Opinions may differ in some cases about what makes for an excellent steel building, but one thing that everyone agrees upon is that a good property should be as fireproof as possible. Fireproofing your Georgia commercial and agricultural properties does not have to be hard, you just need to be strategic.
According to the US Fire Administration, incidents involving Georgia structures accounted for 72.4% of Georgia fire casualties—and 85% of injuries. Enhancing your Georgia steel building with strategic fire-resistant safeguards can go a long way towards reducing avoidable death outcomes. However, you do need to be logical about the choices you make. Fireproofing can get expensive, and you don’t want to throw your construction project off-scope. There are also some fireproofing strategies that work better than others or require specific conditions.
Here’s what you need to know.
Protecting Your Steel Property from Fire Incidents
Consider these options to increase the safety and fire-resistance rating of your new steel construction:
Install steel buildings made of non-combustible materials.
Combustible materials such as wood, plastic, and wood-plastic composites catch fire more easily than others. Avoiding those materials and selecting more fire-resistant structural pieces, instead, can save you a lot of trouble in the long run.
Select an intumescent coating to give your building an added layer of protection.
An intumescent coating is a paint-like, epoxy-based mixture that you can apply to your building’s primed steel surface. These types of coatings expand when heated to form an insulated blanket. While these types of coatings can work very well, they are also often more expensive than less sophisticated protective mechanisms. Exterior intumescent coatings are a great idea for external steel structures or in tight-space areas like elevator shafts.
Use gypsum or other mineral substances to increase the fire resistance of your building.
Gypsum is a material that, when used in plaster form, can provide a lot of fire protection for a steel commercial or agricultural property. Builders can combine gypsum with other lightweight minerals (perlite, vermiculite) that will increase the efficacy of the protective system. Contractors can also install gypsum wallboard, which can be a better idea for cold-formed steel framing.
Include strategic, safe design elements such as suspended ceiling systems.
If your project vision allows for it, using suspended ceiling systems can protect your floors and other structural elements of your building. You should also ensure that your building incorporates other best-practice design elements, such as doors that open in the direction of expected travel. Hallways and doorways should be big enough to accommodate multiple people in the event of an evacuation. Your steel building should also have properly working sprinklers and fire-extinguishing systems. Design short, manageable escape routes in multiple locations of your building, as well. Making sure that you follow all applicable Georgia building codes will aid you in this mission.
Wrap your building in a protective, high-temperature wool or mineral blanket.
It may not be intuitive to add more layers in the case of a heat emergency or a fire, but these lower-tech options can provide protection for your steel building. You can encase these types of blankets in wire mesh, and use them in less-seen (or, conversely, more heavily-trafficked) parts of your steel building for added fire security and durability.
Remember that you’ve already made a great choice in selecting steel construction. The American Institute of Steel Construction has noted that “structural steel buildings perform well when exposed to fire”—and any extra fireproofing strategies that you’re able to employ will aid that performance.
However, there’s no such thing as too prepared when it comes to fire safety. If you need assistance making sure your building is as protected as possible, our experts will be glad to help.
Need Help Making Sure Your Building is Up to Code? Reach Out to Our Georgia Steel Contractors
The safety of your steel building is one of the most important considerations you can have when you’re making decisions about your project. However, navigating fire codes, the properties of your building materials, and the efficacy of specific fireproofing strategies can be overwhelming.
That’s where we come in. At Peak Steel Contractors, we’re ready to help you design your structure with safety goals in mind. We can also handle construction and more! Check out our past projects and contact us for more information.