BIM and fire protection engineering

04/22/2013


BIM and passive protection 

BIM technology is most often associated with active fire protection and life safety systems like fire alarm, fire suppression, and smoke control, as mentioned above. However, BIM technology is gaining increasing ground in passive fire protection features like doors, walls, dampers, and penetration sealants. 

Figure 3: Companies like INVIEW Labs are further developing programs to manage and organize BIM models. This screenshot of “Unifi” assists users in managing BIM information into a customizable desktop environment. Courtesy: INVIEW Labs

Fire-resistance rated walls are a common issue throughout a building’s lifetime. If the type of fire-resistance rated walls is not identified properly on drawings, there is often confusion about ratings for doors, penetrations, and other opening protective. The International Building Code (IBC) has begun to require that these walls be marked in the field to address this issue. The IBC also has different classifications for fire-resistance rated walls depending on the level of protection. For example, a 1-hour exit passageway requires a 60-minute door, whereas a 1-hour corridor wall requires a 20-minute door. The exit passageway strictly limits penetrations by ducts or pipes, but the corridor walls have fewer restrictions. On drawings and 2-D plans, these 1-hour walls are often indistinguishable, except to trained professionals. An exit passageway on a 2-D drawing is often confused for a corridor, having significant impacts in the field.

BIM models allow these walls to be differentiated within the model and can be set up to limit and/or restrict penetrations and openings. Each wall can be defined by the appropriate fire-resistance rating and also establish what types of doors, opening protection, and penetration firestop systems are permitted. Using software routines similar to clash detection software, designers can establish if piping or ductwork has penetrated a wall, such as an exit enclosure, that would be prohibited by the IBC. Alternatively, if penetrations by duct or pipe are permitted, the wall definitions establish what type of damper (fire, smoke, or combination fire/smoke damper) and what the F- and T-ratings for the piping penetrations require, if any. In the larger scheme, it could even reference listed opening protection for the given penetration. 

Again, during commissioning of the building, designers or commissioning agents can use tablets or hand-held devices that access the cloud-based model as they walk the building. If there are questions concerning penetrations observed on-site, the user can select the specific wall and determine what type of wall it is, what the fire-resistance rating is, and how to properly protect penetrations and openings. 

As the building ages, engineers and maintenance personnel can continually monitor passive fire protection elements to confirm that openings and penetrations of walls, floors, and ceilings are compliant with the original design. If modifications or improvements are made to the building, future designers and engineers understand how the wall was classified and why it was protected, and can then identify how to design future elements with or around the wall. 



No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Learn how to create value with re-use; gain productivity with lean automation and connectivity, and optimize panel design and construction.
Go deep: Automation tackles offshore oil challenges; Ethernet advice; Wireless robotics; Product exclusives; Digital edition exclusives
Lost in the gray scale? How to get effective HMIs; Best practices: Integrate old and new wireless systems; Smart software, networks; Service provider certifications
Fixing PID: Part 2: Tweaking controller strategy; Machine safety networks; Salary survey and career advice; Smart I/O architecture; Product exclusives
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Look at the basics of industrial wireless technologies, wireless concepts, wireless standards, and wireless best practices with Daniel E. Capano of Diversified Technical Services Inc.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.