The ‘Stay put’ policy follows simple guidelines; those occupants of the flat where the fire started must evacuate the premises and summon the Fire Service. If a fire occurs in a common area, people in that area should leave the building and call the emergency services. The remainder of the building’s occupants are often safer to remain in their flats, unless told otherwise by the Fire Service. As well as avoiding unnecessary evacuations this also means that residents from unaffected flats are not blocking the stairways and exit routes, and the fire service, when they arrive, can safely evacuate residents’ floor by floor if need be. The safety of residents staying in a building does, however, rely on compartmentation being present and correct.
Select a letter above to view glossary terms.
In Scotland, ministers are responsible for making building standards and the associated technical guidance documents. The building (Scotland) Act 2033 grants these powers. The main purpose of the standards is to ensure the building is safe, efficient and sustainable. They do not control the building process but outline the essential standards that are to be met during building works or conversions. The key functions of the building standard system are to: Prepare the building standards and produce guidance on how to attain the standards, Assist local authorities making decisions on compliance, Allow relaxations of the standards in exceptional circumstances, Maintain a register of approved certifiers, Regulate the certification system, Regulate the performance of verifiers, and Verify crown building work. There are two technical handbooks which provide guidance on achieving the building standards: Domestic Handbook and Non-Domestic Handbook. Certification is an optional scheme for the implementation of building standards applicable to work that requires a building warrant. It can only be undertaken by a registered, approved certifier of design or construction holding the appropriate designations and employed by an appropriate body of business.
The building standards technical handbooks provide guidance on achieving the standards set in the Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004.
The building standards technical handbooks provide guidance on achieving the standards set in the Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004. This handbook applies to a building warrant submitted on or after 1 October 2019 and to building work which does not require a warrant commenced from that date.
Fitting provided to close a gap for the purpose of controlling the passage of air, smoke, water, fire, sound, etc. See: BS8214: 2008.
An approved device that will ensure closing after having been opened.
Local mechanical support provided in the form of clips, ties, hangers or any device designed to carry the load of the penetrating services. The service support construction does not include cable carriers.
A service in passive fire protection terms is a system such as a cable, conduit, pipe (with or without insulation) or trunking.
An enclosed space extending through one or more stories of a building, connecting vertical openings in successive floors, or floors and roof.
Mineral Wool Shuttering Slab provides a simple means of shuttering to allow the use of Fire Protection compounds.
Is a Prepared opening in a separating element wall/ floor designed for services to pass through. It is a type of builder’s hole.
A seal intended for penetrations with only one service passing through.
A pipe closure device that passes completely through the fire separating element and may include an outer casing.
Smoke Barriers are a smoke/gas resistant barrier used to prevent the spread of smoke and/or gases.
Smoke dampers are driven by a motor, referred to as an actuator. A probe connected to the motor is installed in the run of the duct and detects smoke, either in the air which has been extracted from or is being supplied to a room, or elsewhere within the run of the duct. Once smoke is detected, the actuator will automatically close the smoke damper until it is manually re-opened.
Although like Fire Seals, Smoke Seals are placed around the edges of doors and windows and work in a slightly different manner. Whereas fire seals only become visible when they expand in the case of a fire, smoke seals are constantly present and visible. They work by creating a barrier that smoke struggles to pass through.
The result of a factory and/or field method of joining or connecting two or more lengths of a fire-resistive joint system into a continuous entity.
application of intumescent or endothermic paints, or fibrous or cementitious plasters to keep substrates such as structural steel, electrical or mechanical services, valves, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vessels, vessel skirts, bulkheads or decks below either 140 °C for electrical items or ca. 500 °C for structural steel elements to maintain operability of the item to be protected.
Stability is the fire protection element’s ability to resist collapse because of the heat from a fire whilst maintaining its performance. These elements include fire rated partitions or barriers which have been designed specifically to provide compartmentation between rooms, zones or escape routes. This reading is denoted by the letter “R”.
Structural fire protection guards’ essential structural components (such as structural steel and joint systems) from the effects of fire. This is accomplished with a fireproofing material (spray-on thin-film intumescent, endothermic materials like gypsum-based plasters and cementitious products, mineral wool wraps and insulation, and fireproofing cladding) or building the structure out of concrete products.
Components of wood or metal that, when assembled form a framework to which board facings are fixed to form a stud partition.
The wall or floor construction used to support the penetration seal.
Person or organisation who owns the performance evidence of a system.
An ablative material develops a char that has thermal insulation characteristics and resists erosion from fire and flames.
Ablative Coated Fire Batt is a specially designed insulation batt that acts as an air seal barrier whilst reinforcing fire resistance and acoustic performance of concrete floors, masonry walls and drylining systems.
The Ablative Coating is used in conjunction with the Ablative Coated batt to enhance fire performance. It can also be used in additional fire stopping applications such as linear and trapezoidal applications to provide an effective seal to inhibit the passage of smoke.
An accelerant is a material, usually a flammable liquid, that is used either to start or spread a fire more quickly.
Acrylic sealant is a synthetic, water-based ingredient made from acrylic resins, used for caulking, jointing and filling cracks and gaps
Active Fire Protection (AFP) is a group of systems that require special energisation or a command signal to operate, and includes: Detection systems, Alarm Systems, Sprinkler/ water mist systems, Other fire suppression systems, e.g. gaseous, and Smoke control systems. Many active systems such as a fire alarm will be actuated by a signal in response to the triggering of a detector responding to heat, smoke, CO etc. within its proximity. Alternatively, or in addition these systems will usually be operable by manual triggering, e.g. from a control room or ‘ break glass’ box. Other active systems, such as powder, gas or water filled extinguishers may also be activated via a detector system, or operated manually via a portable hand held device. Fixed sprinkler systems are designed to activate when the temperature around the sprinkler head becomes high enough to activate the sprinkler in question. Other active fire protection measures include systems such as fire hoses and fire fighting risers, whilst in some instances active and passive measures may combine to form a fire fire protection solution, for example, the use of smoke/ fire detector to instigate the closure of a fire door or the deployment of a smoke ventilation system.
As assessment specifically written for a particular set of circumstances or construction project.
