Impact of NFPA 285 On Air Barrier Specifications And Design

Track 1: Design Sessions

Wednesday, May 9, 12:30 – 13:30

Fire protection codes and standards are essential for the health, safety, and welfare of our building occupants. Recent tragedies from fire events have required the AEC industry to reflect on the design and construction of our building enclosures to reduce the risk of fire spread. In this presentation, we will evaluate the impact of NFPA 285 (Standard Fire Test Method for Evaluation of Fire Propagation Characteristics of Exterior Non‐Load‐Bearing Wall Assemblies Containing Combustible Components) on the air barrier assembly.

This includes:

  • Review of NFPA 285 in detail to understand the history and impact on the inclusion of combustible components within the building enclosure assembly.
  • Material considerations (particularly air barriers and continuous insulation) and detailing examples within the building enclosure that align with NFPA 285 testing standards.
  • Impact of NFPA 285 ‘approved’ continuous insulation on vapor transmission and air barrier

Learning Objectives:

  1. Summarize the impact of NFPA 285 on building enclosure wall assembly design and construction.
  2. Evaluate material appropriateness for inclusion in an NFPA 285 ‘approved’ wall assembly.
  3. Investigate detailing considerations to reduce the risk of fire spread.
  4. Recall vapor transmission performance between different insulation and air barrier assemblies.
Level of content:
Construction & Testing

Charlotte Metzler, AIA Associate

Building Enclosure Consultant

Charlotte Metzler joined WSP in 2014 after earning Master degrees in Architecture and Science in Sustainable Design. Her involvement in projects revolves heavily around building science analysis and enclosure consulting spanning all aspects of the building’s life cycle. This has allowed her to manage projects from design through construction as well as perform forensic and condition assessments of existing buildings. She looks to create solutions that place value in sustainable practice and are informed by past experience. Mrs. Metzler has been a board member of the Washington, DC Chapter of the Building Enclosure Council since 2015 and was Chair for the 2017 calendar year.

Amanda Stacy, AIA Associate, LEED Green Associate

Building Enclosure Consultant

Amanda Stacy joined the Washington, DC office of WSP in July 2014 after earning Master degrees in Architecture and Science in Sustainable Design. She focuses her career on optimizing building enclosure design through the utilization of sustainable design strategies and a methodology of building performance analytics and energy modeling. Ms. Stacy offers high-performance design and detailing solutions grounded in a thorough understanding of building science, construction technologies, and material performance. She manages projects through all phases of the building life cycle including design, construction, and operation as well as forensic analysis of existing buildings. Ms. Stacy is Co-Chair of the AIA|DC Technology Committee.