What does early engagement in firestopping mean?

Traditionally, firestopping has been considered by main contractors after other subcontractor packages, such as the M&E, often several months after the start of the project. Ideally, specialist firestopping contractors, as well as the firestopping system manufacturers, need to be engaged as early as possible on a project, at the design stage. It needs to be ensured, that, when it comes to firestopping, principles allow it to happen in line with tested details and the manufacturers’ guidance.

Why is early engagement important?

To save lives

First and foremost, we need to remember that the ultimate reason we need to get firestopping right is to save lives. Should firestopping products need to fulfil their purpose in case of a fire outbreak, we need to ensure they work as they are supposed to.

To avoid extra costs and delays

To ensure buildings are safe and comply with relevant regulations, firestopping needs to be designed according to manufacturers’ tested details. If firestopping is not considered when decisions are made about the location of compartmentation walls and main routes of M&E services, there is no guarantee that the manufacturer will have a tested solution. If these discrepancies come to light too late in the project, participants can face serious extra costs and delays due to needing to redesign service penetrations. By involving the specialist firestopping contractor and the manufacturer in the early stages, these can be avoided.

To ensure compliant and achievable installations

Considering firestopping at the early stages will also facilitate work at the installation stage. It will give you more time to utilise all the support offered by the manufacturer and prepare installation work by training on-site labour and arranging procurement of the correct firestopping products according to the design.

To improve your reputation

Having a clear plan for firestopping will give you a competitive edge and will eliminate any concerns about non-compliance amidst increased scrutiny in the construction industry following the Grenfell tragedy and subsequent changes to legislation.

How can we support you with early engagement in firestopping?

We are keen advocates of early engagement in firestopping, and we are committed to educating the construction industry about the importance of fire safety. We are happy to be the catalyst of a cultural change and talk through benefits of early engagement with everyone involved in your organisation.

We work together with every single participant who should be involved in firestopping on a project, from design to installation, and offer the following value-added services and support material:

Early engagement consultation: To identify the needs of the project with the aim of putting together a package of standard installation details to suit. [see flowchart below]

Subsequent technical support: We specialise in firestopping, this is where our expertise lies. Our dedicated technical team is committed to answering any further questions and challenges that come up during later stages of the project.

Technical documentation: This is freely available from our website to support design and specification: NBS specifications, BIM models, tested detail drawings, and product datasheets.

High-level training: We offer a standard CPD training on Effective Passive Fire Protection. We can also provide bespoke training suited to educate your team about the benefits or early engagement, as well as to learn about Quelfire as a company and how we work with together with our customers.

Wide range of tested details: These are continuously updated based on commonly used scenarios and regular feedback from our customers. We carry out fire tests on a monthly basis and a significant proportion of our annual investment goes into R&D.

Training and documentation to support installation: We offer product training, Toolbox Talks and installation guides for all trades involved to support compliant installation.

Friendly and approachable team: We are all passionate about protecting people and property, keen to build long-term partnerships with our customers, and ready to help you with any questions you may have.

Promoting cultural change: We use every platform available to us to educate the industry about the importance of fire safety and are happy to support you in reinforcing the message.

What is required from you to embark on your early engagement journey?

  • In some cases, cultural change within your organisation
  • Appreciation that these are life safety decisions
  • Dedication to ‘do it right for the first time around’
  • Attention to detail
  • Cross-party communication and coordination
  • Competency – knowing what you don’t know and being prepared to ask for help

Book your early engagement consultation

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