Firestop installation can be lucrative for unions and contractors

Mechanical Insulators Labor Management Cooperative Trust (LMCT) Executive Director Pete Ielmini joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast and talked about why firestop measures are critical to public safety and how the firestop industry can be a highly lucrative for both contractors and members of the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Craftworkers.

Ielmini discussed the LMCT’s four-day Firestop Market Recovery Program, which took place in Pennsylvania in late June. It included members of the Insulators Union and their signatory contractors. 

During the event, Local Union leaders and signatory contractors strategized how to best corner the firestop market.

The LMCT plans to hold similar strategy sessions across the U.S. and Canada, Ielmini  added.

Proper installation of firestop technology saves lives

Thanks to improvements in technology that revolutionized fire safety, the firestop industry has evolved over the past 30 years, Ielmini recalled. He recognized the efforts of  IAHFIAW General President Emeritus James Grogan, Jr., who recently passed away, for helping the Insulators Union begin to capture the firestop market.

Firestop systems are designed to contain a fire within a single room to prevent it spreading to the rest of a building, Ielmini explained. Fireproof walls and doors can be effective, but pipes, cable and electrical connections create openings where fire and smoke can spread. Firestop products are needed to encase these openings to prevent fire and smoke from spreading, he added.

Sadly, a firestop system is only effective when it has been installed correctly – and incorrect installation only becomes apparent in the face of tragedy. He referenced the tragic New York City fire that killed 17 people and called it a perfect example of the consequences of inadequately installed firestop measures.

The lucrative potential of the firestop industry

The LMCT’s Firestop Market Recovery Program is uniquely tailored to a union’s specific market and jurisdiction, Ielmini explained.

Some unions and contractors are hesitant to enter the firestop protection market because of its perceived liabilities, but firestop systems are reliable if they are installed correctly, he said. Ielmini stressed the need for proper training when it comes to the correct installation of firestop technology.

Contractors need to understand firestop installation can be performed correctly if the prescribed specifications of a firestop system are precisely followed, Ielmini said. They also need to understand how the bidding procedure and budget estimations can differ from standard construction projects.

Firestop presents a lucrative opportunity if both contractors and union members commit to the work, Ielmini said. Most importantly, public safety will be greatly enhanced if proper firestop measures become more commonplace, he added.

Listen to the interview. 

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