What does Sleeve Mean?

Definition of Sleeve in Construction

A sleeve has numerous meanings in the construction industry. The most common use of the term sleeve is a means of access through a material for a pipe, a conduit, wiring, etc.

For example a concrete foundation wall will require sleeves to be placed in the wall prior to the placement of the conduit. These sleeves will need to be coordinated with the electrician, mechanical subs as well as the site work subs, to ensure that they are place in the proper location for the installation, of whatever will be inserted into the sleeve after the concrete is placed. A sleeve is normally larger than the item being inserted. If a 2 inch pipe is being used, then a 3 inch sleeve is usually provided. On larger projects, where there several sleeves required, there could be a sleeve schedule provided. This sleeve schedule will specify the size sleeves required to accommodate a certain size pipe or wire. In many instances when there is a fire rating of a penetration required, the proper sleeve must be used. The size of the sleeve will identify the type of fireproof material which must be placed between the sleeve and the item penetrating through the sleeve.

Normally there is a backer rod, which is a stop to prevent the caulking from simply falling through the opening. Once installed, a special fire rated caulk is used to seal the penetration and make it fireproof according to code. The fireproofing of penetrations is extremely important and the use of the proper sleeve to provide the proper amount of room for caulking, is paramount to the fire rating of the penetration. Sleeves are also used for the installation of railings, or other vertical posts or supports that need to slip into a sleeved opening for proper installation. The terms sleeve is also used to identify the inserts used for threaded rods as hangers, for inserts to hang lintels, etc.