No Shortcuts to Safety
Why Canadian SPF contractors should use thermal barrier products that are tested under the industry standard.
If there is an exact factor that distinguishes Canada’s SPF industry, that factor is safety codes. The National Building Code of Canada (NBC), published by NRC and developed by the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes, delineates specific stringent codes to ensure that safety is guaranteed on every SPF job nationwide. However, companies like Flame Seal Products specializing in intumescent coatings for SPF fire protection, have noticed that there is a great deal of confusion in the industry regarding a specific safety code. The safety code in question is CAN/ULC-S124-06, which, according to Flame Seal certifies a thermal barrier product to be installed over SPF and was established by the Canadian government to protect life and property. Flame Seal claims that the code isn’t optional and never has been – so Spray Foam Magazine sat down with Flame Seal’s Dylan Nowak in hopes of obtaining their opinion on this issue.
Spray Foam Magazine: Why would you say safety codes are more stringent in Canada?
Dylan Nowak: The National Building Code governs Canada. Additionally, many provinces have their own Building Codes but for the most part, these are built upon the National Code. Safety and fire standards are of particular interest and there is a great deal of research and consultation with all levels of government and the private sector.
SFM: In the Canadian market, which safety codes are necessary and who is the governing body that sets them?
DN: The National Building Code is administered by Codes Canada, a division of the National Research Council. Codes Canada works with local building officials, and Industry experts to update the National Building Code. Codes Canada also works with groups like Underwriters Laboratory to establish testing methods for the evaluation of products. The goal is to protect Canadians and challenge the industry. The National Building Code and Codes Canada provide clear standards for building officials and construction companies. For several years CAN/ULC-S124-06 has been that standard when it comes to testing over spray polyurethane foam. New testing has recently surfaced with testing criteria that we feel is less rigorous than the CAN/ULC-S124-06. Canadians should focus on using approved products, which have been protecting Canadians for years.
SFM: How would a company ensure they are in compliance with the current safety codes?
DN: Currently, we feel there is a great deal of confusion and there is emerging concern about the liability implications of applying products that do not meet the National Building Code. The implications of applying products that fail to meet the National Building Code can be immense.
SFM: How does Flame Seal Products take ownership when it comes to complying with codes? How do you go above and beyond to make sure your product meets these codes?
DN: Before entering the Canadian market, extensive research and development was conducted to meet the strong Canadian Standards in the CAN/ULC-124-06. In effect, Flame Seal Products passed the CAN/UL standards. We work closely with both our application partners and building officials to maintain these standards through training and best practices. We are very serious about fire safety and believe in quality products and best practice application.
SFM: Tell us about Intumescent Coatings and why they are a good product for the spray foam industry?
DN: Intumescent Coatings, which meet the National Building Code standards, are a major breakthrough for the spray foam industry. Intumescent coatings are easy to apply with equipment requiring only a small investment. The intumescent finish is bright white (standard color) and is impact-resistant. The light-reflective qualities of the coating make it a perfect fit for ceiling and parkades.
SFM: Where do you feel Flame Seal Products can contribute the most in terms of products being tested under industry standards?
DN: Fire safety is a very serious business. There is no place for cutting corners when people’s lives are at stake. The CAN/ULC-124-06 standard is very important because it is a definitive measurement of how well the thermal barrier protects the foam in real fire conditions. As we all know, the real risk in a fire is from the smoke and gasses released when things burn. Flame Seal is committed to surpassing the highest safety standards through research, development, and testing with labs like Underwriters.
SFM: What does the future hold for the Canadian coating and spray foam industry in terms of fire safety?
DN: In general, we can expect that fire safety standards will continue to be strengthened. The insulation industry in Canada is moving quickly towards spray foam insulation because of its superior performance to other products in the market. To ensure that this growth continues it is imperative that architects, building officials, contractors, and homeowners have the confidence in safety of spray foam and the thermal barriers that protect it. Flame Seal is committed to meeting the National Building Code. We simply innovate and offer the finest intumescent coatings available in the world.
CONTACT FLAME SEAL PRODUCTS
Direct any questions about this article to Flame Seal Products Inc.:
Website: www.flameseal.com •
Photos courtesy of Flame Seal Products