Some penetration seal products may have test evidence created by ad hoc testing to BS476: 20. The testing is deemed ad hoc because the British Standard BS476:20 does not specifically deal with penetration seals.
Air Transfer Grilles are fitted into walls and some doors; and ductwork to keep fresh air circulating. In a fire, intumescent grilles expand to form a solid block that stops fire spreading.
The annulus, or annular space, is the space between a penetrant and whatever surrounds it, such as the sides of an opening or a sleeve, as the case may be. Sometimes an annulus can be “offset”, meaning that the penetrant is not centred. If the firestop was tested only to a perfectly centred opening, an offset may disqualify it for use in the field. In practical terms, an offset penetrant or annulus may very well present an added degree of difficulty for passing the fire test. A metallic sleeve as well as a metallic penetrant will conduct heat through the firestop. Insulation on the bottom of floor systems or in the middle of wall systems, as is the case with caulking or paint based (soft) systems, will encourage more heat to travel through the sleeve and the penetrant, which can put more stress on the seal on the unexposed side. In the case of a thin (below 4″) firestop mortar, there is also more potential hazard from tight annular spacing because metal expands during the fire, thus squeezing the firestop – only to rapidly shrink when hit with the hose-stream test, which can let water through, thus failing the H rating in Canada or the entire rating in the US, where hose-stream testing is mandatory. Such a failure may no longer be visible once the test assembly has reached ambient temperatures again. For all these considerations, the annular space is a critical aspect of field approvals.
An opening, hole, gap or space through which light travels.
Government Building regulations for fire safety in residential homes, including new and existing dwellings, flats, residential accommodation, schools, colleges and offices.
A means of automatically detecting the products of a fire and sending a signal to a fire warning system.
A sample defining the detailing and quality of a penetration seal.
A seal for an aperture through a fire separating element designed to maintain the fire resistance of a fire separating element for the duration of the specified fire resistance period without incorporating penetrating services.
A flat panel, manufactured from gypsum, fibre gypsum, GRG, cement or calcium silicate.
The body responsible for enforcing building regulations on a project and assisting with compliance by given feedback on plans and providing site inspections This may be a local authority building control officer or an approved inspector.
Government Building regulations for fire safety in residential homes, including new and existing dwellings, flats, residential accommodation, schools, colleges and offices.
A dividing wall or barrier between separate compartments.
A strip or bar of rigid metal that conducts electricity, either as a single element or within a Bus bar trunking unit.
Unit of bus bar trunking system complete with bus bars, their supports and insulation, external enclosure and any fixing and connection means to other units, with or without tap-off facilities.
A term used in conjunction with Intumescent Sealant and Fire Batt. Example Intumescent sealant buttered to all exposed mineral wool edges of the Fire Batt.
A component of a cable installation system for the continuous support of cables, such s cable ladder, cable trays or cable baskets.
Application of fire retardants, which are either endothermic or intumescent, to reduce flame spread and smoke development of combustible cable-jacketing.
Fire Collars that are fixed to form work prior to the pouring of a concrete slab.
A construction, other than a smoke curtain, provided to close a concealed space against penetration of smoke or flame, or provided to restrict the movement of smoke or flame within such a space.
CE marking is a certification mark that indicates conformity with health, safety, and environmental protection standards for products sold within the European Economic Area. The CE marking is also found on products sold outside the EEA that have been manufactured to EEA standards.
A declaration of the conformity with the type of approval of EC. The purpose of this document is to ensure the free movement of goods within the European Union, specifically for those goods that are subject to homologation and registration.
Partially burn to blacken the surface.
Boards used for the same purpose and in the same applications as spray fireproofing. Materials for such cladding include perlite, vermiculite, calcium silicate, gypsum, intumescent epoxy, Durasteel (cellulose-fibre reinforced concrete and punched sheet-metal bonded composite panels), MicroTherm.
A performance level assigned to a product following test to a European Standard.
Closures (fire dampers) Sometimes firestops are treated in building codes identically to closures. Canada de-rates closures, where, for instance a 2-hour closure is acceptable for use in a 3-hour fire separation, so long as the fire separation is not an occupancy separation or firewall. The lowered rating is then referred to as a fire protection rating, both for firestops, unless they contain plastic pipes and regular closures.
Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is a wood panel product made from gluing together layers of solid-sawn lumber, i.e., lumber cut from a single log. Each layer of boards is usually oriented perpendicular to adjacent layers and glued on the wide faces of each board, usually in a symmetric way so that the outer layers have the same orientation. An odd number of layers is most common, but there are configurations with even numbers as well (which are then arranged to give a symmetric configuration). Regular timber is an anisotropic material, meaning that the physical properties change depending on the direction at which the force is applied. By gluing layers of wood at right angles, the panel can achieve better structural rigidity in both directions. It is like plywood but with distinctively thicker laminations or lamellae.
Smoke at ambient temperatures.
A pipe closure device incorporating an outer casing which acts as a restraint for an intumescent material, enabling the collar to be either surface fixed to the fire separating element or incorporated within it.
Able to catch fire and burn easily.
A fire-resisting wall or floor that provide a barrier and separate one fire compartment from another.
Compartmentation is an important element of ‘passive fire protection’ and is achieved by dividing the premises into ‘fire compartments’ through the use of fire doors, floors and walls of fire-resisting construction, cavity barriers within roof voids and fire stopping to services that penetrate through these dividing elements.
Fire Protection Compound is intended for use as a gap filling material where cables, ducts or pipework services penetrate fire compartment floors and walls. See Also Mortar, Fire Protection Compound, QF1, QF2 and QF4.
A metal or plastic casing designed to accommodate cables, normally circular in section.
COSHH stands for the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations. These Regulations require employers to control exposure to hazardous substances to prevent ill health. Hazardous substances include: certain chemicals, bacteria and other microorganisms, certain dusts, any other substance which has comparable health effects. To comply with the Regulations the employer must: assess the risks to health arising from hazardous substances created by the work activity, and decide what precautions are needed to prevent or adequately control exposure. The Regulations have a hierarchy of control measures which must be followed. If it is possible the activity or process must be changed so that the hazardous substance is not used or generated, or a safer alternative should be used. Only if prevention is not reasonably practicable should the exposure be controlled by methods such as enclosure and ventilation. The last control measure should be the use of personal protective equipment. The employer must make sure that the control measures are properly used and maintained. If necessary, they must monitor exposure and under some circumstance’s health surveillance must be provided. Employees must also be properly informed, trained and supervised. Just having safety data sheets on file is not sufficient to comply with the requirements.
