Frequently Asked Questions

The Regulatory Reform Order (Fire Safety) 2005 (FSO) came into force on 1 October 2006. It gives responsibility to those who are best placed to look at fire safety and ensure that risks – which change over time – are regularly reviewed. Under the FSO a ‘responsible person’ (usually the owner, employer or occupier of business or industrial premises) MUST carry out a fire risk assessment. Responsible persons under the Order are obliged, following a risk assessment, to implement appropriate fire safety measures to minimise the risk to life from fire; and to keep the assessment up to date (this and further information about the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order is available at: www.communities.gov.uk

Approved Document B (ADB) is a Fire Safety document that provides practical guidance on meeting the requirements of the Building Regulations. There may also be alternative ways of achieving compliance with the requirements of the Building Regulations. For a copy of Approved Document B click here

This is a Fire Safety document that gives practical advice & guidance on meeting the Building Regulations requirements. www.planningportal.gov.uk

But I live in Scotland, what documents are available from the Scottish Executive?

Technical Standards for fire performance of buildings are available from the Scottish Building Standards Agency at www.sbsa.gov.uk

 

But what about Northern Ireland?

Go to http://www.northernireland-legislation.hmso.gov.uk/sr/sr2000/20000389.htm for Part E Fire Safety of the Building Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000 to see how compliance may be achieved.

It’s something you hope will never happen: the worst case scenario of a fire roaring through your building. Most people are familiar with the basics of fire suppression such as sprinklers and fire extinguishers, but passive fire protection actually contains a fire at its point of origin. Despite its name, it’s always at work and based on compartmentation of fire and preventing collapse through structural fire resistance, when properly installed and maintained, your building’s passive fire protection can save lives and assets, and the building itself.

They provide precious time to evacuate a building in a fire. Time which could literally mean the difference between life and death.

Passive fire protection is the first line of defence in the preventing the spread of fire. As opposed to active fire suppression, such as fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems, passive fire protection doesn’t actively put the fire out.

Its aim is to contain the fire and smoke within a compartment of the building, allowing the safe evacuation of the property, and preventing further damage to the structure. If the location of the fire prevents the evacuation of all areas, then passive fire systems provide protection to any trapped personnel allowing the fire brigade to attend the scene, and effect the safe removal of those trapped.

An important piece of fire protection advice to remember is that passive fire protection can, and does, save lives as well as property.

Although metal pipes don’t burn they are good conductors of heat. An intumescent pipe wrap/collar is used to cool the pipe, prevent heat being transmitted through the protected structure element, and igniting another fire on the other side.

Fire, smoke and hot gases will pass through gaps thus spreading the fire to adjacent parts of the building and consequently become a threat to life.

Approved Document B (Fire Safety) to the England and Wales Building Regulations states “Since the fire performance of a product, component or structure is dependent upon satisfactory site installation and maintenance, independent schemes of certification and registration of installers and maintenance firms of such will provide confidence in the appropriate standard of workmanship being provided.

The following companies are known to provide such schemes:-

LPCB – go to www.redbooklive.com/index.jsp

FM Approvals go to www.fmapprovals.com

IFC Certification Ltd – go to www.ifccertification.com

Intertek Testing & Certification Limited – go to www.intertek.com

Underwriters Laboratories UK Ltd – go to www.ul.com

Warrington Certification Ltd – go to www.warringtonfire.net

The fire resistance of a component, such as a steel column, is its ability to resist the effects of fire for a period of time and this is usually measured by submitting the component to a fire test as defined in a nationally or internationally recognised standard.

Flame retardants inhibit the spread of flames across a surface

Class 0 & Class 1 spread of flame (BS476 -parts 6 & 7)

Class 0 is a fire propagation test, which means that the coated material not only prevents the spread of flame across its surface, but also stops fire from penetrating into the material for up to 13 minutes

Class 1 is granted when a fire close to the material only blackens at the point of contact and does not allow the fire to spread across it

In extreme heat, any steel under load will buckle and warp, for example in a fire situation the stability of steel framed buildings may be affected. Intumescent paints protect the steel from the heat, by forming an insulating layer between the metal and the heat source. The paint also gives off a small amount of moisture, further cooling the steel.

Fire protection coatings stop the material from burning through and offer a higher level of protection than flame retardants. Usually fire protection is rated as 30 or 60 minutes (BS476 Part 22 (1987)).

In general the answer is no, especially in the case of ductwork used for smoke extraction.

Any such mounting is likely to compromise another essential function of the ductwork system, where it passes through a fire resisting element of constructions, unless other proven measures have been incorporated to mitigate such an effect.

