Fire safety in commercial buildings is nothing to take lightly. According to the U.S Small Business Association roughly 1 in 4 businesses that experience a fire (or other disaster) will not reopen their doors afterward. Of course having to shut down a business is the last of your worries when the alternative could be as damaging as significant loss of life to customers and employees.
Even if a business does reopen after a fire, it's a long road to get to that point. The building has to be inspected for structural damage while smoke, soot, and water damage must be repaired. This down time is what's crippling for businesses as customers begin to shop elsewhere and employees who need financial reimbursement while out of work start to look for alternate employment.
What all these statements circle back to is that fireproofing your building is extremely important. Fire prevention should be your highest priority, but fireproofing is how you minimize the damage if the sparks do start.
How to Fireproof a Building
Commercial buildings are a beacon for potential fires. Between the higher density of people in general as well as the abundance of machines, electronics, etc. in use, the fire risk is almost constant. There are two main ways to fireproof a building – by using cementisious building materials or by covering your existing components with an intumescent paint. Taking either step is a push in the positive direction but there are some reasons why the commercial industry is trending towards using the intumescent paint.
Why Paint is Preferred
Protects different surfaces
Easy to apply with spray
Universal white color
There are a number of reasons that have contributed to the spike in popularity of intumescent paint for use in commercial buildings. First of all, paint can easily be used as a retrofit on existing property. To have to remodel using cementious materials can be costly while also contributing to more business downtime.
Another reason that paint is so preferable is because it is merely a thin film coating that allows you to maintain the authentic look of the substrate materials which is especially inviting on wood or decorative building elements. For steel the process of fireproofing involves adding a primer and then an intumescent base coat. A decorative and protective top coat is then applied so you can actually enhance the looks of ordinary steel.
The final reason intumescent paint is such an approved fireproofing option is because it works. Testing of the material is critical and our product has both ICC-ES and QAI listings. In 2017 we are working towards having our paint tested by UL as that is the most recognized testing institute in the United States and Canada.
In summation, fireproofing your building with intumescent paint is a convenient process that allows you to maintain the pleasant aesthetics of your building while still providing the safety and protection that is above industry standard.