SpeedCore Update: NYC Approval, Fire Protection Research

There have been two exciting SpeedCore developments recently as research and regulations continue to demonstrate the full potential of the groundbreaking composite superstructure system, which consists of concrete sandwiched between steel plates. 

Purdue University researchers, supported by the Charles Pankow Foundation, have just completed an investigation of SpeedCore's fire performance. They found that SpeedCore panels under simulated fire and gravity loads demonstrate excellent fire resistance, even without additional fire-protective coatings. 

"This will increase the speed of construction of a SpeedCore wall system even more than previously experienced over a conventional concrete core," said AISC Vice President of Engineering & Research Lawrence F. Kruth, PE. SpeedCore shaved 43% off the erection time of the Rainier Square Tower in Seattle, which was the first building to use the system.

In previous iterations of SpeedCore, panels have been treated for fire protection in their entirety. This research indicates that it is possible to meet fire resistance requirements with protection applied only locally around connections.

"With the completion of this research, no fireproofing should be required for any SpeedCore wall as long as it is at least 18 inches thick," Kruth said. "This will eliminate the need for a fireproofing contractor to apply cementitious fireproofing to the wall, thereby saving time and labor for application and cleanup."

Meanwhile, New York City Department of Buildings has approved the use of SpeedCore for all five boroughs, meaning that Big Apple erectors, contractors, and owners can take advantage of the enormous time and cost savings that are possible with the SpeedCore system. 

New York City high-rise projects commonly use a temporary brace frame core system so as not to slow the erection of structural steel. That temporary system would subsequently need to be removed, adding additional time to the process. "With the NYC Building Department’s approval of the use of SpeedCore in New York City this will eliminate the need for the temporary braced core," Kruth said. "This will further decrease the time for construction of the building as well as eliminate the need for a fireproofing contractor to fireproof the SpeedCore wall system."

New York-area steel fabricators are ready to manufacture SpeedCore panels for mid- and high-rise projects that require not only speed but remarkable strength. Local project teams can reach out to AISC Structural Steel Specialist Jacinda Collins to learn more about how SpeedCore can save time and money on upcoming projects.

The second SpeedCore building is currently under construction in San Jose, Calif., and the team behind the third, in Boston, is expected to complete the design phase soon.