What are membrane enclosures? And why they're dangerous.

Blog Post created by ashleysmith Employee on Apr 8, 2016

membrane.jpgWhen marinas need to sand and paint boats, the dust and fumes pose problems. They can spread throughout the building, bothering people who work in the marina and dirtying other boats.


To address that, marinas often build what’s known as a membrane enclosure: a metal scaffolding structure surrounding the boat, which is then covered in plastic shrink wrap. Solves the problem, right? Well…


The bigger problem is, using these membrane enclosures inside sprinklered buildings presents some serious fire safety hazards, the March/April NFPA Journal reports. The concern is that they could delay sprinkler activation in the event of a fire. Water may not be able to penetrate the enclosure.


There are at least two code implications. Membrane enclosures are not compatible with NFPA 33, Spray Application Using Flammable or Combustible Materials, or NFPA 13, Installation of Sprinkler Systems.


The marine industry isn’t alone. Many other industries do similar spray applications inside enclosed structures, including aircraft facilities and hydro-electric facilities. Many of the industries, even including marine, have expressed concern about the fact that the practice is not technically allowed by standard.


The details are far more complex, but for the full picture, check out Nancy Pearce’s piece, “Wrapped Up,” in our latest journal issue. If your industry uses membrane enclosures, this is a crucial read.


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