Case Studies

Conquest Firespray LLC

Michigan-made and now national growth with Flamebar fire-rated ductwork

High-rise office and residential buildings, biotech laboratories, sports venues, educational classrooms, commercial kitchens — Conquest Firespray LLC can protect all of these and many more facility types. Conquest Firespray and its sister company, Conquest Manufacturing, have been serving HVAC, mechanical and sheet metal contractors since 1998, when the company began as Duct Connection — a small sheet metal shop and duct connection fabricator.

To better serve the emerging market in code-driven life safety systems in buildings, a little over three years ago the company rebranded as Conquest Manufacturing and Conquest, offering the latest products of the recent fire science and engineering breakthroughs.

In the last three years a lot has changed for Conquest. The company recently purchased the manufacturing license for Flamebar USA, an ablative fire-resistive spray coating called BW11 that is applied over traditional sheet metal ductwork.

With a new product called Flamebar, based on technology utilized in Europe and the Middle East for decades, it has quickly gained traction in the U.S. construction market. As a result, the product has propelled Conquest’s business into the national spotlight. “Our products reach customers as far away as San Diego, all the way up to Boston, and south to Miami, the Cayman Islands and Bermuda,” says John Pattillo, president of Conquest.

Launching into nationwide growth

In the last three years, Conquest has seen exceptional growth after acquiring the U.S. intellectual property rights for Flamebar technology. “Since we purchased the IP to Flamebar, we’re really operating on a nationwide scale in fire-rated duct systems,” says Pattillo. “It’s an exciting time to be in this business and we’re growing rapidly. We have sales teams in Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, St. Louis, Houston, San Francisco and other major cities.”

Conquest performs all fabrication in-house at its facility in Warren, Michigan, producing rectangular and spiral duct and then applying the proprietary BW11 fire-rated coating. The company mainly serves customers in the high-rise commercial, institutional, sporting facility, event venue and hospitality sectors, where the use of fire-rated duct is code mandated.

Limiting the spread of fire and smoke through ventilation and grease ducts is a critical and essential design requirement in the specialized markets Conquest serves. This is typically accomplished through the optimum use of building compartmentation, using fire and smoke dampers, in concert with fire-rated ductwork, to protect building ventilation systems. Where the use of fire dampers is required by code, Flamebar fire-rated duct, because it is a continuous fire-rated enclosure, can often eliminate the necessity — a significant savings to the owner’s budget without sacrificing life safety. Additionally, the ducts offer enhanced levels of fire protection to the building, now giving equivalent levels of fire resistivity to combustion from both inside or outside the ductwork — a unique property of Flamebar.

The inside-out solution

Flamebar offers several alternative applications to often-costly conventional enclosure solutions. One solution is as a fire wrap alternative. The conventional solution requires wrapping ductwork with an insulative product, such as building insulation. In testing these Type A ducts, it was discovered that if a fire occurs upstream in an adjacent compartment and the fire enters the Type A duct, a failure will occur.

The Flamebar solution is the only fire-rated duct system to prevent fire both inside and outside the duct system — Type A and Type B fire exposures. The system is designed and value-engineered to eliminate fire wrap, including field wrap labor, as well as the need for damper framing and installation. It also eliminates fire-rated wall penetrations, fire caulking inspections and ceiling and wall fire-safing. In addition, the Flamebar fire-rated riser system also offers cost and schedule advantages.

High-profile fire protection

“Conquest really began to take off with Flamebar in its arsenal, just as the economy was coming out of the recession,” says Pattillo. “We were able to get involved early in the design process of several large projects in 2012 and now these projects are under construction. We have a whole portfolio of high-profile projects we’re currently working on.”

This list includes everything from the architect Norman Foster’s Comcast Tower in downtown Philadelphia to Richard Meier’s Surf Club, a new high-rise residential tour-de-force in Miami. Conquest has also worked on major health care facilities, such as the Ohio State University Critical Care Tower and the Barnes Jewish Hospital Expansion at Washington University Medical School in St. Louis.

The new state-of-the-art Florida Marlins Ballpark, currently under construction in Miami, is a major ongoing project for Conquest. The new stadium encompasses more than 928,000 square feet with 37,000 seats, and includes a three-panel operable roof system that will provide elements enclosure for both the playing field and seating areas.

Despite the sheer size of the venue, space for mechanical systems was extremely limited, presenting significant physical challenges in utilizing Flamebar. To add to the complexity, Conquest was tasked with fabricating and installing more than 100,000 square feet of fire-rated ductwork. The initial smoke exhaust and stair pressurization ductwork design specifications called for the stadium’s ductwork to be covered with two layers of ceramic fire wrap insulation and to be rated for a two-hour fire exposure.

To meet the specifications, Conquest proposed a Flamebar alternative solution, not only saving major project schedule, but also budget reduction and physical space for the ballpark, while significantly increasing life safety to the venue and its occupants. The Flamebar fire-rated ductwork system, with its factory-applied Flamebar BW11 coating, presented a major value-engineering savings to the project, eliminating the need for fire wrap, and assuring the on-site installation of more than 100,000 square feet of ductwork was completed on-time and on-budget.

Currently, Conquest is hoping to win the new Miami Convention Center and is also actively working on the Detroit Red Wings Stadium, both significant sports facilities. To support the company’s growth in the Southeastern U.S. sector, Pattillo adds, “The next major step for us is opening our new production facility in Miami.”

Once this new production facility is up and running, Conquest intends to ramp up production, supplying more major U.S. projects with Flamebar. From its humble Michigan roots, Conquest Firespray LLC is conquering the fire-rated ductwork industry with exclusive access to leading-edge Flamebar technology, making for superior life-safety solutions for the next generation.

Published on: August 2, 2016


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