Firestopping forms part of passive fire protection and is a key component in comprehensive fire resistance. No matter what the age of the building, its uses or occupants, it’s essential to ensure that you have the right firestopping measures in place to help manage the outbreak of a fire if such an event occurs.
The purpose of using firestopping measures
Alongside other passive fire protection measures, such as fire doors and smoke dampers, firestopping has a crucial role to play in creating conditions that can help to slow down or stop a fire. It is effectively a combination of fire rated floors, walls and ceilings, which have been properly sealed so as to prevent the spread of fire and smoke. Without firestopping measures, investment in fire rated doors or walls may be useless as gaps and openings can still allow smoke and fire to pass through. However, when firestopping measures are in place, fire-resistant materials are used to ensure that this does not happen.
Firestopping measures to consider
Firestopping can be used to help seal up a wide range of opening types, including mechanical or structural penetrations as well as those that have been made in Floors / walls or ceilings for electrical cables to pass through. The control or sway joints in a fire resistance rated wall, junctions between walls and floors, as well as points of re-entry of existing firestops can also be firestopped.
When considering firestopping measures it’s important to ensure that the materials used are fit for purpose.
The importance of maintenance
Firestopping measures require ongoing maintenance and monitoring to ensure that they remain effective. Where firestopping doesn’t exist, where it has been inadequately maintained or repaired or the wrong materials used, this will diminish the fire resistance rating of walls, floors and ceilings. If a fire does break out, firestopping that has not been maintained correctly is unlikely to provide proper protection when it comes to containing smoke and fire.
Firestopping measures for your building
Every building needs to have a plan for adequate firestopping in place.
• Identify areas in the building where firestopping is inadequate or missing
• Work with a consultant to establish the best firestopping options to achieve the highest levels of fire resistance for your building
• Create a schedule for timely repair and maintenance of firestopping measures
• Regularly review firestopping measures in place as the needs of the building changes or work is carried out