The aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire disaster has propelled fire and firestopping as hot topics in the construction industry right now. Firestopping applies to all construction sites as well as in buildings undergoing renovation. Both the designers and constructors of a building have a responsibility. From the constructors’ side, the ultimate responsibility will lie with the main contractor, however, all sub-contractors will also have a duty to comply. Are your sites and buildings in compliance? Read on…
The principle control of fire spread is achieved through compartmentation of a building. These compartments are bounded by fire resisting elements such as walls, floors and ceilings. These confine the fire to its zone of origin for a specific time; to allow occupants to exit the building before the fire and smoke can spread.
Fire resisting elements are often breached to permit access for services such as cables, pipes and ventilation systems. Firestopping products are classified as passive fire protection; they protect against the passage of flames, smoke and gases through openings and gaps in fire compartments.
Andrew says; “If a fire separating element is to be effective, then all gaps between the fire resisting elements and around the penetrations must be sealed. So that includes every joint, imperfection of fit, and opening. They should be adequately protected by either sealing or firestopping.”
It is also a legal requirement that every breach of the fire compartment walls and floors must be reinstated for an effective fire barrier.
A lot of customers believe that fire rated foams alone can be used to firestop all manners of gaps in fire barriers. In fact, these products are only tested for sealing linear gaps in concrete or masonry walls and floors. Andrew adds; “Depending on the width and depth of the joint, the foam may also need an intumescent sealant to achieve the required fire rating.”
Remember the 18th Wiring Regulations comes into force from the 1st January 2019. The 18th Edition has addressed the number of fatal and fire-related incidents where people have been trapped by falling cables. To meet the requirements of the new legislation, you will need to use suitably spaced metallic clip supports, saddles or ties. Read more about this in our blog here.
At MIDFIX, we stock a comprehensive range of firestopping products, all of which are tested and certified to the relevant regulatory standards. Shop now or for further advice, contact our sales team today, we can also advise on installation.
“A lot of customers believe that fire rated foams alone can be used to firestop all manners of gaps in fire barriers – depending on the width and depth of the joint, the foam may also need an intumescent sealant to achieve the required fire rating”
Andrew White – MIDFIX