An activity that professionals engage in to develop and enhance their abilities. It enables learning to become conscious and proactive, rather than passive and reactive. CPD combines different methodologies to learning, such as training workshops, conferences and events, e-learning programs, best practice techniques and ideas sharing, all focused for an individual to improve and have effective professional development.
Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) is a thermoplastic produced by chlorination of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin, which is significantly more flexible and can withstand higher temperatures than standard PVC. Uses include hot and cold-water delivery pipes and industrial liquid handling. CPVC, as PVC, is deemed safe for the transport and use of potable water, potable meaning water used for drinking, cooking, and bathing.
A movable metal plate in a flue or chimney, used to regulate the draught and so control the rate of combustion.
Deflection is the bending or “sag” caused by loading. Allowable deflection is generally expressed as a fraction of the span, in inches. All structural members will deflect or flex under load. The amount of flex depends on the magnitude of the load applied, span of the member, and stiffness of the member. Typically for better performing floors minimal defection is desired.
Dry film thickness (DFT) is the thickness of a coating as measured above the substrate. This can consist of a single layer or multiple layers. DFT is measured for cured coatings (after the coating dries). Thickness of a coating depends on the application and type of process employed. Proper thickness should be determined by recommended coating system parameters.
Ducts are conduits or passages used in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) to deliver and remove air. The needed airflows include, for example, supply air, return air, and exhaust air. Ducts commonly also deliver ventilation air as part of the supply air. As such, air ducts are one method of ensuring acceptable indoor air quality as well as thermal comfort. A duct system is also called ductwork. Planning (laying out), sizing, optimizing, detailing, and finding the pressure losses through a duct system is called duct design.
The durability of reactive materials may change significantly when exposed to specific conditions. This change may result in a product not achieving the expected performance. This indicates that the product probably does not meet the required resistance to the intended application conditions. Where a product is not subject to further processing (e.g. external protection or encapsulation) to achieve its final form, it shall be tested for durability in accordance with the guidance in this document. Where a product is subject to further processing, such as encapsulation in waterproof casings, the durability tests should be conducted in accordance with the product specification. The following types of final intended use conditions are considered to be relevant for reactive materials, components and products and should be tested correspondingly: Type X: intended for use at conditions exposed to weathering. Type Y1: intended for use at temperatures below 0°C with exposure to UV but no exposure to rain. Type Y2: intended for use at temperatures below 0°C, but with no exposure to rain nor UV. Type Z1: intended for use at internal conditions with high humidity, excluding temperatures below 0°C. Type Z2: intended for use at internal conditions with humidity classes other than Z1, excluding temperatures below 0°C. Note: Materials that meet requirements for type X, meet the requirements for all other types. Materials that meet requirements for type Y1 also meet the requirements for type Y2, Z1 and Z2. Materials that meet the requirements for type Y2 also meet the requirements for type Z1 and Z2. Materials that meet the requirements for type Z1, also meet the requirements for type Z2.
Documentation of the methods and criteria accepted in European Organisation for technical Assessment (EOTA) as being applicable for the assessment of the performance of a construction product in relation to its essential characteristics.
Any material exhibiting elastic or rubber-like properties. Elastomeric materials are generally measured in material type, compound, and durometer (the hardness of the material).
Boxes or wraps made of fireproofing materials, including fire-resistive wraps and tapes to protect speciality valves and other items deemed to require protection against fire and heat – an analogy for this would be a safe or the provision of circuit integrity measures to keep electrical cables operational during an accidental fire.
If something is endothermic it absorbs heat, preventing the temperature from rising on the other side of the barrier.
The European Technical Assessment is a document providing information about the performance of a construction product to be declared in relation to its essential characteristics. The ETA provides a way for the manufacturer to CE Mark a product.
An expansion joint is a created joint between two sections of a concrete floor slab, which gets narrower when the panels of the slab expand, due to an increase in ambient temperature.
Fire Barriers are a fire-resistant barrier used to prevent the spread of fire for a prescribed period.
A dense mineral wool board, but light weight in comparison to Fire boards. Typically used for sealing penetrations.
A product that is used to stop fire and typically protect structural steel and duct work. This product varies in weight, size and thickness dependent on which supplier it comes from. The thickness also effects the level of Fire Rating for the asset it is protecting.
Fire caulk is designed to expand and fill that void of the melted pipe during a fire. Most fire caulks begin to start activating at temperatures greater than 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Since more lives are lost by the smoke of fires, fire caulk is also designed to help keep smoke from spreading.
Fire collars are designed to maintain fire resistance levels by surrounding pipes and other penetrations with intumescent compounds that expand throughout the fire, preventing flames and hot gases passing into other compartments.
Fire covers are designed for stopping fires in electric light units in fire rated suspended ceilings. In the event of a fire, the cover expands internally to fill all the available space with a fire resistant, highly insulating char.
A fire curtain is a specially constructed curtain that descends from the ceiling to block an opening and stop fire and smoke spreading between two areas. In larger structures, several fire curtains are used which divide the building into ‘fire compartments’ when there is a fire. A fire curtain is similar to a metal roller shutter in that it descends vertically as it un-rolls from a ‘top box’, however because a fire curtain is made of a woven fibre glass material, it is much more flexible and compact. This means a curtain can be more closely fitted within a space and therefore provides much better compartmentation. The compact construction of fire curtains makes them an ideal choice for lobbies, hatches and stairwells where there is limited space. When included in the design stage of a building, they can be recessed into walls and ceilings leaving a thin slit as the only indication that the curtain is there. There are several types of fire curtain: Automatic Fire curtains: most non-static fire curtains are in fact automatic. They are linked to the fire alarm system, so they automatically descend when there is a fire. Static Fire Curtains: also called fixed fire curtains, these curtains are permanently in place and are used to provide compartmentation in open spaces such as warehouses or lofts. Insulated Fire Curtains: these curtains provide extra insulation and allow people to pass by much closer to the curtain without being affected by the heat of the fire on the other side.
