General Contracting

fire safe building

How metal construction provides added value when building a fire-resistance structure.


A fire-resistance building can save lives. Constructing a metal building can further help reduce structure flammability and can provide up to a four-hour rating on walls. However, this doesn’t make a building fireproof. High temperatures can still damage metal, especially when it’s unprotected.

Richard Rinka at the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) was recently featured in Metal Construction News stated,  “In terms of fire resistance, remember redundancy provides safer construction. Additionally, automatic warning and detection systems are a critical factor in limiting fire spread, and loss of life and property. They should always be a part of any fire-protection plan.”

There are several mistakes that can happen when constructing a fire-resistance building that can be mitigated when using a design/build firm:

  1. Not selecting the proper firestop system for the application.
  2. Not following the requirements of a listed and tested system.
  3. Poor job-site conditions that do not meet the stated range of a tested system
  4. Adhesion issues due to improper cleaning substrate
  5. Incorrect annular space
  6. Not meeting minimum depth of fill material
  7. Improper backing materials
  8. Improper use/installation of mineral wool

Mitigating Risks

One, of many, advantages of utilizing a design/build construction firm is having an experienced team in place from the very beginning who understands the various codes and regulations when it comes to fire resistance and fire suppression. A design/build team works with the client/building owner from the start to determine building use, occupancy type, number of employees, etc and then formulates a comprehensive plan for building design and construction that will best suit the building type, use, location, budget, etc.

However, the team approach should not end after the pre-design (or pre-construction) and design phases. It should continue through the material buy-out, construction, and final completion and occupancy. Which fire resistant material or coating is the most practical? What site conditions allow for which fireproofing method? Which supplier will provide undamaged materials? What has worked in the past with success? All of these answers come from years of experience and expertise by both office and field personnel.

At Galbraith Pre-Design, Inc., we use generations of knowledge and experience to continue to solve the ever-growing number of regulations and life safety codes.