Where Fire Compounding is important and how it Helps Prevent the Spread of Fires

Fire compounding plays a vital role in protecting both lives and property in the event of fire. Fire compounds reinforce existing fire defences to maximise their resistance to fire. By combining defences, properties and premises gain greater protection against fire, as the movement of fire is limited by a selection of defences.

In this blog from CPFP, we offer an informative guide to fire compounding – outlining what is meant by compartmentation and compounding, what materials are used for compounding and where compounding might be used. For more articles related to fire protection, visit our blog – articles include Fire Protection Solutions for Historical Buildings and Heritage Sites, The Role of Fire Dampers in HVAC Systems and Building Safety and How to Integrate Active and Passive Fire Protection.


What is fire compartmentation?

Fire compartmentation plays a vital role in reducing the spread of fire through a space or building. Fire Compartmentation works by dividing a room, space or building into a number of fire-resistant parts. By creating these divisions, a fire encounters a greater number of fire-resistant obstructions as it burns, this not only slows a fire down but also reduces potential damages and allows those inside more time to evacuate.


Fire compartmentation is most commonly implemented using fire-resistant walls and floors. Should there be any openings or penetration points on any of these walls, for example – windows, doors or ducts, it is vital that these features are installed and maintained in a way that reinforces the function of the compartmentation. If these are not installed and maintained effectively, it is possible that the fire resistance of the wall may be compromised, allowing fire and smoke to pass through and cause damage.

In order to maximise the long-term effectiveness of fire compartmentation, these fire-resistant walls and walls should also be maintained frequently – this allows for early detection of any faults or weaknesses that could limit the effectiveness of these fire-stopping divisions.


What is fire compounding?

 Fire compounding is used to reinforce structures such as concrete slabs that feature penetrations for wires or pipework. When a material features penetrations such as these, its fire resistance can be compromised. The compound will form a rigid seal that both provides structural integrity and prevents fire, smoke or other by-products from passing through the penetration holes and into other sections of a room or house. In addition to providing defence against the spread of fire, compounding also offers acoustic damping benefits.


In addition to having acoustic and fire-protective properties, compounds can also have impressive load-bearing properties which provide compressive and flexural strength to a structure. This property allows fire compounds to be installed at a variety of depths and over a number of floors.


What materials are used For Fire Compounding?

Different fire compounding varieties utilise different materials. A lightweight, non-combustible gypsum-based mixture is commonly used for fire compounding. Gypsum is a fire-resistant mineral that is soft in texture. Gypsum mixtures are suitable for use reinforcing both wall and floor penetrations.

Once a compound has been installed, it then accepts future services that penetrate the barrier without damage. When a site is ready, the gypsum mixture is combined with the appropriate proportion of water. The dry powder is added gradually to water while stirring, to produce a smooth mixture. The mixture can then be poured into penetrations or applied using tools. This gypsum mixture is versatile in its workability – setting sully after two to three hours.

As with many materials and fire-resistant products, it is always recommended that an installer checks the manufacturer’s instructions for particular recommendations or warmings.


Where is fire compounding important and why? 

 Fire compounding poses safety benefits in a range of contexts. Fire compounding provides an effective solution in instances where a building’s escape routes must be prioritised. Keeping escape routes clear not only helps to limit the damage caused to a building, it also assists those within the building in escaping quickly and as safely as possible.

In large buildings, fire compounding can also reduce the need for a full evacuation. If a fire compound is effective enough to contain the fire in one area of a building, it may not be necessary to evacuate the entirety of the premises. Without effective passive fire protection methods such as compounding, a fire could easily take quick hold of a building, no matter the size – posing risks to both a building’s contents and the safety of those within.

Fire compounding can also be especially valuable in certain contexts. For example, the presence of fire compounding is vital in high-risk environments such as factories, where flammable materials and sparking machinery pose a notable risk of fire. It is also common for fire compounds to be used in settings such as hospitals, schools and government buildings to maximise fire safety.

Fire compartmentation can also serve to add isolated protection to a particular area of a premises. Fire compounds can add an additional layer of protection to areas of particular financial or safety importance.


Fire Compounding solutions from CPFP

At CPFP, we have installed fire-compounding solutions within a wide range of public and private premises across the UK, including hospitals, schools and other government buildings, and industrial and private premises. Based in Bristol, we install and maintain fire compounding fixtures solutions across the UK, using our advanced quality control methods. Due to our extensive experience, we ensure compliance using only tested methods of installation and providing comprehensive documentation management for fire registers.


If you are looking to improve your current fire protection solution or install a brand-new fire protection system in your building, do not hesitate to get in touch with our team.

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Address: The Old Angel, Flax Bourton, Bristol, BS48 3QQ
Phone: 0117 450 9943
Email: info@cpfp.co.uk