Why Penetration Sealing is an Effective Passive Fire Protection Strategy

No matter whether a building is in residential, commercial, or industrial use, there is always the potential for a fire emergency, endangering lives and causing devastating losses.

To prevent this, fire safety measures need to be made a top priority and implemented to protect occupants and property.

Fire safety in buildings involves a layered approach, combining various active and passive measures to prevent, contain and reduce the impact of fires. Penetration sealing is an aspect of passive fire protection.

In this blog, we’ll explore how penetration sealing works and how to form an effective fire protection strategy.


What is Penetration Sealing?

Penetration sealing is the process of sealing openings or penetrations in building structures to prevent the spread of fire and smoke from one compartment to another.

These spaces include openings made for electrical conduits, pipes, cables, ducts, or any other services that break fire-resistant barriers like walls and floors.


What Areas Require Penetration Sealing?

Penetrations in a building are unavoidable because they are necessary for plumbing, electricity, HVAC systems and internet installation. However, they often breach fire-rated barriers, compromising the safety of the structure.

Sealing these following penetrations prevents fire and smoke from travelling through them and slows down the spread of flames to reduce potential damage:

  • Pipes
  • Cable baskets and trays
  • Air ducts
  • Waste pipes
  • Dampers


What Materials Are Used for Penetration Sealing?

Using appropriate materials for penetration sealing is crucial. Using insufficient materials that are not fire-resistant could compromise the safety of the sealant, making installation redundant. Here are the 4 key materials used for penetration sealing:

Mineral Wool Ablative Coated Board

Mineral wool boards are excellent for fire protection due to their ability to resist high temperatures. These boards are installed around penetrations to provide thermal insulation and prevent the spread of flames.

Intumescent Mastic

This mastic expands when exposed to heat creating a barrier that seals openings, providing a protective seal in case of a fire outbreak. High expansive intumescent mastic is also used, designed specifically for larger openings or voids.

Intumescent Paint

Similar to intumescent mastic, this paint expands when exposed to heat, forming a thick insulating layer.

Intumescent Pipe Collar

These collars wrap around pipes and, when heated, expand to create a tight seal.


Who can Install Penetration Sealants?

Professional installation of penetration seal is essential. While the process might seem straightforward, experts are trained to carry out the installation to specific standards, ensuring the sealant is effective and meets safety criteria.


What is a Passive Fire Protection Strategy?

A passive fire protection strategy focuses on utilising building design and materials to slow down the spread of fire, smoke, and heat, buying crucial time for occupants to evacuate and emergency services to be contacted.

Unlike active fire protection, such as fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems, which require manual activation, passive fire protection features are integrated into the structure of the building, meaning that they require no action during a fire.


What are the Key Elements of Passive Fire Protection?

  • Fire-resistant materials
  • Compartmentation
  • Smoke control measures
  • Sealing penetrations


Why is Penetration Sealing an Effective Fire Protection Feature?

Containment of Fire and Smoke

First and foremost, penetration sealing helps to stop the path of fire and smoke through openings, limiting the spread between compartments and giving occupants time for safe evacuation.

Helps Building to Retain Structural Integrity

By sealing penetrations, the structural integrity of fire-rated barriers remains intact, preventing the collapse or damage of these barriers during a fire.

Regulatory Compliance

If you are the owner, employer, or occupier of a building that isn’t a single private dwelling, you have a legal duty of care to ensure a fire risk assessment is carried out, and adequate fire safety measures implemented throughout the structure.

Versatile Applications

From small pipe penetrations to larger openings for ducts, cables or dampers, penetration sealing offers versatile solutions suitable for various building services.

Long-term Cost Efficiency

While the initial installation costs may vary depending on the size and complexity of penetrations, the long-term benefits far outweigh these costs by significantly reducing the potential damage from fire outbreaks.


Ensure Maximum Fire Safety Measures in Your Building with CPFP

AT CPFP, we understand the importance of maintaining a comprehensive fire safety strategy. That’s why our team of specialists are committed to carrying out highly qualified passive fire protection installation services. Our clients can rely on us for the installation and maintenance of:

  • Penetration sealing
  • Cavity barriers
  • Fire compounding
  • Fire doors

Don’t compromise on safety. Get in touch with the team at CPFP today to discover how we can reinforce your passive fire protection measures and safeguard your occupants and property.



Speak to Us Today.

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