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Fireproof with wooden beams?

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Fireproof with wooden beams?

Postby Brasky » Tue Oct 02, 2012 1:31 am

There used to be a "fireproof" designation for buildings. I live in one of these fireproof buildings, and I noticed a wooden beam inside a wall, going through a hole in the concrete near the ceiling. I assume there's a horizontal beam between floors that this wooden beam is holding up. Anyone know if that was allowed in a fireproof building? I have another photo of the building when it was being built and all I could see is steel, but there's apparently some wood too. Is/was this allowed?

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Postby TenantNet » Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:11 am

To start, I can't figure out what this is a photo of?

As for fireproof designations, well, I'm not an expert on the subject, but you might try your nearest fire station. They might know.

I will tell you that anything will burn, melt or vaporize given enough time and heat. That includes concrete and steel. I suspect that "fireproof" means the supporting materials will hold up for a period of time. The designation might refer to concrete or brick construction, or that there are satisfactory firewalls between units. Or it might refer to sufficient "fireproofing" applied to the building material. That used to be asbestos, now it's other materials. If you dig into some building, you will see what appears to foam sprayed on steel beams.

Here's a link that could be start for further research:

Just a few years ago there were many articles on why the fireproofing didn't work at the World Trade Center.

I suspect it's also a designation used for insurance company purposes.
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Postby Brasky » Tue Oct 02, 2012 11:32 am

I heard that there's no longer a "fireproof" designation, so I was surprised to see that "fireproof building" section. I thought it was a reprint of some old law and it was undated so I ignored it. But just now I looked it up in the current NY State Consolidated Laws and it's there.

Wood isn't listed as being allowed for floors, walls or roofs, but "The board shall determine and specify in its rules such other materials." The only reference to wood that I found says it's allowed for partitions "in spaces used solely for office or show-room purposes."

I found what "board" means:

"'Board,' as determined by the context, shall mean either the workmen's compensation board or the industrial board of appeals of the state of New York."

Then I looked up the industrial board of appeals:

"The IBA was created by the Legislature in 1975 as an independent review agency with the primary duty of reviewing the validity and reasonableness of certain rules, regulations or orders issued by the Commissioner of Labor."

It seems like building safety is regulated by a labor agency. Anyway, I don't see how wood is allowed.

The photograph is a 1" hole in the wall and it shows the wooden beam. There's a steel strap around it.
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