What Are Fire-Stopping Systems?

Canadian Building codes require fire-stopping systems as they ensure the effectiveness of fire separations. Fire separations are a specific type of gap included in a building to stop the spread of flames in the case of a fire. In essence, fire-stopping systems are techniques designed to ensure fire separations are as effective as possible should there be a blaze.

Typical examples of fire-stopping systems used in Canada today include blank openings, wall-ceiling joints, and service penetrations. However, fire-stopping systems come in all types and are designed based on their usage.

Common in modern fire-stopping systems is intumescent (increases in dentistry and volume) caulking and collars. They get designed to expand when heated and provide additional insulation against the heat of a fire.


Systems Testing

Firestop systems are passive and do not require human triggering or an external power source. Any fire-stopping system you use must undergo proper fire testing to be relied on to function as expected in an emergency. Canada’s Firestop systems must get tested to at least CAN/ULC-S115 regulations.

It is vitally important to point out that the whole system must be tested, not only a part of it, like the intumescent caulking. It is because it is the system as an entirety that has a fire rating and not the individual features. It stops construction firms from using the individual elements and expecting them to function the same as a whole, specially constructed fire-stop system.

fire inspector with clip board
blocks with fire stop icons

Testing via Firestop Listings

Canadian building regulations do not require a firestop listing. It is one of the most typical and easy ways to ensure that a firestop system meets the correct CAN/ULC-S115 standards.

A listing is a firestop test completed by a third party. A listing will provide information on the installation methods, issues, fire rating, and the test standard applied to assess the system.

What do the Firestop Ratings mean?

Some ratings can get awarded if a firestop goes through testing to ensure it meets the CAN/ULC-S115 regulations. The first is an F rating which means the firestop works for a specific time and stops the movement of flames. 

Then there is an FT rating which includes everything in an F rating but also means the firestop in question minimizes the rise in temperature on its unexposed side. 

There are additional ratings, such as FTH and FH, but as Canadian building codes do not require them, there is no need to go into them here. 

Things to remember when installing a fire-stop system

When installing a firestop system, you must remember that:

  • You should only allow a qualified contractor to install firestops strictly per the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Products other than caulking materials, such as mineral wool insulation, will be needed and are often used as a forming or insulating material.
  • What product was ordered? Each product has specifications that are not interchangeable and is true even for multiple items produced by the same firm.
  • Each product has specifications that are not interchangeable and is true even for multiple items produced by the same firm.

Final thoughts

Overall, ensuring that your firestop system is tested correctly to the correct standards is essential. This testing ensures that in case of a fire, it will function as expected and stop the progression of the flames for a designated amount of time.

In Canada, firestops get considered properly tested if you can prove they meet the requirements of CAN/ULC-S115.



Walser Contracting Ltd.
Concrete Cutting & Coring Services
15C Alberta Ave, PO Box 3816,
Spruce Grove, AB T7X 3B1

Monday to Friday: 6:30am to 4:00

Call: 780-721-3405
Email: walserltd@gmail.com

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