Build Fire Resistant Buildings with Precast Concrete

Building codes require constructing buildings to be fire resistant. The necessary degree of fire resistance varies with the type of construction, its size, location and in some cases, the presence of ancillary fire detection and extinguishing systems already available or planned to be made available in the structure.

For a building to successfully obtain planning permission or insurance protection, it’s imperative that it conforms to the area’s local building codes as laid out in context of fire endurance and resistance.

In the United States, the fire resistance rating of buildings is defined and determined on the basis of IBC 2012 in almost all jurisdictions. Each component of the building is gauged against the criteria defined in IBC 2012, through a fire test. In this fire test the performance of the structural component is evaluated by testing the values of the following end points:

  • Heat transmission end point is the point at which the unexposed surfaces of the component experience a temperature increase of up to 122°C.
  • Flame passage end point is the point at which the formation of holes, fissures and cracks start appearing in the component.
  • Structural end point is the point of collapse of the specimen.

During the test, each structural component of the building must yield the defined standard value for each end-point. Only when the component conforms to the defined fire resistance rating for that component, only then it can be incorporated into a building.

Besides making sure that the structural components conform to the fire resistance ratings, IBC 2012 also lays down certain recommendations that must be included as part of the building’s design. These recommendations include, but are not limited to:

  • The building should be able to contain heat.
  • The building should be able to contain smoke.
  • The building should be able to contain toxic gases.
  • The building should be able to prevent fire from spreading.
  • The building should be divided into non-combustible compartments to help achieve all the above requirements.

In consideration of all these intense and thorough requirements, constructing a fire-resistant building naturally appears to be a tough and challenging task to builders and contractors.

However, using precast concrete systems is one way through which builders and contractors can easily build fire resistant buildings and overcome many of the challenges associated with the construction.

Precast concrete components are inherently non-combustible. This automatically makes them a prime candidate for fire resistant constructions.

  • They won’t allow fire to spread.
  • They will contain high heat.
  • They can be used in the construction of non-combustible compartments.

Furthermore, precast concrete members can also be designed and customized to meet any degree of fire resistance. This enables builders to pursue passive fire-resistant designs conveniently for any building type—big or small.

Combine these features of precast concrete members with other safety measures, such as fire detection systems and sprinklers, and you get the best combination of functionality and economics.

Some examples of precast concrete structural components that can be used in creating fire resistant buildings include:

  • Architectural wall panels
  • Precast columns and beams
  • Precast double tees
  • Hollow core slabs and planks

Precast concrete systems provide an effective building design for minimizing fire damage and containing the effects of such damages for the longest possible time. They’re an economical and effective way to build fire resistant buildings.

About Mohan’s Precast USA Inc.

Mohan’s Precast USA Inc. specializes in manufacture and supply of structural and architectural precast concrete components. From precast concrete slabs to cast stone planters to precast structures – customers can find a variety of precast concrete solutions for their precast construction needs. For more details call 718 7399199 or email at [email protected].

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