Devices designed to impede the spread of fire through walls, floors and partitions. Fire dampers are installed in the ducts of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems which penetrate fire-resistant constructions. When a rise in temperature occurs, the fire damper closes, usually activated by a thermal element which melts at temperatures higher than ambient but low enough to indicate the presence of a fire, allowing springs to close the damper blades. Fire dampers can also close following receipt of an electrical signal from a fire alarm system utilising detector remote from the damper, indicating the sensing of heat or smoke in the building occupied spaces or in the HVAC duct system.
A Fire Door is intended to restrict the passage of a fire when it is closed. It can also be designed to restrict the spread of any smoke generated by the fire. Fire doors and their frames and fixtures are designed to perform in a predictable way so that they will “fail” after a given period of time allowing occupants to escape through an alternative route.
A fire engineer, by education, training and experience understands the following: The nature and characteristics of fire, The mechanisms of fire spread, The control of fire and the associated products of combustion, How fires originate spread within and outside buildings/structures can be detected, controlled, and/or extinguished, Anticipate the behaviour of materials, structures, machines, apparatus, and processes as related to the protection of life, property and the environment from fire, Understands the interactions and integration of fire safety systems and all other systems in buildings, industrial structures and similar facilities. A fire Engineer should be able to make use of all the above and any other required knowledge to undertake the practice of fire engineering.
Fire Engineering is the application of scientific and engineering principles, rules [Codes], and expert judgement, based on an understanding of the phenomena and effects of fire and of the reaction and behaviour of people to fire, to protect people, property and the environment from the destructive effects of fire. These objectives will be achieved by a variety of means including such activities as: the assessment of the hazards and risks of fire and its effects, the mitigation of potential fire damage by proper design, construction, arrangement, and use of buildings, materials, structures, industrial processes, transportation systems and similar, the appropriate level of evaluation for the optimum preventive and protective measures necessary to limit the consequences of fire, the design, installation, maintenance and/or development of fire detection, fire suppression, fire control and fire related communication systems and equipment, the direction and control of appropriate equipment and manpower in the strategy and function of firefighting and rescue operations, Post-fire investigation and analysis, evaluation and feedback.
A fire-resistant interior wall intended to prevent the spread of fire or to provide protection to occupants during the evacuation process of a burning building.
Fire Protection Compound is intended for use as a gap filling material where cables, ducts or pipework services penetrate fire compartment floors and walls. See Also Compound, Mortar, QF1, QF2 and QF4.
Adhesive pads and linings for use with a wide range of electrical boxes.
Means the ability of a building component to resist a fully developed fire, while still performing its function for a graded period of minutes.
Ability of a component or construction of a building to meet for a stated period of time some or all of the appropriate criteria of relevant standards. See BS EN 1363-1, BS 476-7 and associated standards for further information.
Used on structural steel, mechanical ductwork and dry walls can be achieved with several products e.g. 16mm fire check plaster and fire rated boards installed in accordance with its tested system to achieve compliance.
Often called fire retardants, or mistakenly called “fireproof” paints, intumescent paints refer to that class of designed paints which swell and form a protective “char” as a result of extreme heat exposure – such as a fire – increasing in volume.
Fire-resistant glass is glass using multi-layer intumescent technology or wire mesh embedded within the glass may be used in the fabrication of fire-resistance rated windows in walls or fire doors.
A Fire Risk Assessment is an organised and methodical look at your premises, the activities carried on there and the likelihood that a fire could start and cause harm to those in and around the premises. The aims of the fire risk assessment are: To identify the fire hazards, To reduce the risk of those hazards causing harm to as low as reasonably practicable, To decide what physical fire precautions and management arrangements are necessary to ensure the safety of people in your premises if a fire does start. The term ‘where necessary’ (see Regulatory Reform Section Above) is used in the Order, therefore when deciding what fire precautions and management arrangements are necessary you will need to take account of this definition. The terms ‘hazard’ and ‘risk’ are used throughout this guide and it is important that you have a clear understanding of how these should be used. Hazard: anything that has the potential to cause harm. Risk: the chance of that harm occurring. If your organisation employs five or more people or your premises are licensed or an alteration notice requiring it is in force, then the significant findings of the Fire Risk Assessment, the actions to be taken as a result of the assessment and details of anyone especially at risk must be recorded. You will probably find it helpful to keep a record of the significant findings of your fire risk assessment even if you are not required to do so.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 covers general fire precautions and other fire safety duties which are needed to protect ‘relevant persons’ in case of fire. The order requires fire precautions to be put in place ‘where necessary’ and to the extent that it is reasonable and practicable. Responsibility for complying with the Order rests with the ‘responsible person’. In a workplace this is principally the employer and then any other person who may have control of any part of the premises, e.g. the occupier or owner. In all other premises the person or people in control will be responsible. The responsible person must carry out a fire risk assessment which must focus on the safety in case of fire of all relevant persons. It should pay attention to those at special risk and must include consideration of any dangerous substance likely to be on the premises. The risk assessment will help identify risks that can be removed or reduced and to decide the extent of the general fire precautions necessary. If 5 or more are employed (or a license is in force for the premises) then the significant findings of the risk assessment must be recorded.
Fire sealants and gap fillers expand when heated at high temperatures blocking gaps and slowing down the spread of fire.
A compartment wall, compartment floor or construction that encloses a protected escape route and/ or a place of special fire hazard.
Fire sleeves are designed to fill or seal an aperture created by pipes or cables passing through a fire-rated wall or ceiling by expanding to fill the available space, preventing the passage of fire and smoke to the adjacent compartment.
A seal provided to close an imperfection of fit or design tolerance between elements or components, to restrict the passage of fire and smoke.
Cavity fire barrier manufactured from rock fibre mineral wool insulation for masonry construction.
Is a fire protection system made of various components used to seal openings, control joints in fire resistant walls, floors, or assemblies.
