PATH - A Public Private Partnership for Advancing Housing Technology

Residential Steel Framing: Fire and Acoustic Details

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September 2002, 111 pages

Cold-formed steel has been widely used in commercial buildings, especially in non-load bearing (partitions) and curtain wall applications. Cold-formed steel sections are increasingly being used as primary structural members, such as beams, floor joists, and load-bearing walls in commercial and residential construction.

Despite the availability of cold-formed steel framing, there are still basic barriers that impede its adoption in the residential market. Probably one of the primary barriers is that the building industry is generally reluctant to adopt alternative building methods and materials unless they exhibit clear quality or performance advantages. The fire and acoustical performance of cold-formed floor and wall assemblies are important considerations when designing residential and light commercial structures. However, there is little information available in the United States on fire ratings and sound transmission class ratings of cold-formed steel assemblies; the available information is dispersed and not readily accessible to end users.

This report investigates regulatory requirements, available test data, and typical practices relating to acoustics and fire protection of cold-formed steel framing. The intention is to give an overview of current regulations, as well as a "snap shot" of available fire and acoustic cold-formed steel assemblies.

This document starts by providing an overview of fire and acoustic requirements of cold-formed steel assemblies and the characteristics of such assemblies as related to fire and acoustic performance. A detailed description of current building codes and building code requirements for the fire protection and acoustical insulation of cold-formed steel assemblies follows. A comprehensive list of tested fire- and sound-rated assemblies is provided. Finally, recommendations are given to direct future tests and research.

Content updated on 3/24/2006

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