Fire stopping materials are a component of a specific tested "system". The tested system not only identifies the material, but also specifies how the material is to be installed. A specific application requires a specific tested system. If the installation is not installed in accordance with a specific applicable listed fire stop system or Engineered Judgment design, it is not installed per code.
"Approved methods" is a general term that refers to fire stop systems that have been tested by an independent laboratory (e.g., Underwriters Laboratory) and which meets ASTM E-814 and or UL 2079 performance criteria.
They are recommendations in which system/product manufacturers sometimes provide in order to meet actual field conditions that do not match any existing tested systems. These EJs are based upon internal test data and existing fire-stop systems. An EJ must be sent to the Authority Having Jurisdiction in order to be "approved" and accepted.
Again, some examples of fire-stop applications:
Construction Joints - Static/Dynamic (Head-of-Wall, Wall-to-Wall, Bottom-of-Wall, Expansion Joints and Curtain Wall)
Installing the Entire System
The Listed System will not only identify the specific material(s) to be used, but will also specify the installation method. It is important to not only install the correct material or product but it is imperative to install the entire system as prescribed in the System's Listing. Failure to do so may negate the System's designed intent and will no longer be to required standards.