Passive Fire Protection Regulations, Standards and Accreditations
Passive Fire Protection (PFP), when installed correctly, can help to prevent the spread of fire and consequently save lives and building structures. Due to its significance, there are many regulations and standards regarding fire safety measures to ensure buildings are as safe as possible. PFP systems are inactive installations, often into the structure of a building, that work to compartmentalise fires, limiting the spread of smoke and fire, to give people time to evacuate safely and for emergency services to arrive, implementing Active Fire Protection (AFP) measures.
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In this guide, our PFP experts here at CPFP explain the relevant various regulations, standards and accreditations that involve PFP. As accredited installers of PFP, it is our duty to ensure PFP measures are well designed and implemented to keep people safe as well as meet compliance.
Passive Fire Protection: Building Regulations
The Building Regulations stipulate how all buildings in the UK should be designed and built, ensuring those carrying out building works are held to equal standards. All new builds, modernisations and extension works must be done in accordance to the latest building regulations (2010), found here.
The Building Regulations 2010, Fire Safety, Approved Document B outlines the need for effective PFP measures, including cavity barriers, in all common building situations. Volume 2, p. 67, Requirement B3 stipulates the following:
- 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.
PFP measures that compartmentalise and restrict the spread of fire effectively fulfil the above requirement. Find out more about structural fire protection here.
Fire stopping methods, such as penetration sealing and fire compounding, are explicitly mentioned in 10.2 of the regulations (p. 85).
If a fire-separating element is to be effective, every joint or imperfection of fit, or opening to allow services to pass through the element, should be adequately protected by sealing or fire-stopping so that the fire resistance of the element is not impaired.
The main areas for sealing concern are openings for pipes and ventilation ducts etc., with more detail given in 10:17:
- joints between fire-separating elements should be fire-stopped;
- all openings for pipes, ducts, conduits or cables to pass through any part of a fire-separating element should be:
- a) kept as few in number as possible; and
- b) kept as small as practicable; and
- c) fire-stopped (which, in the case of a pipe or duct, should allow thermal movement).
Penetrations are significant as even small gaps can compromise the fire resistance of a room. Products filling these gaps must be certified to resist fire and are commonly intumescent, meaning the material stays dormant in normal conditions but swells in the event of fire to fill any further gaps created by fire damage.
See more: Fire Stopping Products
Passive Fire Protection: Responsibility
Aside from The Building Regulations concerning the initial building work, there are orders to ensure the ongoing maintenance of effective fire systems through the appointment of ‘Responsible Persons’.
As outlined by The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, applicable in England and Wales, business owners, employers, premises managers and other such roles may be designated as Responsible Persons, in charge of minimum fire safety measures. The role entails duties relating to building and user fire safety such as conducting fire risk assessments and making sure general fire precautions are satisfactory.
It is also a Responsible Persons’ job to maintain or create a Fire Register, an essential document for each building that outlines the fire measures in place, records of testing and maintenance, and home to fire risk assessments.
Find out more with our helpful guide to Fire Registers.
Passive Fire Protection: Products Testing and Certification
PFP products must be up to relevant British standards regarding fire resistance.
British Standard BS476: 1987 concerns the fire tests performed on building materials and structures. It outlines the time/temperature profile for testing of fire-resistant materials under fire conditions. Only once a product has been sufficiently tested and held up to the required conditions can it be deemed ‘fire resistant’ according to British Standards.
See more: Passive Fire Protection Products & Materials
Passive Fire Protection: Accreditations
It is critical to use certified PFP installers to ensure PFP is designed and installed correctly first time, saving money and potentially lives down the line. Accreditations, such as IFCC for certified members of the International Fire Consultants (IFC), highlights installers that are recognised in the industry as reputable and reliable.
Accreditations are often reviewed annually or sporadically, so those with accreditations prove that they are not only effective and reputable, but also continually delivering a high standard.
Check out CPFP’s accreditations >
Get Started with CPFP
If you are looking for professional PFP installations by accredited experts, get in touch with CPFP! Our team of expert, certified PFP installers have a wealth of experience in designing and installing effective PFP measures to protect buildings. From schools and hospitals, to offices and residential buildings, we have created compliant, safe PFP solutions.
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