How to Ensure Easy and Precise Fireproofing of Steel Structures

The structural elements of a building need to be designed to withstand the effects of fires, to minimise the likelihood of structural collapse.

Passive fire protection (PFP) is an integral component of structural fire protection and fire safety in a building. Passive Fire Proofing allows additional time for staff to get away, and avoid a worst case scenario.

These fireproofing measures must meet the requirements of AS1530.4 “Methods for Fire Tests on Building Materials, Components and Structures” – and the determined Fire Resistance Level (FRL).

FRL - designated in minutes –measures three performance criteria for fire resistance: structural adequacy, integrity, and insulation. For example a structure with an FRL on 120/120/120 will mean it satisfies the standard to a minimum of 2 hours for all three criteria.

Steel structure fire proofing

For steel structures, which are highly susceptible to failure under excessive heat, fireproofing is required through the application of fireproofing covering materials to thermally protect steel from the heat of the fire.

While there have been significant technological advancements in fireproofing materials for steel, the misconception still exists that the process of fireproofing steel is both laborious and financially unviable compared to conventional reinforced concrete buildings.

In reality, these advancements have meant steel structure fireproofing can be achieved relatively quickly and easily.

Of all the fireproofing solutions for steel structures, intumescent fireproof coatings are the most recent technology, and provide the most flexibility for design.

Intumescent coatings can be applied at a relatively low thickness then swell and expand to many times their original volume when heat is applied to them, forming a thick insulating char around the steel members.

Intumescent coating application

As intumescent coatings have a much higher viscosity than conventional paints, specialist machines are required for application.

The Graco range of XM PFP plural-component has been designed to handle intumescent fireproofing coatings, and provide easy, consistent and precise application.

XM PFP Plural-Component sprayers offers data reporting technology, so you can confirm that epoxy intumescent coatings are sprayed on-ratio, at requirements set by the manufacturer. The sprayers help to maintain consistent temperature control and offers precise ratio control.

XM PFP Plural-Component sprayers  have been used successfully on buildings around the world to apply Chartek ® - the market leading epoxy intumescent passive fire protection coating – ensuring exceptional fire resistance in a range of fire scenarios.