Custom Fire-Rated Shutter in University Building


DH Pace served as a subcontractor to a general contractor to install a custom fire-rated shutter in a building for a large university.


The university needed a way to prevent smoke from traveling between floors through the grand atrium of a four story building. In order to achieve this, the general contractor recommended using a horizontal shutter to create a vertical shaft separation between floors. The custom shutter includes a proprietary smoke management system that prevents smoke and fire from taking over the entire building. Over eight tons, the shutter is 20 feet wide and deploys horizontally 63 feet to create a smoke-proof barrier between floors. Each 8-foot track segment weighed in excess of 600 pounds. Despite its size, the unit must always be referred to as a shutter so it is never confused with a floor door. Floor doors are used in similar horizontal applications. They can withstand the weight of people walking on them, like firefighters for instance, whereas a horizontal shutter is not intended to support the weight of people walking across it.


DH Pace teams from multiple locations worked together to perform the installation and rigging. As you might imagine, installing a 17,000 pound door took some doing. First, four levels of engineering specialists had to sign off on the installation plan. After the plan was finalized, DH Pace put it in action. They modified the dollies to reduce point loads on the floor, expertly rigged the shutter and positioned the unit to be hoisted.


The entire installation went smoothly and to the delight of the university, the shutter and smoke management system passed fire inspection. From start to finish, the installation lasted approximately ten days. This project is just another example of how DH Pace is equipped to manage complex projects across multiple locations with combined expertise.