyable).  Now, let’s see if I can formulate an informative report on the wonderful world of fire resistive construction.

If any of you have had the delightful task in your firm of assembling a fire rated assembly sheet or a fire penetration schedule you have probably run into the dreaded UL listings and their unbearable website.  You could literally spend hours upon hours of your day searching through the thousands of listings and still not come up with the one that fits your type of construction.  Before you can even start looking though you will need to find your way to the database and that can be challenging in and of itself.

Well, you can thank EduCode 2013 and the passionate Mr. Richard Walke for the following information.  Hopefully this makes your fire resistive construction research just a little more bearable.  And not to mention subduing the feeling of wanting to go all “Office Space” on your computer (I know you can hear the hip hop background music and slow motion beating of the Commodor 64 PC)!!

Put down the flimsy paged orange books and jump on your closest computer.  You are now just a few clicks away from finding the UL listing of your dreams.  First let’s get you to the database.  www.ul.com/database is where we will start.  If you make the mistake of going to www.ul.com as I have done so many times, my initial reaction is always ‘HUH?’  Just go to the bottom of the page in the black box and under ‘Tools’ click on “Online Certification Directory.”  This link will take you to the same place.

Now that we have arrived at the directory there are a number of options you have to locate your fire rated assembly (if you feel patriotic when you look at the Red, White and Blue page you are in the right spot)!  At the top of the page there is a “Quick Guide” link.  This link is extremely helpful in providing tips and tricks of the website.

If you are looking for a specific UL File number (for instance a typical fire rated assembly used in your office) and you just need an update you can input the UL File Number in the grey box to the left of the screen.  But if you are one of the unfortunate ones that needs to find that awe inspiring random listing then you will need to look elsewhere.

To the right of the screen there is a drop down menu where you should select “Fire resistance rated Systems and Products.”  You will be redirected to a new page where you can select the type of system you are looking to utilize.  Click on “Fire Resistance Ratings” in the middle of the page and then in the grey box click on “Numbering information for Fire (hope your still doing the voice…it will help you pull through I promise) resistance designs.  Probably the most helpful of all pages will pop up on your screen.  This table allows you to click on hyperlinks that will direct you to a page of assemblies that you can then sort through to find what you are looking for.

I can only assume at this point if you are still reading, it’s because you have nothing better to do with your time or you are just utterly enthralled with the information in this blog.  Well then do I have a special treat for you!  THERE’S MORE!!  I kept this little nugget till the end for the hardcore fire peeps.

Starting back at the beginning, www.ul.com/database then click on the drop down and select “Fire resistance rated Systems and Products.”  In the middle of the page click on “Fire Resistance Ratings.”  Under the grey box there is a small box called the “ULtimate fire wizard.”  This, my friends, is the new and improved search engine that Mr. Walke enticed us for 6 hours with so that we wouldn’t leave the class and run for the nearest pub.  Get ready to have your mind blown!!

In the middle of the page click the large red button labeled “Search for a design that fits your needs.”  You will then be provided with a pop up to the left that simplifies your search tremendously.  The first time I used this search tool it took some serious restraint to not do backflips around the office (in all honesty it was the 300 lbs that stopped me from doing the backflips but I digress).  This wizard allows you to save your fire designs for future use which is also extremely helpful.

There will still be a small amount of research that you need to do picking through all of the fire listings but you are able to put in Keywords to minimize your search results.  This is just the beginnings of what the wizard is capable of and I urge you to give it whirl.  You won’t be disappointed but I promise if I keep babbling on you will fall asleep.  So I say unto you in the words of the Iron Chef…”Allez Cuisine!”

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