Correctly specifying and installing fire resisting systems and fire protection construction products (also known as passive fire protection products) is fundamental to fire safety in buildings. Yet, so often quality has been neglected in favor of cost… But are you really saving money, and is that the only consideration here?
The fact that deferring passive fire costs will result in additional costs tomorrow often is not fully taken into consideration by senior management. In tough economic times, long-term cost-effectiveness takes a back seat to short-term budget balancing.
Passive fire protection systems and products generally form part of the fabric of a building and are vital to maintain means of escape and to contain the fire in the room of origin. They limit the spread of fire from one area to another, reducing loss and increasing the safety of building’s occupants and fire fighters.
Therefore, it is important that these products are manufactured and installed to the same quality as originally tested. The LPCB third party certification schemes for manufacturers and for installers provide assurance to specifiers and the approval authorities that the products and systems manufactured and installed will provide the fire protection required.
Now, when non-accredited personnel are employed to install passive fire measures and fill holes with foam to cut costs you save money, right? After all, anyone can pull out a mastic gun, squirt foam into that hole or joiner that door frame.
Well, no!, you see management’s cost-cutting directives for passive fire measures are sometimes based on unfounded premises and unrealistic expectations that will backfire. Many short-term decisions will come back to haunt construction, FM firms and property owners, who, over time, are responsible for cleaning up the unintended consequences. This is why it is imperative for managers and owners to proactively participate in the development and implementation of all passive-fire protection initiatives from the outset and ensure that fully third party accredited companies are used.
Why? Well, best case scenario you have to foot the bill for additional remedial work – that’s you money saving initiative down the drain. Worst case scenario, lives and property are lost to a fire – costing you more money and a severe hit to your unconscious I’m sure.
LPCB accreditation for peace of mind
Checkmate fire are LPCB accredited for a reason. LPCB has been assessing and approving fire resisting systems and fire protection construction products for more than 100 years and has one of the best equipped laboratories in the world. So, ensure you use accredited installers of fire resisting systems and fire protection construction products.
Remember, it is crucially important that systems are installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. These instructions can also specify the necessary fixings; any deviation at all from the system specification or method of build must be confirmed in writing before the work is commenced. It is often too late when the product has been installed to try to unpick things, and this can also lead to costly remediation work.
It is relatively easy to see that an intumescent strip has come away or that a door closer has failed, but it is more difficult to know that a plug socket cut into a partition or a hole cut in the wall above the ceiling or below the floor has compromised integrity. To help facility managers recognise the performance of a partition long after it has been installed, Checkmate fire always install to high standards, adhering to manufacturers guidelines and use ‘Fire performance labeling’ among it’s many measures of quality assurance.
Effective fire-stopping comes down to fully understanding the requirement ensure the correct specification, as well as using competent, fully trained and accredited operatives who understand the method of installation required to achieve the correct fire performance. Follow this guidance – and always seek advice from experts whenever necessary – to avoid your installation coming under question at an inquest to ascertain what went wrong where a fire destroyed property, or life.
If you need any help or advice in determining whether you’re building is safe, don’t hesitate to contact us. Checkmate Fire can organise a Site Survey, or if you don’t have a Fire Risk Assessment, or one that is ‘suitable and sufficient’ send us your details and we’ll be in touch.