Also called the Combustion Triangle, this is a simple model for understanding the necessary ingredients for most fires. The triangle illustrates the three elements a fire needs to ignite: heat, fuel, and an oxidizing agent (usually oxygen).
A plasterboard with fire resistant additives.
Firewalls not only have a rating, but they are also designed to sub-divide buildings such that if collapse occurs on one side, this will not affect the other side.
Drylining horizontal or vertical supporting construction consisting of studs or joists, including linings and optional insulation.
Flexible ducts (also known as flex) are typically made of flexible plastic over a metal wire coil to shape a tube. They have a variety of configurations. In the United States, the insulation is usually glass wool, but other markets such as Australia, use both polyester fibre and glass wool for thermal insulation. A protective layer surrounds the insulation, and is usually composed of polyethylene or metalised PET. It is commonly sold as boxes containing 25′ of duct compressed into a 5′ length. It is available in diameters ranging from as small as 4″ to as big as 18″, but the most commonly used are even sizes ranging from 6″ to 12″. Flexible duct is very convenient for attaching supply air outlets to the rigid ductwork. It is commonly attached with long zip ties or metal band claps. However, the pressure loss is higher than for most other types of ducts. As such, designers and installers attempt to keep their installed lengths (runs) short, e.g. less than 15 feet or so, and try to minimize turns. Kinks in flexible ducting must be avoided. Some flexible duct markets prefer to avoid using flexible duct on the return air portions of HVAC systems, however flexible duct can tolerate moderate negative pressures.
A metal stud drylined partition is defined as a flexible partition in a fire test.
Flexible wall is a vertical supporting construction consisting of studs or joists, including linings and optional insulation. The term is commonly used when referring to fire-rated plasterboard partition systems. This type of wall is usually non-load bearing and its fire resistance performance has been determined according to the appropriate European standards. The reaction to fire performance of the exposed surfaces is also determined by the appropriate fire test standards. Requirements to determine the fire resistance and the reaction to fire performance of a partition are stated in current Building Regulations. When a fire has become fully developed it attacks the structure of the compartment and attempts to spread beyond the origin. A fire-rated partition prevents this by creating a structure that does not collapse and contains the fire for a given period of time. It is necessary to determine the fire resistance of the partition by assessing its behaviour when subjected to defined heating and pressure conditions that can be encountered in a fully developed fire. Fire resistance tests employ a standard temperature/time curve and pressure distribution for this purpose with the resistance of such partitions range from 30 to 240 minutes or more.
Galvanized mild steel is the standard and most common material used in fabricating ductwork because the zinc coating of this metal prevents rusting and avoids cost of painting. For insulation purposes, metal ducts are typically lined with faced fiberglass blankets (duct liner) or wrapped externally with fiberglass blankets (duct wrap). When necessary, a double walled duct is used. This will usually have an inner perforated liner, then a 1–2″ layer of fiberglass insulation contained inside an outer solid pipe. Rectangular ductwork commonly is fabricated to suit by specialized metal shops. For ease of handling, it most often comes in 4′ sections (or joints). Round duct is made using a continuous spiral forming machine which can make round duct in nearly any diameter when using the right forming die and to any length to suit, but the most common stock sizes range evenly from 4″ to 24″ with 6″-12″ being most commonly used. Stock pipe is usually sold in 10′ joints. There are also 5′ joints of the non-spiral type of pipe available, which is commonly used in residential applications.
HDPE pipe is a type of flexible plastic pipe used for fluid and gas transfer and is often used to replace ageing concrete or steel mains pipelines. Made from the thermoplastic HDPE (high-density polyethylene), its high level of impermeability and strong molecular bond make it suitable for high pressure pipelines. HDPE pipe is used across the globe for applications such as water mains, gas mains, sewer mains, slurry transfer lines, rural irrigation, fire system supply lines, electrical and communications conduit, and stormwater and drainage pipes.
Generally, liquids with a flashpoint of below 21 °C. The Chemicals Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply Regulations 2002 (CHIP) gives more guidance.
High Pressure Expansion
HPE Sealant is a water based, acrylic sealant utilising a reactive formula that has intumescent properties to reinstate the fire resistance performance of wall and floor constructions where the penetrations of single or multiple services are present. HPE Sealant expands upon contact with heat and the high-pressure reactive process ensures that the material will expand to fill any void around penetration services.
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning is the technology of indoor and vehicular environmental comfort. Its goal is to provide thermal comfort and acceptable indoor air quality. HVAC system design is a subdiscipline of mechanical engineering, based on the principles of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and heat transfer. “Refrigeration” is sometimes added to the field’s abbreviation, as HVAC&R or HVACR or “ventilation” is dropped, as in HACR (as in the designation of HACR-rated circuit breakers). HVAC is an important part of residential structures such as single-family homes, apartment buildings, hotels and senior living facilities, medium to large industrial and office buildings such as skyscrapers and hospitals, vehicles such as cars, trains, airplanes, ships and submarines, and in marine environments, where safe and healthy building conditions are regulated with respect to temperature and humidity, using fresh air from outdoors. Ventilating or ventilation (the “V” in HVAC) is the process of exchanging or replacing air in any space to provide high indoor air quality which involves temperature control, oxygen replenishment, and removal of moisture, odours, smoke, heat, dust, airborne bacteria, carbon dioxide, and other gases. Ventilation removes unpleasant smells and excessive moisture, introduces outside air, keeps interior building air circulating, and prevents stagnation of the interior air. Ventilation includes both the exchange of air to the outside as well as circulation of air within the building. It is one of the most important factors for maintaining acceptable indoor air quality in buildings. Methods for ventilating a building may be divided into mechanical/forced and natural types.
Insulated Fire Sleeves possess a combination of stone wool and graphite intumescent to create a thermal and fire insulation solution. When exposed to fire, the insulated fire sleeves expand and seal the gaps between surrounding pipework and construction and will continue to close the gap as plastic pipes melt or soften.
