Current Design Requirements and Considerations for Fire Safety of Effectively Sealed Expansion Joints in Buildings and Other Structure

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Title: Current Design Requirements and Considerations for Fire Safety of Effectively Sealed Expansion Joints in Buildings and Other Structure

Author(s): W. Berchou

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 94

Issue:

Appears on pages(s): 775-788

Keywords: buildings; control joints; fire resistance; joint sealers; performance; safety; structural design; weatherproofing; Design

Date: 7/1/1987

Abstract:
The importance of effectively sealed expansion joints in all types of structures has been recognized for a long time. Bridges, buildings, dams, water/sewage treatment facilities, etc., require weatherproofing expansion joints. This task has become even more difficult, particularly in buildings, with the incorporation of seismic considerations and the increased awareness of "life safety" with regard to pyrogenics. In the event of fire, the expansion joints are primary candidates for the rapid spread of fire and toxic/noxious fumes. Protection is of particular importance in hospital/medical facilities and high-rise structures. The need not only to confine the fire to the point of origin, but to inhibit the spread of fumes, is most crucial. It is estimated that 80 to 90 percent of fire victims succumb to inhalation of smoke/noxious/toxic gases well before the flames reach them. In those cases where the heat and flames reach the victims, the first signs of incapacitation result from toxic fumes. The major North American manufacturers of expansion joint sealing systems are developing composite fire resistive/weatherproof expansion joint sealing systems incorporating a noxious fume barrier that will resist the impact of the "hose stream" from fire-fighting equipment.