A building should be designed to allow for both the escape of occupants and intervention by fire and rescue services in the event of a fire. Additional design requirements may also exist to protect the property  and contents themselves.

Passive Fire Protection measures are typically installed in a building to protect the structural integrity of the building, to limit the spread of fire and to limit / control smoke spread. Passive systems do not rely on detection of fire, and activation of countermeasures.

Building design codes refer to passive fire protection measures in terms of fire resistance performance and reaction to fire performance. These are typically expressed in Classes. For example – Fire Resistance in terms of Load Bearing Capacity / Thermal Insulation; Integrity, for a given period of time; and Reaction to Fire, in terms of Euroclass A-F.

Where is it used?

  • Care homes
  • High rise buildings
  • Houses
  • Hotels
  • Historic buildings
  • Hospitals
  • Industrial facilities
  • Logistics centres
  • Schools
  • Sports stadia
  • Bridges
  • Tunnels
  • Car Parks
  • Railways installations
  • On-shore hydrocarbon
  • Off-shore hydrocarbon
  • Supermarkets
  • Shopping centres
  • Basically everywhere!

Structural Steelwork

But “why protect steel from fire as it doesn’t burn?” is an often asked question. However structural steel does lose some of its strength and stiffness as it heats up. As temperatures in a fire can easily exceed 1000ºC, unprotected steel under load will start to lose its strength and stiffness, potentially leading to premature collapse within minutes.

Firestopping and Penetration Seals

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.

Fire-resisting Ductwork

Fire-resisting ventilation or (smoke) extraction ductwork is designed using proprietary materials and fixing techniques to contain fire and the products of combustion in a manner that does not allow passage to other parts of the building from the compartment of origin for a stipulated time period.

Fire-resisting Partitions

Non load bearing partitions are used in all types of buildings; the actual form of construction will be determined by the specified performance criteria and desired appearance.


There are two common types of fire that may occur in a hydrocarbon-processing complex. The first is a pool fire and this occurs when a flammable liquid leaks from a vessel or pipeline to form a fluid reservoir, which then ignites. The second, and potentially more dangerous type, is a jet fire which can happen following the rupture of a pressurised vessel and/or gas line.

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