Insulation is the time reading that accompanies a fire-resistant building component such as a fire door or partition. The time reading gives an indication of how long the component can withstand the heat generated from a fire and prevent it from breaching the buildings compartmentation. “I” commonly denotes the feature of insulation in the component. Insulation (I) is the ability of a component or construction to maintain the integrity of the element on one side only, without spreading the fire because of a significant heat flow from a heated side to a non-heated side. During the fire, the construction on the non-heated side reaches a temperature of not more than +140°C up to +180 °C.
Integrity is one of the readings that the fire-resistant components of the building or structure have. This reading highlights the time that the component can withstand and prevent fire as well as smoke from breaching the buildings compartmentation. The letter for denoting integrity feature is “E”. Integrity (E) is the ability of a component or construction to maintain the integrity of the element on one side only, without spreading the fire to a non-heated side because of penetration of flames.
A substance which will expand because of heat exposure (generally fire), increasing in volume whilst simultaneously decreasing in density. By swelling, the substance forms a char which seeks to encase the material it applied to, thus protecting it from damage.
Firestop pillows are passive fire protection items, used for firestopping holes in wall or floor assemblies required to have a fire-resistance rating. Firestop pillows are used in openings that require frequent access (e.g., cable changes), requiring the removal of the firestopping and resealing after the changes are completed. The intumescent resins in batt-based firestop pillows contains hydrates, or chemically bound water. On the fire side, the plastic bag burns off exposing the intumescent to the fire, which releases the water in the form of vapour or steam. The steam rises and hits the plastic bag interior on the unexposed side, where it condenses back to water, and runs back down to cool the installation below. Batt-based pillows are held in place by compressing them, allowing friction to restrain them. If replaced enough times, the pillows will retain a permanent compression, requiring their replacement with new components.
A seal used to impede the flow of heat, flame or gases, which only becomes active when subjected to elevated temperature. Intumescent seals are components which expand, helping to fill gaps and voids, when subjected to heat more than ambient temperatures. See: BS 8214:2008.
An intumescent strip (or intumescent seal) is a piece of material that when exposed to heat, expands closing any gaps to stop the fire spreading for a period of time. Intumescent strips usually come with either 30 or 60 minutes of resistance to fire.
An alternative solution to pipe collars. Manufactured from layers of a graphite-based intumescent sheet which is then encased in a polythene sheath. The product wrapped around the outside of the pipework and fixed in places with self-adhesive strips. Should a fire occur, the Intumescent Pipe Wrap will expand to fill any void that is left behind by burnt-out plastic preventing the passage of flames and smoke.
A permanent marking next to a penetration providing information about the penetration seal.
A letterbox opening is a prepared opening in a separating element wall/ floor designed for services to pass through. It is a type of builder’s hole.
Linear joint seals are passive fire protection systems designed to maintain the required building fire resistance across a separating element plus, if and where relevant, to accommodate a defined degree of movement. Linear joint seals can be found in walls, floors and in so called head of wall applications – joints between wall and ceiling or wall and floor.
A load-bearing floor is a floor that bears weight resting upon it.
A load-bearing wall or bearing wall is a wall that is an active structural element of a building, that is, it bears the weight of the elements above wall, resting upon it by conducting its weight to a foundation structure. The materials most often used to construct load-bearing walls in large buildings are concrete, block, or brick.
Safety data sheets provide information on chemical products that help users of those chemicals to make a risk assessment. They describe the hazards the chemical presents, and give information on handling, storage and emergency measures in case of accident.
A hole in one side of a fire-rated wall or floor for a single surface-barrier penetration such as an electrical socket.
Mineral wool is any fibrous material formed by spinning or drawing molten mineral or rock materials such as slag and ceramics. Applications of mineral wool include thermal insulation (as both structural insulation and pipe insulation, though it is not as fire-resistant as high-temperature insulation wool), filtration, soundproofing, and hydroponic growth medium.
Intended for use as a gap filling material where cables, ducts or pipework services penetrate fire compartment floors and walls. See Also Compound, Fire Protection Compound, QF1, QF2 and QF4.
There can be a range of factors that can cause movement within a building which include, thermal, seismic and subsidence. This is most apparent in high rise buildings. Without taking the movement of the building into account it could lead to specific systems failing and compartmentation being breached.
MLCP is often perceived to be comparable to plastic-only pipe, commonly used in DIY projects. But it is a halfway house between polybutylene pipework and copper piping, consisting of a plastic pipe (PE-Xb) with an internal aluminium layer that offers rigidity, form retention and a solid oxygen barrier to prevent internal corrosion of heating system components. MLCP is an alternative piping solution to copper.
A seal intended for penetrations where more than one service of the same type passing through.
Made of material that does not burn if exposed to fire.
Barriers designated as occupancy separations are intended to segregate parts of buildings, where different uses are on each side; for instance, apartments on one side and stores on the other side of the occupancy separation.
Fire doors and windows are installed in an opening of a fire barrier to maintain its fire resistance. Fire-rated glazing/glass and framing are tested as a complete assembly that maintains the protection of the fire barrier. Additionally, fire and smoke dampers (often used in duct systems) are considered “opening protection” and complete the fire barrier where air ducts penetrate fire-rated and/or smoke-resistant assemblies.
A structure dividing a space into two parts, especially a light interior wall.
A product or system that provides protection to the building and occupants without further change or requirement for activation or motion.
Passive Fire Protection systems are those solutions that seek to contain the fire by delaying the growth of the fire using fire rated partitions and doors to prevent the fire and smoke from moving from one compartment to another and delaying the collapse of the building structure. Passive Fire Protection systems include: Fire protection to the structural frame of the building, Fire-resisting doors and fire door furniture, Fire shutters, Compartment walls and floors, Fire-resisting walls and partitions, Suspended ceilings, Fire-resisting glazing, Fire doors and hardware, Industrial fire shutters and curtains, Firefighting shafts and stairwells, Fire-resisting dampers (mechanical or intumescent) used in horizontal or vertical air distribution ducts, Fire-resisting ductwork, Fire-resisting service ducts and shafts, Linear gap seals, Penetration seals for pipes, cables and other services, Cavity barriers, Fire-resisting air transfer grilles (mechanical or intumescent), The building envelope, e.g., fire-resisting external walls, curtain walls etc., Reaction to fire coatings, Hydrocarbon structural fire protection systems.
