Fire barrier expansion joints are essential to life safety in any structure. Part of the Emshield family of products, EMSEAL’s WFR2 and DFR2 2-hour fire-rated expansion joint seals were installed throughout the newly constructed Berlin Federal Prison in Berlin, NH.
As is common with prison construction, large panel concrete walls and floors are built and assembled with expansion gaps which need to be filled with a movement-capable expansion joint that must be fire-rated.
Typical installation of multiple materials to seal, bridge and fire-rate joints is inefficient and often ineffective. Fire-blankets that require to be installed from the underside of floors require utility lift equipment for access. Wiring, plumbing and mechanical components often prevent access to the mounting surfaces needed for the fire-blanket flanges, and split-columns interrupt the run of the fire-blankets causing a breach in the life-safety barrier.
The prison construction Board whole-heartedly approved the choice of both Emshield WFR2 and DFR2 from EMSEAL. Installed entirely from above the floor slabs it required no special access equipment. Because the joints when accessed from above are unobstructed by the work of other trades, a straight shot installation was possible and the material could be installed continuously through the split columns thereby ensuring continuity of the fire barrier.
Certified to UL 2079 for walls, WFR2 will handle the expansion movement of the interior concrete walls and provide the 2-hour UL certified fire-rating that prisons demand. It also provides a watertight seal when watertightness is needed such as in cleaning or wet exposure. The same holds true for the trafficked floors with DFR2.
And, if watertight, airtight, fire-rated, and able to handle joint movement are not enough, the Emshield systems also feature a Sound Transmission Class of STC 62 and an Outdoor Indoor Transmission Class of OITC 52. This means that interior and exterior noise that might otherwise have got through the expansion joints will be blocked as effectively or better than the concrete walls themselves.
In the end Emshield proved to be the ideal expansion joint choice for the construction of this prison. The structural expansion joints on this facility were located out of access to the detainees. However, the only feature the Federal Bureau of Prisons felt would make this the perfect corrections facility product would be a pick-resistant coating.