architecture - engineering - construction

Fire Resistance of Insulated Sandwich Walls

  Subscribe to FREE newsletter  Apr 16, 2020

When broaching the construction of a new building, industry experts are challenged to consider all aspects of construction: cost-effectiveness, sustainability, security, safety, comfort, accessibility, functionality, serviceability, and aesthetics. One of the biggest safety considerations is how well the building will resist and contain a fire. The degree of fire resistance required depends on the use of the building, the amount of occupancy, as well as its proximity to property lines and established fire zones.

Multi-use or multi-occupancy buildings such as apartments, schools, warehouses, and hospitals require a higher level of fire resistance and fire containment. During fires, precast concrete walls help provide protection to human life, occupant possessions, and the structure itself. Precast concrete is inherently non-combustible and is therefore useful to contain a fire within minimal boundaries. As a separation wall, precast concrete inhibits fire spread throughout a multi-use building or between structures.

Precast concrete can be designed to meet a variety of fire resistance requirements. The fire resistance of precast concrete walls is determined by the American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM) E119, defining the procedures and determining the fire endurance of building materials. Concrete cover, as specified in ACI 318 for durability, will be sufficient for fire ratings up to 4 hours. The durability of walls depends greatly on the thickness and aggregate type in the concrete mixture and can be customized upon production.

Insulated Sandwich Walls have continuous (edge-to-edge) insulating foam materials between the two wythes of concrete. This non-combustible shielding layer provides superior insulation, lowering heating and cooling costs while eliminating any chance of spreading toxic fumes as it remains completely encased in precast concrete.

Further providing safety, Insulated Sandwich Walls can be load bearing or supporting. They provide an economical option that is resistant to wind, seismic or blast loads, and fire spread.

Better yet, insurance rates are commonly substantially lower for buildings that utilize high fire resistant materials such as Insulated Sandwich Walls.

The use of Insulated Sandwich Walls provides an array of benefits: energy efficiency, lower cost, low maintenance, high functionality, high performance for multi-purpose or high occupancy buildings while remaining one of the best options for fire resistance and containment.

For more information about insulated precast concrete and fire specifications, visit the Precast Concrete Institute at To learn more about County Materials Corporation’s quality Insulated Sandwich Wall options, visit us at or reach out to our team at [email protected]

@CountyMaterials #CountyMaterials #concrete #landscape #masonry #pavers

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