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The Next Asbestos Debacle?

Cellulosic Material is highly friableAre you concerned about the future of projects where cementitious or cellulosic fireproofing has been applied? You should be.

An interesting set of recommendations and precautions has been offered by Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York (link to download at end below). In addition to Mt. Sinai, other major medical entities worldwide are identifying the fireproofing materials that many refer to as “oatmeal” as a probable source of various pulmonary disorders.

This is because these types of fireproofing materials are highly friable. Grab a section and pull it off. It typically isn’t hard to do. Note all of the fine particulate that breaks off with the section.  When you consider how much of that “oatmeal” material gets shed into the breathable air, it’s no surprise that medical problems could ensue.

The good news is the human body is resilient. However, concerns were originally raised in a study from 1988 by the USDOC and NIST regarding SFRMs (Spray-On Fire Resistant Materials) containing asbestos and others that didn’t. It also discusses both SFRMs and insulation materials, so it should be clear that each product has to be evaluated on its own merits (or risks).

That same particulate is in the air as you can see by how much of it settles out on every surface in a structure. harmful dust can settle in the structureOnce you breathe it in, it going to be in your body forever and potentially the source for a wide range of medical problems like COPD and mesothelioma. These and other diseases can cause respiratory impairment or even fatalities.

Perhaps that’s why many materials require everyone to leave the premises except the applicator. Then the applicator has to wear the “space suit” when working with those materials. This also causes massive scheduling delays and costs. One major GC in Las Vegas who primarily does nothing but projects valued at $120M+ said delaying his project by a month costs him $10M that he can never recover. Even a two week delay is obviously a $5M ding.

Carefully think about the materials you specify and use. Ask for an MSDS or SDS and read them. If many people read the MSDS or SDS documents, a lot of these products would be history.

Use a latex based intumescent coating like Contego. It is zero VOC and offers the same or better protection as cementitious or cellulosic without the possible associated medical outcomes down the line.

(You can download the Mt. Sinai recommendations here.)

Contego Reactive Fire Barrier Protects Ain Dubai Passenger Pods

Dubai Eye steel pods coated with Contego Reactive Fire BarrierContego Reactive Fire Barrier Intumescent paint has been chosen to protect the frame structures of the 48 elegant passenger capsules incorporated into the worlds largest and tallest observation wheel the Ain Dubai (Dubai Eye in English).

The passenger “pods” were designed and built by Molinari Rail of Switzerland. The steel and aluminum structures of the 48 capsules will be prepared, primed, coated with Contego High Solids Reactive Fire Barrier (RFB) then top coated. The Contego RFB application process will be handled by S.C. Omega Solutions Center S.R.L.

The Ain Dubai will be the world’s largest giant ferris wheel. It is located on the $1.6 billion dollar Bluewaters Island development, off the coast of Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach Residence, with a projected 2018 completion date. The 48 luxury capsule “pods” of the wheel will be capable of holding 1,400 visitors at any given time and offer views of Dubai’s iconic landmarks.

Over 210 meters tall, the Ain Dubai, will eclipse the 167-meter High Roller in Las Vegas and the 190-meter (625ft) New York Wheel to be built on Staten Island. The final structure of the Ain Dubai will include around 9,000 tons of steel, almost 25 percent more than the amount of iron used to construct the iconic Eiffel Tower.

Two of the world’s largest cranes, each with a 180-meter-long boom (590 ft) and the capability to lift more than 3,000 tons are used to raise this remarkable structure. For reference, that’s a lifting capacity of close to 11 Airbus A380s. The assembled hub and spindle stretch 40 meters (130ft) across and 20 meters (65ft) high, weighing a total of 1,805 tons.

Speaking of the Ain Dubai, Omar Delawar, Chief Projects Officer at Meraas, said: “Once completed, Ain Dubai will emerge as an engineering masterpiece, the first of its kind in the industry.”

Abdulla Al Habbai, group chairman at Meraas, said: “Ain Dubai reflects our ambition of creating new destinations that contribute to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, vision of a city where people are encouraged to create, explore and enjoy.”

Exciting News: This is a Truly Revolutionary Intumescent Deck Assembly

Contego’s New D603 Floor Ceiling Assembly from UL Finally Puts An End to The Cementitious Nightmare for Fireproofing Decks

Ugly cementitious fireproofing would be better with intumescent deck assembly

Gone are the days of horrifically ugly sprayed on “oatmeal” that delaminates.

Contego has been famous for cutting-edge super thin film intumescent technology – and now has a UL intumescent deck assembly for corrugate pan decking that exceeds two hours! Contego is thin, light, smooth, green and affordable as well.

As Mel Martin, in charge of Contego’s Canadian Business Development, says “It’s not a question of if it [cementitious fireproofing] will fall off, but when.”

Contego’s adhesion of 631 PSI, according to our ASTM D4541 test, is twice that of our one closest competitor and between ten and fifteen times better than most of the rest.

Structural steel is protected with Contego’s thin film intumescent coating. You can see below the pervasive damage that spray-on fireproofing typically inflicts on steel.

spray on cementitious fireproofing pervasive damage

Here’s a shot of the two types of fireproofing side by side on steel beams (cementitious behind and thin film in front).

thin film intumescent by cementitous

Of course, beams and columns also benefit from a thin film intumescent, but more on that in another post.

For now, would you prefer this:

Steel rotting under cementitious

All of that brown discoloration is the steel rotting away under the cementitious product.

Or would you prefer this:

Contego fire resistant paint goes on smooth

Historically, there were no options beyond cementitious. SFRM (Spray-Applied Fire Resistive Material) was the only way to get a rating on deck systems. No more. In the past, the only other reason to continue using SFRMs was because they were perceived as being cheap. Now people are finding severe damage to their structures where SFRMs have been applied. Some damage so bad that the building can’t be spared and people are realizing a lower initial cost is a terrible bargain just a few short years down the road.

why you do not want to use cementitious fireproofing.

Cementitious fireproofing tends to become dislodged and fall off.

With the medical community also warning against the use of SFRMs, the potential legal liabilities make SFRMs the last thing you should use.

Now all of that has changed. For those who like UL, our new D603 intumescent deck assembly clears the way to an astonishingly thin and smooth coating that can be top coated to unleash a world of creative options.

Just as important, after reviewing the raw data, the Contego intumescent deck assembly was nowhere near failure at 2 hours, so the real rating is well beyond that mark. In the near future, we will run the same test extended to three or four hours as well as a very thin coat that is consistent with our ASTM-E119, UL-263,ULc-S101 test done at Intertek in 2009.

Most of Contego’s data on steel can be viewed here on our Steel Fire Test page.

Additional UL data can be viewed on UL’s website here.