• Better Buildings = Healthier Workplace

    Are you in line with the global initiative to build and maintain a better, safer environment?  Air Quality in the work environment – hospitals, schools, offices, commercial and residential buildings – is a big area of concern.

    toxic cementitious coating

    Clumpy, toxic cementatious coating

    The WELL Standard* states “Pollutants generated indoors can lead to a variety of symptoms and health conditions. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), combustion byproducts and airborne particulate matter are known to trigger nausea, headaches, asthma, respiratory irritation and allergies. While ambient outdoor air is often better quality, natural ventilation methods, operable doors and windows, and general building envelope infiltration can diminish indoor air quality if external air quality parameters are poor.”

    READ THE MSDS of the Products being used on your project.  When considering required fire protection, old technology such as Spray Fire Resistant Materials (SFRM) may not meet all or any of these acceptable conditions:
    1. Formaldehyde levels less than 27 ppb.
    2. Total volatile organic compounds less than 500 μg/m³.
    3. Carbon monoxide less than 9 ppm.
    4. PM₂.₅ less than 15 μg/m³.
    5. PM₁₀ less than 50 μg/m³.
    6. Ozone less than 51 ppb.
    7. 0Radon less than 0.148 Bq/L [4 pCi/L] in the lowest occupied level of the project.
    8. Carbon monoxide levels less than 35 ppm.
    9. PM₂.₅ less than 35 μg/m³.
    10. Nitrogen dioxide less than 100 ppb.
    11. Formaldehyde less than 81 ppb. (more…)
  • 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.)

    • Dubai Eye steel pods coated with Contego steel

    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.

    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.

    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.

    why you do not want to use cementitious fireproofing.

    Cementitious fireproofing tends to become dislodged and fall off.

  • Contego Fire Barrier Scores Exceptional Test Results on UL-1715

    We are excited to share perhaps the most exceptional set of test results ever announced regarding any intumescent fire barrier and its ability to protect spray polyurethane foam insulation (SPF).


    SPF is unmatched as an insulation product, as well as an excellent sound and moisture barrier.  It must be protected from fire, though, in any situation where the space is being occupied or used as storage.  There are a few ways to protect spray polyurethane foam insulation, but nothing matches Contego’s reactive intumescent fire barrier coating. Contego is thin, beautiful, completely non-toxic and easily applied.
    Until Contego, test results were limited to a maximum of 15 minutes, which qualified it as a “thermal barrier”.  (There is a lesser rating for unoccupied space called an “ignition barrier”, but there are several products that can do this, so that is of little interest to us.)
    Now all of that has changed. You can check out a live burn of spray polyurethane foam in the video below (2nd half):

    Even though a few spray foam products are marketed as being fireproof, you can see that they are not. However, with two coats of Contego’s intumescent fire barrier, SPF is protected well above and beyond code requirements. Even repeated burns can’t get to the foam when coated with Contego.
    Here’s the exciting part. Note that all metrics were flat by 6:00.00 and remained so until the end of the test. Had the test been able to run for multiple hours, it is only logical to assume it would have performed no differently than it did at 6:00.00. This is further supported by our EN-13823 test outcome, which you can view (here-part 1 and here-part 2), that also flat lined in under six minutes and stayed flat for an additional 20 minutes before the test was terminated. Is one hour now possible? How about two? Frankly, it would have been able to go all day.
    Click here to view the formal, finished report from UL describing the results of using Contego fire barrier on GACO western foam using the UL-1715 standard.
    Please see our Polyurethane Foam Fire Test page if you would like to see other Contego fire barrier tests on spray polyurethane foam insulation.