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This article appeared in FR Strategist, Winter 2011.
For a printable pdf of this article, please click here.
For decades the value of FRP in architectural applications has been largely unrealized due to the lack of uniform building code recognition. Section 2612 of the 2009 International Building Code (IBC) now significantly expands the use of Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) composites for building construction and allows architects, specifiers and building owners to harvest the many benefits of FRP in architectural applications. Prior to 2009, FRP products were limited to use in exterior building facades at heights below 40 feet. The new code now allows fire retardant fiberglass to be used in all areas of construction when in accordance with code requirements.
Ashland Performance Materials working in tandem with ACMA's Architectural Division and Southwest Research Institute developed a listing and labeling program to establish code compliance for fabricators using Ashland fire retardant resins. Architectural Fiberglass, Inc. (AFI) in Cleveland, Ohio is the first fabricator to undergo the rigorous fire testing and quality control inspections required under Section 2612 of the IBC code. Having passed all the requisite tests, AFI is now listed under Ashland's umbrella certification for Hetron™ FR 620T-20M resin and can thus label its architectural FRP products accordingly indicating compliance with fire retardancy and stringent manufacturing requirements under the IBC code. When an FRP component bears a testing laboratory's IBC compliance label, architects and professional engineers may call out the credentialed FRP in construction plans.
Mike Dobronos, President of Architectural Fiberglass (Cleveland, Ohio) put it best when he said, "Establishing the new IBC listing and labeling standard for fire resistant FRP in architectural applications was an enormous undertaking. It took months of hard work establishing the testing criteria and the quality control manuals for these applications. Being first is never easy, but this new IBC compliant label gives us a great competitive advantage in the building products market."
Architectural Fiberglass custom designs and manufactures decorative Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) ornamentation for the restoration, reproduction and new construction industries. AFI has had over 20 years of success manufacturing, designing and installing fiberglass products. They manufacture all of their FRP composite products with Ashland Hetron and Modar™ fire retardant resins to meet a flame spread rating of 25 or less and smoke density under 450 as characterized by the ASTM E-84 Tunnel Test at typical 1/8" glass mat laminate.
|IBC Building Code