Inspecting Spray Foam Plastic for Code Compliance and Product Quality

Course Description/Abstract

The recent rapid growth in the spray polyurethane foam industry and updates of the codes and related standards have created the need to acquaint building officials and other trade members with guidelines for making inspections of projects that include foam plastic. It is important to be familiar with the new standards and best-practice protocols for an industry which still does not have ANSI standards for installations. In addition to knowing what the code requirements are for foam installations in various building uses and configurations, it is important to know what the tell-tale signs are for product quality problems after the installation.

This program reviews the code requirements related to foam plastic in general. Code provisions discussed include requirements for fire protection in attics, basements and crawl spaces, rim joists, roof assemblies, mechanical system components, and other specific building configurations.

It then presents a comprehensive overview of the steps for inspecting spray-applied polyurethane foam. A brief discussion of product liability and what remediation options are available to installers is included. Foam samples of varying quality will be shown. Field techniques for testing foam quality will be demonstrated.

This presentation makes use of a collage of examples from projects of various building uses and types to demonstrate what to expect and look for in a typical foam installation. The inspection process is outlined by following one post-installation inspection which identified and remediated quality problems.

Learning Objectives:

Participants will be able to cite the codes and standards that govern the installation of foam plastic, including the smoke and flame requirements for protected and exposed foam plastic, in residential and commercial projects they will be inspecting.

Participants will able to identify the most common code and standards violations encountered in typical foam projects and how classroom examples of these violations relate to specific conditions in projects they will be inspecting.

Participants will be able to develop a comprehensive set of minimum requirements for the documentation that is necessary to complete an inspection of their projects that include foam products.

Participants will be able to determine from the documentation when foam does not have to be protected and when thermal or ignition barriers are required to protect foam plastic products.

Participants will be able to determine when and which types of foam plastic require a vapor retarder for the climate zone of projects they will be inspecting.

Participants will be able to determine if the type of foam that was installed is appropriate for the specific building use and application in projects they will be inspecting.

Participants will know what indicators of product quality to look for and how to perform on-site testing for product density, adhesion, pass thickness, and dimensional stability.

Participants will be able to relate their projects to similar applications included in the real-world case studies used to demonstrate inspection methods.

Participants will be able to provide examples of remediation strategies for foam installations that are not code compliant or have quality problems.