Passive Fire Resistance

Passive fire protection products are engineered into the fabric of buildings and together with active fire protection systems such as sprinklers will act to maintain the integrity of the structure in a fire long enough for it to be safely evacuated.

They are used to subdivide the building into compartments where the risks from fire can be managed and even to provide separation between adjacent dwellings. These fire protection requirements are clearly identified within Building Regulations Document B and are a necessary inclusion into the design of a new build or refurbishment of an existing building and their correct installation is policed by representatives from Building Control.

Test Requirements

The reaction and resistance of materials in a fire are tested in accordance with BS476. Parts 20-22 of this standard deals specifically with the fire resistance of building elements, both load bearing (21) and non-load bearing (22). Two properties are observed, integrity (mechanical/physical stability) and insulation (the transfer of heat from hot to cold face). The test records the performance of the material and results are provided in units of minutes. It follows that when a fire resistance rating of a material is given for example as one hour then the material must provide one hour integrity and one hour insulation. Alternatively two values will be given separately, one for integrity and one for insulation. For example Building regulations stipulate that the minimum performance of a cavity barrier to be 30 minutes integrity and 15 minutes insulation. All too often the integrity value alone is mistakenly assumed to denote fire resistance. If in doubt the specifier or installer should contact Building Control for clarification.

The reaction of materials to fire are dealt with in other parts of BS476 in particular Part 4 which measures the combustibility; Part 6 propogation and Part 7 spread of flame. Whilst it does not constitute a Standard the term “Class O” is from time to time used to denote a desired fire resistant characteristic. A material that is said to be Class O has provided a Class 1 result when tested in accordance with BS476 Part 7 and has a fire propagation index (I) of not greater than 12 and a sub index (Ii) of not greater than 6 when tested in accordance with BS476 Part 6

The FireHalt Range of Passive Fire Resistant Products

The construction industry is faced with the immediate challenge to mass produce unprecedented numbers of low cost, high density dwellings along with public and commercial properties. New advanced materials and modular construction methods have been developed to make this possible. Meanwhile the existing building stock will continue to be refurbished to meet the demands of the twenty first century. In response to this Culimeta-Saveguard Ltd has designed passive fire resistant products that surpass the current regulatory requirements. Our products are light weight, easy to install and pose no risk to health and safety. Best known is our range of FireHalt® cavity fire barriers. Tested by Bodycote (Warrington Fire Research) and approved by LPC the range offers unprecedented levels of protection. FireHalt Gold, FireHalt 60/30 and FireHalt SF are extensively used in the UK’s major airports, London Underground, by the major supermarket chains, important commercial buildings such as Swiss Re and stadia, including the new Wembley stadium and the theatre of dreams at Old Trafford, not to mention hundreds of schools and hospitals throughout the country.