Passive fire protection is not just a necessary precaution for any building but is also required by law. The Building Regulations set out when and how it’s necessary to have specific passive fire protection measures in place. If you want to ensure that your business is compliant in 2019 then this will be essential reading.
The importance of passive fire protection
The main role of passive fire protection is to create safer conditions for escape and help to preserve structures for as long as possible. It will increase the fire resistance of a building so that escape routes can be kept clear and the building can withstand as much fire damage as possible before the emergency services arrive. Passive fire protection can also help to prevent injury to occupants of a building on fire – for example, many passive fire protection measures are designed to stop the spread of the hot gases and smoke that can be fatal for humans. Some examples of passive fire protection include:
- Fire walls
- Fire doors
- Fire resistant glazing
- Dampers that help prevent the spread of smoke through ductwork
- Firestopping to compartmentalise the building to stop fire and smoke from spreading
Legal passive fire protection obligations for 2019
There are different rules that make up the legal obligations for passive fire protection. These apply both to new build and existing buildings, as well as to residential and non-residential structures. One of the key obligations is contained in The Building Regulations 2010, Fire Safety, Approved Document B. Requirement B3. This applies specifically to new build, extension or modernisation works and requires:
“Where reasonably necessary to inhibit the spread of fire within the building, measures shall be taken, to an extent appropriate to the size and intended use of the building, comprising either or both of the following –
(a) sub-division of the building with fire-resisting construction;
(b) installation of suitable automatic fire suppression systems.
The building shall be designed and constructed so that the unseen spread of fire and smoke within concealed spaces in its structure and fabric is inhibited.”
Another key obligation is found in 10.2 of the Regulations. This relates to fire stopping and the requirements for ensuring that sealing or fire stopping is applied to openings and joints between fire-separating elements, such as pipes, conduits or cables.
Compliance with the regulations
Installation of passive fire protection measures will have a big impact on whether compliance has been achieved. This should always be carried out by specialists in order to ensure that the final result meets the right compliance standard. The fire resistance of passive fire protection measures can be significantly undermined by poor installation or a lack of testing. Each component of passive fire protection should have a fire resistance rating and be tested against the relevant current British standard.
Make sure you’re meeting standards of legal compliance for 2019 by reviewing the passive fire protection measures you have in place. We are specialists in ensuring buildings are both safe and compliant – contact us to discuss your requirements.