There are techniques that will minimise the effect a fire has on a building and these should form an integral part of the design of all new buildings. Specifiers and architects must look at dividing a building into fire (and smoke) compartments aiming to limit the spread of fire beyond the compartment in which the fire has started – this is known as compartmentation.
It is essential to maintain integrity of the compartmentation lines where services breach fire resting walls / floors / ceilings in such applications as:
- multi-service openings through walls and floors
- blank service openings through walls and floors
- combustible pipes (plastics)
- cavity barriers
- construction joints
- any imperfection of fit to a fire-rated building element
Proprietary penetration seal/service opening fire protection systems include boards, batts, mortars, sealants, collars, wraps, pillows, curtains and linear joints. Penetration seal systems are available for up to 4 hours integrity and, in some cases, insulation against a cellulosic fire, in accordance with European standards. Products are also available to protect against hydrocarbon fires.
Penetration seal and firestopping systems must be specified and installed in strict compliance with the manufacturer’s test, assessment and certification for that application. Seals should be used as a tested system. All firestopping should be installed by a competent, preferably certified contractor, in compliance with the manufacturer’s application instructions and product data sheets.