Fire Compartmentation

Building compartmentation is an important element of ‘passive fire protection.’ The purpose of Fire Compartmentation is to contain the fire to its area of origin for as long as possible. This is to allow time for occupants to safely evacuate the building, increase the time fire and rescue services have to arrive and start tackling the fire, and to limit the damage caused to a building and its contents.

Fire Compartmentation is achieved by dividing the premises into areas of manageable risk using fire-resistant barriers within a building such as, masonry and fire rated plasterboard walls, concrete and fire-resistant ceilings and floors.

However, it will be unlikely that your compartmentation will remain a solid box. This is because for inhabitants to live in these areas the fire-resistant barriers will require ‘openings’ thus, voiding the fire resistance rating of the fire separating element.

‘Openings’ can include doors, windows, and service penetrations such as cables and pipes. Every penetration that breaks the compartmentation line must be adequately ‘fire stopped’ to reinstate the required fire resistance rating.

To ensure you can reinstate the compartmentation of the fire separating element, you must consider all factors of the application including the actual service penetration types and the supporting construction itself. Certain applications can be particularly challenging to reinstate the required fire rating. This could be due to the supporting construction itself having insufficient test evidence or for example, large uninsulated metal pipes which can relatively easily provide an integrity fire resistance rating but generally are much more challenging to provide an insulation fire rating.

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