One of the fundamentals of passive fire protection is the compartmentalisation of buildings. To limit the spread of fire and smoke within a building we must compartmentalise: divide the space into several smaller sections in order to confine the fire in the only space it was declared, during the time necessary for evacuation.
When evaluating the ability of any construction material to withstand fire, there are two key factors that need to be considered – the materials reaction to fire and the materials resistance to fire performance.
Fire protection within a building requires two types of protection: Active Fire Protection and Passive Fire Protection. Active Fire Protection relates to the detection and extinction of a fire whilst Passive Fire Protection relates to the containment of a fire.
Passive Fire Protection (PFP) is a vital component of any fire strategy. It is built into the structure of a building to safeguard people’s lives and limit the financial impact of damage to buildings and their contents.
Although both Fire Stopping and Intumescent products are tested to the same fire test standards, such as BS476, how they are tested tends to vary greatly. Intumescents are tested predominantly on structural steel which is used extensively throughout the construction market. they can be also evaluated on other materials such as concrete, but are clearly identified when that is the case. While Fire Stopping products are tested to the same standards, the samples that are evaluated cover a wide range to reflect the materials seen in the construction market. This includes: · different types and thickness of building materials · different sizes and types of penetrations · different types of product materials As there is no standard combination used in any area of the construction market, this gives a considerable number of potential variations that may have different results dependant on the specific combination.
Several of our products have the Fire Resistance performance expressed in different ways – either by “Up to X minutes”, or “Optimised for X minutes”, where X is the Fire Resistance such as 30, 60, 90, 120, etc. The ‘optimised for X minutes’ identifier is used to identify the fire resistance period that we would expect to be able to meet every requirement. This is to move away from stating the maximum Fire resistance period where maybe a limited amount only can be protected that would be sufficient for only a fraction of projects (where another product would be best suited).
Fire regulations within the UK, are continuously being updated and improved to ensure the maximum protection for building structures and people. The regulatory reform (Fire Safety) 2005 (RRFSO) became law in October 2006, and changed the way that the fire safety of buildings is managed and enforced. Passive Fire Protection provision is required in all buildings within the UK, whether domestic or non-domestic. All building work must be carried out in accordance with the Building Regulations 2010, Fire Safety, Approved Document B. Full details can be found on the gov.uk website. Due to the regulations in place within the UK, the structures in which we live, including Publicly Establishments (ERP) and High or Very Tall Buildings (IGH and ITGH), must have high fire resistant qualities. There are a multitude of factors that influence the amount of fire protection required in a building, but all solutions offered will allow the structure to withstand within a fire for a set given time.