Are fire doors are essential for passive fire protection?
Fire doors are essential passive fire protection. Buildings use two main complementary types of fire protection system, passive and active. Passive fire protection refers to elements of the building structure such as doors, floors and walls. So, why are fire doors so important to the system as a whole?
What does passive fire protection mean in the event of a fire?
Passive fire protection remains dormant or inert during normal conditions, it only becomes active when fire occurs, its main purpose to contain fire or slow its spread. This allows the safe evacuation of a building and gives the fire services time to fight fires safely and reducing the possibility of losing property.
Compartmentation is part of passive fire protection with building regulations stating that all buildings must be split into compartments. The walls and floors between compartments must be constructed according to fire safety standards: fire rated. Joints or openings that allows pipes, ducts, sockets, etc. to pass through must be properly protected by fire stopping products like intumescent fire dampers. Where doors are concerned all openings must have a fire rated door, frame and hardware installed.
Fire door – essential fire protection
We often see cases of overlooked fire stopping systems, such as unsealed openings above ceilings, in riser cupboards or below raised access floors. If there’s no fire stopping around walls and floors, they will lose their fire rating. This can allow the rapid spread of fire and smoke throughout endangering the lives in the building.
Fire doors are essential to help stop fire spreading. All doors should be up to standard to retain their fire rating and you also need to correctly fire-stop all service penetrations passing through them.
Fire compartmentation saves lives
By sub-dividing buildings into a number of compartments fire can effectively be restricted. Walls and floors made of fire-resisting compartment materials separate the compartments.
Fire compartmentation offers many benefits:
- It can help prevent the rapid spread of fire
- Limits chances of the fire building and growing. Gives people more time to escape in the building and more time for the the emergency services to respond and contain the fire
- Helps limit the damage to buildings and their contents
Compartmentation design depends on a number of elements:
- What is the building used for?
- The size of the building
- The fire load in the building (the potential severity of any fire that might break out)
- Does the building have a sprinkler system?
We have extensive experience in fire compartmentation systems working to building regulations and standards, fire resistant materials, British Standard Fire Tests and intumescent fire dampers.
Do we need to protect the parts of a building around compartments?
You must protect the spaces connecting fire compartments, such as stairways and service shafts, helping to restrict the spread of fire between compartments. Depending on the type of building, there are a number of additional requirements:
- Use compartment walls to separate parts of a building that are occupied for different purposes
- Construct walls common to two or more buildings as compartment walls
- Continue compartment walls in the top storey beneath a roof through the roof space
- Ensure that the walls separating semi-detached houses or terraced houses are compartment walls.
- Install compartment walls and floors between garages attached to houses
- There are additional requirements for flats, institutional buildings, other residential buildings and non-residential buildings.