Architects specifying the latest technologies to protect steelwork in their buildings have the advantage of achieving creative and compliant projects.

FIRETEX FX6000 series, the second generation of intumescent fire protection coatings from Sherwin-Williams Protective & Marine represents a major breakthrough for modern buildings in the design and construction industry.

New materials being developed for structural steel in complex modern buildings increasingly deliver the benefits of safety, availability, sustainability, lightness of weight and relative cost. Steel is often used to create striking structures, and also left exposed in parts to add to the aesthetic of the modern building. In such projects, the architect needs the assurance that the steelwork can be protected safely in the event of a fire.

The FIRETEX FX6000 series enables architects to break free from some of the constraints of yesterday’s products, and reduces the need for repairs on site thanks to their exceptional durability.

Part of the FX6000 range, the patented FIRETEX FX6002 technology employs an innovative chemically cured binder system to produce a tough and durable intumescent coating, which dries in about an hour, unlike conventional products that take longer.

Enhanced stability for steel structures

The quick-dry properties of the FIRETEX FX6002 coating is unparalleled, resulting in faster overall project completion and reduced costs while providing up to 120 minutes of fire protection, long-term corrosion protection of the steelwork and enhanced stability for steel structures in the event of a real fire.

With its low VOC content as compared to some of today's water-based intumescent coatings, FIRETEX FX6002 also adds to the building’s environmental credentials.

Rigorously fire tested under the requirements of Australian Standards AS4100-1998, as well as European fire testing standard EN13381-8 & 9, and British standard BS 476-20 & 21 for structural steelwork and cellular beams, the technology is also independently certified under the Certifire scheme. In durability testing under EN16623, the FIRETEX FX6002 meets the requirements for internal, semi-exposed and exposed locations, up to and including Type X classification.

Architects can also leverage the independently accredited FIRETEX Design Estimator (FDE) software by Sherwin- Williams to fully incorporate FIRETEX FX6002 into a project’s design model and Building Information Modelling (BIM) operations, dramatically enhancing workflow efficiency. For example, a 15-storey model full of varying-span cellular beams takes less than four hours to complete – a vast reduction in time compared to previous averages.

Having recognised the need for a technology that would enable an accurate and risk-free design process to allow the dry film thicknesses (DFTs) of their intumescent coatings to be seamlessly incorporated into the project’s 3D model, Sherwin-Williams experts have further developed the software through a partnership with a world-leading software technology company, creating a secure plug-in linked to their software that can handle virtually any dry film thickness complexity.

Peace of mind and safety

The software plug-in has the added benefit of colour filtering to allow 3D analysis of the coating properties and enables accurate calculations for new developments as modern building design becomes increasingly complex, offering architects confidence, efficiency and peace of mind with safety built into the process.

Designed for use across multiple steelwork, construction and maintenance sectors, these technologies are an ideal solution for intumescent passive fire protection of complex modern steel structures worldwide, including offices, retail, residential, warehousing, airports and healthcare developments.

The FIRETEX range of fire protection coatings has been utilised on landmark construction and engineering developments such as London’s The Shard, The Brunel Building and the Leadenhall Building, and Azerbaijan’s Flame Towers. Additionally, Sherwin-Williams supplied FIRETEX FX6002 locally to the Sydney Modern Art Gallery project and Jubilee Place in Brisbane, delivering benefits in offsite application program efficiency, superior aesthetics and significant cost savings.

London’s impressive 16-storey Brunel Building - Images by Jack Hobhouse