Fireproofing is a coating applied to steel structures to protect them from fire. The coating is designed to insulate the steel from heat, since heat weakens the steel and reduces the steel’s load-bearing abilities. Keep in mind, shop applied fireproofing is a specific type of fireproofing.
There are many types of fireproofing. Cementitious and intumescent are common coating options. These should not be confused with “fire-stopping” materials.
Intumescent fireproofing is fireproofing that swells and chars when exposed to flames. The purpose of these coatings is to allow architecturally exposed steel to be coated with a thin film product.
These coatings are generally smooth, can be top coated and allow for the steel structure to be exposed and not hidden behind gypsum board or other coverings.
Absolutely. While many of the current fireproofing products are applied in the field and after erection, there are shop applied options.
Shop applied fireproofing options will be available under the “Intumescent” portion of the fireproofing specification. Not all intumescent fireproofing coatings are created equal and not all can survive the erection process. It is important to rely on the manufacturer of the coating for verification the fireproofing is a shop applied grade.
Shop applied fireproofing applications are done in a more controlled environment. This can result in a better product. It also arrives to the jobsite coated and ready for erection. This can help shorten the critical path by not shutting down other trades during field applied fireproofing.
Dependent on your field labor costs, shop applied fireproofing might be a more economical choice. Field labor rates are typically higher than shop labor rates. While intumescent coatings themselves cost more, the labor savings can offset that.
You should always rely on the manufacturer of the fireproofing, not the applicator, to decide if a product is suited. Only they can state their product meets the requirements of the specification.
Most manufacturers take on the responsibility of calculating intumescent thickness requirements based on the projects shapes and hourly rating needs.