Polyethylene (PE) pipe plastic pipes most often used for underground utility construction. PE pipe is used for a variety of applications, including distribution of pressurized natural gas, pipelines carrying petroleum and petroleum products and chemicals, underground loops for geothermal heating and cooling systems, distribution of compressed gases and air, potable water mains and service lines, and sanitary and storm sewer systems. Corrugated PE pipe is used for storm sewers and highway drainage.
Penetration seals are passive fire protection systems designed to maintain the fire resistance of a building element or section – wall or floor – where services such as cables, cable trays, pipes or ventilation ducts pass through them. The vast number of different building materials and different services and the types of penetrations that can be required, leads to a wide variety of different solutions for sealing around these service penetrations. The result is that for most of these penetration sealing applications, several alternative solutions, with different systems and products can be used – if the combination has been tested. One of the challenges with sealing around penetrations is that certain services (e.g. combustible pipes) will melt in the event of a fire, which results in even larger apertures that must be closed immediately. For this type of application, expanding intumescent materials are usually a very effective solution.
In Fire stopping a penetration is an opening, in a wall or floor assembly required to have a fire rating, for the purpose of accommodating the passage of a mechanical, electrical or structural penetrant.
A pipe closure device is a reactive device in varying sizes, to seal penetrations including associated pipe insulation. A pipe closure device includes an elastomeric sealing ring with a threaded bore which tapers from an outer to an inner end of the sealing ring. A threaded plug having a tapered configuration from an outer to an inner end thereof is threadable in the sealing ring whereby the sealing ring is expanded and engages the opening in sealing relation. The plug includes a multi-sided boss fixedly attached to and extending from its outer end. The sealing ring engages the opening when the plug is received in the bore thereof in a frictional engagement whereby the sealing ring resists rotation and axial sliding within the opening as the plug is axially advanced into the bore.
The absorption of small, chemically benign molecules that migrate between the macromolecular chains, thus allowing the plastic part to lose stiffness.
Polypropylene (PP) is the lightest weight piping material with very good chemical resistance, even too many organic solvents. It is used extensively for HVAC applications and is available in two classifications, with Type I being the most common. Type I has better rigidity and strength but lower impact resistance than Type II, which has improved toughness over Type I material. In chemical drainage applications, heat stabilizers and flame-retardant additives are added to PP to retard flammability and thermal aging. PP is also used in many more corrosive and higher temperature applications (180°F) than PVC. Like purple PVC and CPVC, purple PP is being used for non-potable applications. The primary method of joining PP piping systems is with heat fusion, though mechanical joints can be used. PP pipe is available in standard 20’ lengths in sizes ranging from ½” to 40″. To accommodate different working pressures, PP is made both in schedule 80 and schedule 40. Typical applications include chemical drainage systems, industrial process, high purity water, hot and cold-water distribution, and gravity sewer systems.
Metal decking typically has a ribbed or corrugated profile that is achieved through a process called roll forming. Large sheets of metal are pulled from rolls and led through rolling dies that create the ribbed profile. Metal decking is used for flooring and roofing and for the creation of forms for concrete.
Putty Pads are made from intumescent putty which is primarily used a firestopping product.
PVC low-profile ducting has been developed as a cost-effective alternative to steel low-profile ducting. Low-profile ducting has been used extensively in apartment and hotel ventilation since 2005. The growth of low-profile ducting has grown significantly due to the reduction of available space in ceiling cavities to reduce cost. Since the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 there has been a rise in the discovery of noncompliant building materials; many PVC low-profile ducting manufacturers have struggled to gain or maintain compliance, and some building projects have had to resort back to using the more expensive steel option.
PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is a thermoplastic material, which comprises 57% chlorine (obtained from industrial grade salt) and 43% carbon (obtained mainly from oil/gas through ethylene). This flexible material is commonly used as a replacement for copper and aluminium pipes in several areas. PVC Pipes are used for plumbing and drainage replacing metal piping. PVC is also used as the insulation on electrical cables such as teck; PVC used for this purpose needs to be plasticized. Flexible PVC coated wire and cable for electrical use has traditionally been stabilised with lead, but these are being replaced with calcium-zinc based systems. In a fire, PVC-coated wires can form hydrogen chloride fumes; the chlorine serves to scavenge free radicals and is the source of the material’s fire retardance. While hydrogen chloride fumes can also pose a health hazard, it dissolves in moisture and breaks down onto surfaces, particularly in areas where the air is cool enough to breathe and is not available for inhalation. Frequently in applications where smoke is a major hazard (notably in tunnels and communal areas), PVC-free cable insulation is preferred, such as low smoke zero halogen (LSZH) insulation. Plastic pipes exposed to fire will react differently according to the type of plastic they are made from. Some will soften and then char as the fire progresses; others will soften and melt. If not, properly fire stopped these pipes may burn out and leave a passage for fire into adjoining rooms and allow a fire to quickly spread. Fire collars and fire sleeves with intumescent materials are usually used to squeeze the pipe shut, completely sealing it before the fire can pass through. Because different types of plastic can react to fire in different ways, you must ensure the fire collar you choose is tested and approved for the type of plastic or make of pipe you are using.
Any product with a temperature of absolute zero emits energy (heat). This energy reacts with other objects and can cause them to reach a point of combustion.
A cavity fire barrier for rainscreen cladding applications that maintains a ventilated cavity.
A place of reasonable safety in which a disabled person and others who may need assistance may rest or wait for assistance before reaching a place of total safety. It should lead directly to a fire-resisting escape route.
