Engineered beams and wood has allowed contractors to throw up building structures quickly and inexpensively. The downside is that in a fire, the thin wood and laminate beams burn much quicker than solid wood. These construction pieces are lightweight, which cause them to burn all the way through and collapse almost instantaneously. Not to mention, modern furniture and coverings, which are made out of synthetic materials don't help either. The synthetic material ignites quicker and gives off toxic gasses that are dangerous. This is just some of the many reasons why it is so critical for new construction to have proper fire protection systems in place, especially those above ceiling.
Often, work performed above ceiling is left looking less than adequate. This may not seem like something to be concerned about, especially since it is hidden out of view. However, above ceiling issues can be full of fire hazards. There are numerous things that could be going on up there and here are a few of the top issues:
One of the top reasons for a fire starting and the wires above your ceiling are no exception. In fact, wires wrapped around sprinkler lines and hangers can be a potential fire hazard, and should be removed using zip-ties to connect. However where wires are joined together heat is created, and if too much heat is built up it can cause sparks, which can create a fire. Therefore preventing fire and smoke from spreading by containing it to its original origin will help keep everyone inside safe.
Missing Junction Box Covers
The first line of defense against the spread of fire above ceiling is the junction box covers. If the junction box covers are missing, fires started can continue to grow and spread. Another way to prevent the spread of fire and smoke is making sure that your facility’s fire walls, ceilings, and floors are properly firestopped.
Gaps and holes from penetrations allow easy access for fire and smoke to spread quickly throughout the building. Firestopping above the ceiling will help contain both fire and smoke by preventing it from spreading throughout the building giving everyone inside plenty of time to evacuate to safety.
Today’s buildings are being built with construction materials that are lighter and cheaper, which in normal situations can be good. However, in a fire, modern construction materials are much more hazardous. This is why it is so important and required by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) to have above ceiling inspections. Not only can above ceiling inspections help prevent the spread of fire and smoke, but they can help lower the amount of potential fires started. Above ceiling issues are “out of sight, out of mind”, but should not be left alone. Cleaning up any issues that may be waiting above your ceiling can help ensure that your facility and its occupants will be safe.