Fire in a building is always unplanned and can be devastating, both to the property and also its occupants. That’s why passive fire protection is so important – it can not only help to protect the integrity of the building but also provide crucial escape time. Firestopping is an essential element in passive fire protection and there are a range of different solutions for ensuring that protection levels meet expectations in any building.
What is firestopping?
Essentially, it’s a fire protection system for a building that is made up of various elements that are used to seal openings and joints. These are applied to fire-resistance rated wall or floor assemblies to provide complete passive fire protection. The purpose of firestopping is to prevent the holes or gaps that can enable a rapid and uncontrolled spread of fire and smoke. Although small, these can have a significant impact on the fire resistance rating of structures. Firestopping can be used in a number of different openings, including control or sway joints, electrical and structural penetrations and junctions between fire-resistance-rated wall or floor assemblies.
The different solutions to firestopping
Fire proof insulation
The use of fire proof insulation significantly improves fire resistance within any building. It will help to slow the spread of flames if fire does break out and won’t produce the kind of toxic smoke that other insulation can. It can also help to provide some protection for the load-bearing structure of a building, which may be at risk as a result of a fire.
Sealant and coatings
Coatings can help to prevent the spread of a fire by resisting flames and forming an insulated char that protects the materials underneath. There are a range of different coatings available, such as an ablative coating. Sealant, too, can provide crucial protection by stopping up penetrations within walls, partitions, fire rated door frames and glazing systems to improve fire resistance. Many sealants also provide acoustic benefits and most will last several hours if a fire does break out.
Firestopping options for pipes include pipe collars, which are water resistant and provide hours of protection. Pipe collars can be retrofitted over plastic pipe work where it passes through fire resistant walls and floors. Pipe wraps are another, cost effective option for firestopping plastic pipe work.
Penetration void fillers
These are specific firestoppers that are available where compartment walls and floors have been penetrated as a result of something like service installation, leaving voids that need to be filled in order to bring fire performance back up to original standard.
Gaps and seals
Gaps in the construction of a building, as well as voids in compartment junctions and construction joints can allow fire and smoke to pass through and spread. Firestopping solutions, such as stone wool insulation, can prevent this from happening.
We offer a range of services for the installation of passive fire protection, including many firestopping options. Contact us to find out more about how to raise the fire resistance of your building by speaking to one of our expert team today.