Maintaining structural integrity for a time during the fire and limiting the spread of fire and the effects thereof (e.g., heat and smoke). Property protection and continuity of operations are usually secondary objectives in codes. Exceptions include nuclear facilities and marine applications, as evacuation may be more complex or impossible. Nuclear facilities, both buildings and ships, must also ensure the nuclear reactor does not experience a nuclear meltdown. In this case, fixing the reactor may be more important than evacuation for key safety personnel. Examples of testing that underlies certification listing: Europe: BS EN 1364; Netherlands: NEN 6068; Germany: DIN 4102; United Kingdom: BS 476; Canada: ULC-S101; United States: ASTM E119. Each of these test procedures have very similar fire endurance regimes and heat transfer limitations. Differences include the hose-stream tests, which are unique to Canada and the United States, whereas Germany includes a very rigorous impact test during the fire for firewalls. Germany is unique in including heat induced expansion and collapse of ferrous cable trays into account for firestops, resulting in the favouring of firestop mortars, which tend to hold the penetrating cable tray in place, whereas “soft seals”, typically made of rockwool and elastomeric toppings, have been demonstrated in testing by Otto Graf institute to be torn open and rendered inoperable when the cable tray expands, pushes in and then collapses. Spin-offs from these basic tests cover closures, firestops and more. Furnace operations, thermocoupling and reporting requirements remain uniform within each country. In exterior applications for the offshore and the petroleum sectors, the fire endurance testing uses a higher temperature and faster heat rise, whereas in interior applications, such as office buildings, factories and residential, the fire endurance is based upon experiences gained from burning wood. The interior fire time/temperature curve is referred to as “ETK” (Einheitstemperaturzeitkurve = standard time/temperature curve) or the “building elements” curve, whereas the high temperature variety is called the hydrocarbon curve as it is based on burning oil and gas products, which burn hotter and faster. The most severe, and most rarely used, of all fire exposure tests is the British “jet fire” test, which has been used to some extent in the UK and Norway but is not typically found in common regulations. Typically, during the construction of buildings, fire protective systems must conform to the requirements of building code that was in effect on the day that the building permit was applied for. Enforcement for compliance with building codes is typically the responsibility of municipal building departments. Once construction is complete, the building must maintain its design basis by remaining in compliance with the current fire code, which is enforced by the fire prevention officers of the municipal fire department. An up-to-date fire protection plan, containing a complete inventory and maintenance details of all fire protection components, including firestops, fireproofing, fire sprinklers, fire detectors, fire alarm systems, fire extinguishers, etc. are typical requirements for demonstration of compliance with applicable laws and regulations. To know whether one’s building follows fire safety regulations, it is helpful to know what systems one has in place and what their installation and maintenance are based upon. Changes to fire protection systems or items affecting the structural or fire-integrity or use (occupancy) of a building is subject to regulatory scrutiny. A contemplated change to a facility requires a building permit, or, if the change is very minor, a review by the local fire prevention officer. Such reviews by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) also help to prevent potential problems that may not be apparent to a building owner or contractors. Large and very common deficiencies in existing buildings include the disabling of fire door closers through propping the doors open and running rugs through them and perforating fire-resistance rated walls and floors without proper firestopping.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 places the responsibility on individuals within an organisation to carry out risk assessments to identify, manage and reduce the risk of fire.
High density constructing element designed from block work, masonry or concrete with an overall density ≥850kg/m³ with a thickness appropriate for the expected fire resistance period. It can also be a low-density constructing element made from aerated concrete block, masonry or lintels with an overall density of ≥650kg/m³ with a thickness appropriate for the expected fire resistance period.
A floor made of aerated concrete slabs, lightweight concrete or high-density concrete and a thickness appropriate to the required fire resistance classification.
A wall made of aerated concrete slabs, lightweight concrete or high-density concrete and a thickness appropriate to the required fire resistance classification.
Unique fire compartments. Examples are: – Electrical, hydraulic, mechanical, plumbing and communications.
Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 a statutory instrument, applicable only in England and Wales. The Order places the responsibility on individuals within an organisation to carry out risk assessments to identify, manage and reduce the risk of fire.
Thermal Conduction Is the transfer of heat through all types of matter such as solids, gases and liquids. The rate of heat transfer is determined by the material conducting heat and the difference in temperature of the two products.
A conformity assessment process carried out by a body that is independent of both supplier and customer organisations. It provides confirmation that products and services have met and will continue to meet requirements of specified standards and other normative documents.
A hole made in a fire-rated wall or floor that completely passes through from one side to the other to run things such as pipes and cables.
A metal or plastic casing designed to accommodate cables, normally square or rectangle in section.
Intended for use at conditions exposed to weathering (Materials that meet requirements for type X, meet the requirements for all other types).
Intended for use at temperatures below 0°C with exposure to UV but no exposure to rain. Materials that meet requirements for type Y1 also meet the requirements for type Y2, Z1 and Z2.
Intended for use at temperatures below 0°C, but with no exposure to rain nor UV. Materials that meet the requirements for type Y2 also meet the requirements for type Z1 and Z2.
Intended for use at internal conditions with high humidity, excluding temperatures below 0°C. Materials that meet the requirements for type Z1, also meet the requirements for type Z2.
Intended for use at internal conditions with humidity classes other than Z1, excluding temperatures below 0°C.
Unplasticized polyvinyl chloride (uPVC Pipes), also known as rigid PVC, Pipes & Fittings are used for all plumbing purposes in residential & commercial buildings. Ideally suited for looping at each floor level, outdoor installations & concealed pipelines for cold water distribution. uPVC is known as having strong resistance against chemicals, sunlight & oxidation from water. uPVC is widely used in construction because it is durable, cheap and easily worked.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are present in all natural and synthetic materials and can exist not only as structurally diverse liquids and solids but also as vapours and are thus a significant airborne consideration when biomonitoring human exposure levels, for analysing odour issues, and in the interest of food contact in particular regarding NIAS. VOCs are measured by collecting samples and submitting for analysis in an independent laboratory, using techniques such as GC-MS to ensure that nothing harmful or toxic is present, by breaking down the airstream into constituent parts.
BS EN12208:2000. The Classification is based on a comparison of the water tightness of the test specimen related to test pressures and duration of the test. There nine classes; 1A/1B to 9A for test pressures from 0 Pa to 600 Pa. For specimens that remain watertight over 600 Pa for 5 minutes a class Exxx is used. The xxx is the maximum test pressure e.g., 750 Pa. To meet any class the specimen must remain watertight for 5 minutes up to and at the test pressure set for that class.
A pipe closure device that is usually wrapped around the pipe, located within the fire separating element and acts as a restraint for the intumescent material.
The yield strength of a bar of material is the maximum stress that can be applied along its axis before it begins to change shape.