Fire Resistance - Overview

Fire Resistance

In certain circumstances building codes require construction to be fire rated.MBMA has conducted fire tests at Underwriter's Laboratory, Omega Point Laboratories and Factory Mutual to answer the need for these fire rated metal building assemblies. The result of all this testing is a complete set of ceiling, wall and column protection details that are UL listed assemblies. Copies of the details are contained within the Fire Resistance Bulletins 1-4, and the Head of Wall Bulletin, listed below.

The MBMA recently published the Fire Resistance Design Guide for Metal Building Systems. This guide contains the most complete and up-to-date information for fire resistance and metal buildings. For more information about this guide, please click here.

Additional insurance information and bulletins can be found in the Building Insurance section.


Fire Resistance Bulletin #1

This Bulletin provides a detailed discussion on fire endurance of welded built-up steel columns, cold formed channel columns and steel pipe columns. These columns have been UL tested and certified for 1, 1.5 and 2 hour fire protection.

Fire Resistance Bulletin #2

This Bulletin provides a detailed discussion on the results of an engineering analysis and testing program, which sought to establish fire resistant rated exterior walls. These walls are listed by UL, Inc. In the 1996 Fire Resistance Directory as U.L. Design No. U489. Design configurations and detailed material characteristic data are presented in this highly informative Bulletin.


Fire Resistance Bulletin #3

An MBMA building, equipped with a fire rated roof assembly with a suspended ceiling places the metal building in a totally new class of construction. Find out more about the extensive testing conducted in conjunction with U.L. Inc., which resulted in a new roof classification for several different types of suspended ceilings.


Fire Resistance Bulletin #4

This bulletin details a new assembly that reduces the extra cost of labor and materials required to build a fire resistant rated exterior wall that is tested by UL and classified for 1-and 2-Hours.


Fire Resistance of Head of Wall (HOW) Joints in Metal Buildings

Two UL fire tests were undertaken and successfully completed by MBMA to answer specific questions of regulatory and fire safety officials relative to compliance of certain metal building construction head of wall (HOW) joints with the 2006 International Building Code (IBC) Sections 713.1-713.3, and similar provisions in other codes. Three Underwriters Laboratories Inc (UL) HOW listings for 1-hr were issued (HW-D-0488, HW-D-0489, and HW-D-0490) as a result of these tests. The complete test report and additional information is available within this section.



ESFR Sprinkler Tests

In addition to this fire testing, MBMA conducted fire tests on ESFR (Early Suppression Fast Response) sprinklers. ESFR Sprinklers were originally developed to protect high hazard warehouse storage occupancies with Classes I through IV combustibles such as cartoned plastics. The benefits of using ESFR sprinklers include the reduction, or elimination of in-rack sprinklers in storage occupancies. ESFR sprinklers deliver a larger volume of water per sprinkler so much that often just one sprinkler is capable of driving back fires to acceptable levels, or extinguish them completely. For more information on the use of ESFR sprinklers, click here. All this work has been undertaken by MBMA s longest standing committee, the Committee on Fire Protection and Related Insurance Matters. This committee is also involved in the development of seminars and presentations for building officials and fire marshals.

Click here
 for more complete information on ESFR



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