Occupant safety is a high priority for many building designers and is often heavily regulated on the state and local level. Buildings of all types must meet strict fire codes, and particularly structures that are used for these applications, underground parking garages, multi-tenant residential living, hotels, hospitals, and schools. Hollowcore Roof & Floor Systems manufactured by County Materials offer an economical and versatile solution for buildings that specify fire-resistant construction materials.
Hollowcore plank is tested and rated to meet International Building Codes and Underwriters Laboratory (UL) fire resistance requirements. Hollowcore maintains excellent fire resistance with ratings up to three hours. According to the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute, the fire rating is dependent on equivalent plank thickness for heat transmission, cover over the prestressing strand for strength in a high temperature condition, and the end restraint.
There is a difference between fire rating and fire separation; hollowcore offers advantages for achieving both. A fire rating typically means the duration for which a passive fire protection system can withstand a standard fire resistance test. Fire separation is a floor or wall having a fire rating required by appropriate authorities that acts as a barrier against the spread of fire within a building. Both fire ratings and fire separations should be considered in preliminary designs phases of any building construction project because they greatly impact insurance costs and potential loss of life and property in an actual fire.
Manufactured with high-strength, steel-reinforced concrete, hollowcore is engineered to withstand severe temperatures from fire, and does not burn or give off toxic fumes. Conversely, wood and steel generally perform poorly in fires. Both must be treated, coated, or covered to meet fire requirements, which increases construction costs. Hollowcore provides noncombustible construction that can help contain a fire within minimal boundaries. As a separation barrier, hollowcore helps to prevent a fire from spreading throughout a building. In addition, hollowcore delivers sound dampening capabilities, and low life-cycle costs. This is why industry professionals specify hollowcore plank as an effective fire barrier in large applications.
Hollowcore not only offers high fire ratings but is an ideal choice because of its cost effectiveness and structural strength. Architect for the Lyndale Commons Apartments, Pete Keely of Collage Architects explained that “hollowcore is the most efficient and cost affordable way to provide large spans and appropriate fire ratings.” Also, John Leeke, AIA, architect with Miller Dunwiddle Architecture cited hollowcore’s economic advantages, inherent fire resistance and high strength as reasons why it is specified by him and other industry professionals.
Contact County Materials today to speak with our design team for your next project. Our production facility for Hollowcore Roof & Floor Systems is in Roberts, WI and serves the upper Midwest. Our team can be reached by calling (800) 426-1126.