Foam Plastic Insulation and the Codes
The recent growth in the use of spray polyurethane foam and changes in the related codes and standards have created the need to provide designers, installers, code officials, and other industry members with an update on the new requirements for projects that include foam plastic.
The program begins with an overview of foam plastic as an insulation technology and the installation methods available for large and small applications. This is followed with an introduction to installer safety and an in-depth discussion of site protection and occupant re-entry issues.
Implications of the physical properties of the material in the design, specification, and detailing of foam applications are demonstrated, including a discussion of using the product to meet new airtightness standards in the codes.
Next, code requirements related to the use of foam plastics are covered in detail. Code provisions discussed include requirements for fire protection in attics, basements and crawl spaces, rim joists, roof assemblies, mechanical system components, as well as requirements for less well-known building assemblies and systems. Gray areas in the code are identified. The presentation includes examples from projects that demonstrate the use of foam in various building types and locations to demonstrate the related code requirements. Combined with architectural details and code citations, this program introduces a resource matrix of the sections of the codes that relate to foam applications.
It then presents a summary of the steps for inspecting spray-applied polyurethane foam projects. The inspection process is outlined by following one post-installation inspection where problems with quality are identified, and it demonstrates good and bad techniques and how to test the physical properties of the finished product.
- Participants will be able to identify the various kinds of foam plastic products.
- Participants will be able to require, review, and assess the safety documentation and practices for protecting the work site and the occupants of buildings before, during, and after a foam installation.
- Participants will be able to apply the code requirements for ventilation, energy conservation, and fire protection in projects where the code requirements are different for foam insulation than for other insulation products.
- Participants will be able to utilize the thermal, moisture, and air barrier characteristics of foam materials in their designs for various thermal envelope uses.
- Participants will be able to require submittals that will serve as best-practice performance and standard work requirements for their projects until national installation standards are established.
- Participants will be able to assess installations to determine if they are compliant with the International and State codes that govern the use of foam plastic products.
- Participants will be able to identify the most common code violations encountered in typical foam installations.
- Participants will be able to determine if a foam installation should be considered a residential or a commercial installation.
- Participants will be able to determine when thermal or ignition barriers and/or methods are required to protect foamed plastic products.
- Participants will be able to use submittals, ESRs, and labeling to determine if a product has approvals for specific project applications.
- Participants will be able to require and assess best-practice protocols for assuring a quality installation of foam plastic and protection barrier products.
- Participants will be able to prequalify and select the correct foam product for a specific application.
- Participants will be able to prequalify and select a foam installer.
- Participants will be able to identify non-compliant substrate and environmental conditions.
- Participants will be able to identify common installation errors in foam installations.
- Participants will be able to identify the tell-tale signs for product quality problems after the installation.
- Participants will be able to determine when and which types of foam require a vapor retarder and/or ventilation.
Options for Program Content:
- Background of the current status in the industry
- Introduction to foam plastic
- History of the foam industry
- Foam safety – personal and site protection
- Foam design considerations
- Documentation requirements
- Codes overview and compliance
- Construction types – IBC vs. IRC
- Test methods used for compliance
- Gray areas in the code
- Fire protection requirements for foam plastic
- Foam in mechanical system components
- Special approvals
- Key provisions to be required by AHJs for permitting
- Note – additional topics or topic detail available upon request