What is the difference between a new build and a retrofit project? Firestopping FAQs

Passive fire protection is an important element of a building’s fire safety strategy. In the event of a fire, it works to save lives and therefore, should not be taken lightly.

Firestopping is a legal obligation. The Fire Safety Order 2005 applies to almost all buildings, whether they are long standing or new builds, residential or non-residential. However, it is not applied to private homes.

Passive fire protection products work to maintain the compartmentation of a building. This prevents the spread of fire where services, such as pipes or cables, penetrate compartment walls or floors.

What is a retrofit project?

Retrofit means to “install, fit, or adapt (a device or system) for use with something older.” Whether the building is new, or a century old, if firestopping was not installed at the time of construction, this is something that needs to be rectified to reinstate the fire-resistance of the building.

Retrofitting can be complex due to the building being lived or worked in, with service penetrations already installed and difficult to access. Should firestopping need to be replaced, a competent building safety manager will have all the relevant information relating to the building’s existing service routes.

They will also have information on the firestopping already in place, which ensures the work can be done without it compromising existing firestopping.

Naturally, as a building moves through its life cycle, there is every chance that it will undergo refurbishment with the addition of new electrical systems.

Every case of retrofit firestopping is different. Therefore, it is always advisable to speak to trusted manufacturers and utilise their expert advice about tested solutions available.

Correctly installed solutions ensure life safety.

What is a new build project?

New build essentially means “new construction as opposed to the renovation or refurbishment of existing structures.” It includes newly constructed buildings of all types: houses, apartments, hospitals, and office blocks.

As the construction industry starts to improve practices regarding fire safety, this means that new build projects are, ideally, built around solutions and test evidence.

When firestopping is made priority at the design stage, this ultimately gives contractors more control over the safety of the building. It also allows for effective cross-party communication and information handovers. Everyone is in compliance.

Cast in fire collar vs. retrofit fire collar

As firestopping retrofit buildings and new builds have their own separate challenges, the solutions used will also differ due to factors such as access and spacing.

For example, a cast in fire collar is the ideal solution for firestopping plastic pipes penetrating a concrete floor in a new build project. This is because it is installed during the construction stage, and the concrete is then poured around it.

Whereas a fire collar is typically an ideal solution for certain applications in a retrofit project, as it can be fitted any time after services have been installed.

In an ideal scenario, buildings should be firestopped as they are built. This is something we can provide extensive support with, through our early engagement approach.

Here at Quelfire, we have an extensive scope of application when it comes to primary test evidence for new build projects. However, we can also provide details specifically developed for retrofit scenarios.

Learn more about our QWR CE Marked Intumescent Fire Collar and QuelCast CE Marked Cast in Fire Collar. Or, if you have any further questions, please get in touch.

Craig Wells

This question was answered by Craig Wells

Sales Director

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