Owners Beware: Building Modifications Can Void a Component’s Fire Rating

Property owners often want to make changes to improve a building’s functionality or overall appearance. Even though these changes are done with good intentions, they should know that some modifications can weaken the fire-resistant features of building components.

Breaching a fire-rated ceiling to install fire alarm cables and replacing it with non-fire-rated suspended ceiling tiles can void the component’s fire rating. This creates insufficient compartments and enables the spread of smoke and fire through the roof space.

Another modification that can void a component’s fire rating is removing or altering fire-rated walls. Any penetrations created in fire-rated walls or ceilings without proper repair and ceiling can affect the overall fire safety of a building.

Door and window replacements with non-rated alternatives can also significantly reduce the effectiveness of a building’s fire safety system. Any modifications to the door frame, hardware, and threshold may affect its function as barriers preventing fire from spreading to other areas.

Property owners and managers must consider fire safety when planning any building alterations. They can seek the assistance of a building inspection engineer NJ to pinpoint the location of different fire-rated assemblies. A commercial building engineer NJ may also be consulted to prioritize fire safety when making any modifications that involve penetrations.

Owners can leverage a professional engineer’s knowledge when planning any modifications so that they do not adversely affect the fire rating of building components. An expert’s involvement in planning modifications can help in maintaining the fire safety and integrity of a building, which protects occupants and the property in case of a fire.

Engineers can suggest alternative designs or solutions to help maintain a building’s structural integrity and fire resistance. This might involve reinforcing the building’s existing components and specifying materials that meet the required fire ratings.

Learn more about how building modifications can void a component’s fire rating with this infographic by Lockatong Engineering.