Infrastructure Reliability Part 8: Fireproofing Programs, Fire Safety and Corrosion of Underlying Steel

Sep 6, 2023 | Fireproofing | 0 comments

By Jignesh Sapra, Designer and Gourav Patodi P.E., Engineer

Protecting Industrial Infrastructure from Fire with Brindley Engineering’s Fireproofing Engineering Services

As our nation’s infrastructure ages, protecting industrial structures is a growing concern. Passive fireproofing systems play a crucial role in protecting steel structures and reducing the risk of fire incidents. However, fireproofing degrades over time, compromising fire safety and causing corrosion. Brindley Engineering (BE) understands the urgency of safeguarding industrial facilities from fireproofing degradation. Welcome to Part 8 of Brindley Engineering’s 10-part series on Infrastructure Reliability. In Part 7 we explored Structural Reliability, In Part 6 we talked about Tank Reliability and ASTs. In Part 5 we explored Piping and CUIs. Part 4 we wrote about level instrumentation. In Part 3 we explored electrical reliability. In Part 2 you read about process utilities, and in Part 1 we wrote about the risk of neglective critical infrastructure and protecting what matters. In Part 8 we will talk about fire proofing and fire safety.

The Challenge: Proactively Mitigating Risk

Through Fireproofing Inspection and Engineering Services, risks are proactively mitigated to enhance reliability of operating units. Deterioration of fireproofing poses significant risks to industrial facilities, including harm to personnel and equipment damage. Delaying action until fireproofing debris falls can lead to unnecessary safety issues, and increased expenses and downtime. Inadequate protection may only become apparent during a fire incident, endangering the facility, the workforce, and community.

Causes of Fireproofing Degradation:

  • Age / Environmental Exposure: Fireproofing deteriorates over time due to exposure to heat, humidity, UV radiation, and chemicals in the atmosphere such as CO2. This diminishes effectiveness and fire resistance.
  • Mechanical Damage: Fireproofing can be damaged by impacts, vibrations, or accidental contact during maintenance / construction.
  • Improper Installation or Maintenance: Poor installation methods or maintenance can cause fireproofing materials to deteriorate, reducing effectiveness through insufficient thickness, bad adherence, or poor application techniques.

Impact on Fire Safety and Structural Integrity:

  • Reduced Fire Resistance: Degraded fireproofing loses the ability to withstand high temperatures, increasing the risk of structural failure during a fire.
  • Accelerated Structural Weakening: Corrosion in steel exposed to fire weakens its structural integrity, leading to distortion, collapse, or failure if the fireproofing system is inadequate.
  • Decreased Safety: Degraded fireproofing can spall off, creating falling hazard risks to personnel and equipment below.

BE the Solution

BE’s Fireproofing Engineering Services provide proactive solutions to mitigate risks. Fireproofing Needs Analysis (per API 2218) is performed to evaluate where fireproofing is required. Advanced fire modeling may be used to develop customized strategies for optimal fire protection.

BE engineers and technicians conduct on-site Fireproofing Evaluations, identifying vulnerabilities and recommending improvements to maintain fire safety and prevent further deterioration. Comprehensive inspection and maintenance programs are established to promote reliability and compliance with industry standards.

For damaged systems, repairs are engineered to minimize downtime and restore fireproofing capabilities. Inspection and Test Plans are created to ensure proper installation and quality control during the application of fireproofing.

Post-Fire Evaluations (API 579 Part 11 Analysis) are performed to assess fireproofing integrity after incidents and refine strategies for enhanced resilience. Rigorous Quality Control processes are implemented for compliance with industry standards.

BE the Result

With expertise in evaluation, engineering, design, inspection, and construction advisory services in refineries, power plants, chemical plants, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, and other industries, BE offers comprehensive fire protection design and inspection services with the goal of extending the service life of industrial infrastructure.  Through implementation of these proactive fireproofing reliability measures, facilities can prioritize repair work and optimize maintenance budgets.

steel corrosion under intumescent fireproofing
degraded intumescent fireproofing
degraded concrete fireproofing
degraded concrete fireproofing


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