Manufacturer’s marketing information may not always include information for a particular field of application. The suitability of use is best justified by the manufacturer, by:-

The production of a valid fire test or assessment report against the requirements of BS 476: Part 20, or a European fire classification report to EN 13501-2 (when tested to EN 1366 Parts 3 or 4 as appropriate) as issued by a UKAS accredited fire test laboratory or in the case of an assessment by a competent person or body, which should adequately demonstrate the suitability of a fire stopping product for use within a specific application or a range of applications.

See ASFP ‘Red Book: Fire stopping – 3rd Edition’ section 11.3 for an expanded explanation.

Yes, Approved Document B states: “If a fire-separating element is to be effective, every joint or imperfection of fit, or opening to allow services to pass through the element, should be adequately protected by sealing or fire-stopping so that the fire resistance of the element is not impaired”.

Also see 10.4.4 in ASFP ‘RED Book’ 3rd Edition”

The law requires that a relevant fire risk assessment is made and maintained to identify all potential hazards and associated risks throughout the life and use of the building, and that all actions taken are recorded. The fire resistance and or other provisions should be enhanced in accordance with regulatory requirements to reduce risks to an acceptable level. The methods used can only be determined in relation to the particular problem.

The simple answer is no. While it may be tempting to use e.g. manufacturer A’s mineral fibre batt with manufacturer B’s adhesive, the combination is unlikely to have been tested and therefore may not perform in fire as intended.

Heat and smoke seals are required for your fire door. They completely shut off all gaps in the fire door frame, serving as an excellent defence against fire and smoke.

FD30 fire doors weight approximately 45kg. FD60 fire doors weigh upwards of 75kg, so you can see why it is so important that the door opens and closes safely.

Intumescent means “to expand”. In a building sense, an intumescent product is used to describe a passive fire product that expands when in contact in heat.

Intumescent products are based on three basic materials:

  • Clay
  • Silicate
  • Graphite

These are the active elements of intumescent products.

Clay was widely used in the early days of passive protection, but is now only used in specific areas. Clay based intumescents have tendency to become brittle with age, and are unsuitable for use in intumescent door strips, as the intumescent material could breakdown and fall out.

Graphite used in intumescents is similar to that used in pencils, and is the most commonly used form of intumescent

The Integrity (Known as class ‘E’) is the ability of an element of building construction, when exposed to fire on one side, to prevent the passage of flames and hot gasses through it to the unexposed side. Whereby, the Insulation (known as class ‘I’) is the ability of an element of building construction, when exposed to fire on one side, to restrict the temperature rise of the unexposed face to below specific levels.

Fire protection regulations are comprehensive, complex and diverse. The fire protection standards of building structures called for by each particular supervisory body vary according to type and use of the building, architecture, as well as the specific installation situation.

These diverse regulations and requirements for the use of fire-resistant glazing have led to the definition of the European standardised fire-resistance performance classification which comprises three classes.

E – Integrity

I – Insulation

W – Radiation

 

Though the common classifications used are E, and a combination of EI and EW. Normally the fire resistance classification is followed by number which is the limit in minutes, such as 15, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, 180, 240, or 360. This shows the time the performance criteria is fulfilled during a standardized fire test.

Class E –  Integrity

Fire-resistant glass which remains transparent in the event of fire offers protection from fire and smoke but does not reduce the transfer of dangerous radiant heat in the event of a fire (integrity only performance).

I  – Insulation

The insulation is classified by the letter ‘I’ and is the ability of a separating element of building construction when exposed to fire on one side, to restrict the temperature rise of the unexposed face to below specified levels.

W  –  Radiation

The radiation is classified by the letter ‘W’ and is the ability of the element of construction to withstand fire exposure on one side only, so as to reduce the probability of the transmission of fire as a result of significant radiated heat either through the element or from its unexposed surface to adjacent materials.

Class EI
Fire-resistant glass in this category offers highest level of protection from fire, smoke and radiant heat for a defined period of time (from 30 up to 180 minutes).

Class EW

Glass in this category offers an integrity performance (protection from fire and smoke) whilst reducing transfer of dangerous radiant heat.

Energy efficient glass is specialist glass that helps improve the energy efficiency of a building. Energy efficient glass can give a greater protection against heat or cold; or both in some circumstances.

The thermal insulation helps prevent heat escaping and the conductive coating helps capture warmth from natural daylight. If you are looking for high-energy efficiency levels this is the glass for you – speak to us about your specific requirements.

This is specialist glass that considerably reduces outside noise, especially from external sources such as motorways, high streets and airports. Acoustic glass can also help manage noise levels and noise interruption from internal sources such as the sound of people in open office spaces, hospitals or schools. Click here for more information on acoustic glass.

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