Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Intumescent Paint for Fire Protection

Q: What is Intumescent Paint? How do I know if it can be used for my NYC Construction Project?

A: Intumescent means "swelling and charring when exposed to flame". When exposed to fire, the coating will rapidly react, becoming a compact foam, dense carbon char, or similar, to stop fire migration.

Intumescent Paint is a paint coating applied to Structural Members in order to afford them a Fire Resistance Rating. It is ususally employed as a remedial measure to enable exposed (unprotected) structural memebers to achieve a required fire resistance rating.

For instance, exposed wood joists and subflooring might be treated with intumescent paint (rather than installing a fire rated gypsum board ceiling assembly to encapsulate them) to achieve a vertical fire separation rating.

Intumescent Paint products must have an MEA (Materials and Equipment Acceptance) Number to qualify as an approved means of rating structural members. The paint must be applied and utilized in a manner consistent with the MEA Approval.

MEA Numbers for Intumescent Paint may be verified by lookup on the Department of Building Website. Check the MEA Index, and search under the "Fire Protection" heading to find approved Intumescent Paints and their respective MEA Numbers and MEA Approval documents.

The MEA Number must be listed on the DOB Drawings and Construction Documents when filing for approval and permit.

Here is a sample MEA-Approval for an Intumescent Paint product.
Photo above of an Intumescent Paint Application from Albi Manufacturing