A new ASTM standard could be used to assess the credentials and qualifications of inspectors who routinely employ ASTM firestop standards in their work.
ASTM WK40836, Practice for Credentials for Inspectors of Through-penetration Firestop Systems, Fire-resistive Joint Systems, and Perimeter Fire Barriers, would provide the information necessary to qualify inspectors who work with ASTM E2174, Practice for Onsite Inspection of Installed Firestops, and ASTM E2393, Practice for Onsite Inspection of Installed Fire-resistive Joint Systems and Perimeter Fire Barriers.
Both those standards were adopted into the 2012 International Building Code (IBC) for buildings 23 m (75 ft) or taller, with Category 3−4 occupancies. The IBC adoption means more jurisdictions from the local to federal level will need individuals qualified to do firestop inspections.
According to ASTM member Patrick Tesche (managing director of Global Fire Protection Group and the International Firestop Council [IFC] Inspector Committee chair), ASTM WK40836 would be used to test the knowledge of inspectors who wish to become qualified to conduct firestop inspections. The proposed standard will be directed toward building owners, developers, and design professionals as well as government agencies.
“The standard we are developing will help the authority having jurisdiction [AHJ] gauge the qualifications of a third-party firestop inspector,” says Tesche. “The components included are education, experience, and knowledge of installed firestop systems, as well as understanding conflict of interest and other acceptance criteria.”
The proposed standard is being developed by Subcommittee E06.21 on Serviceability, part of ASTM International Committee E06 on Performance of Buildings. Tesche invites all parties with expertise in passive fire protection to participate. He says the committee would particularly like to see increased participation from independent consulting and firestop inspection firms.
The Construction Specifier reached out to Bill McHugh, CSI, the executive director of the Firestop Contractors International Association (FCIA), for his comments.
“FCIA was the code proponent for the addition of the ASTM E2174 and ASTM E2393 standards for the inspection of installed penetration and joint firestops into Chapter 17 (“Special Inspections”) of the International Building Code (IBC),” he said. “IBC’s Chapter 17 requires both the special inspection agency (company) and the individual special inspector (employee) that performs special inspections demonstrate knowledge, education, and expertise in firestopping to the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ). The (IAS) Accreditation Criteria (AC) 291 for Special Inspection Agencies has a section on firestopping already for the company to demonstrate capabilities for the AHJ to accept the company as an approved agency.”
“This new ASTM Work Item, when it becomes a standard, may be a good addition to the already existing FM and UL firestop exams to provide AHJs with an easier way to approve the individual inspectors,” McHugh continued. “Don’t forget, though, it’s a package—both the special inspection agency and the individual inspector need to be approved by the AHJ. This new ASTM program only approves the individual inspectors.”