The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment – Compartmentation & Measurement of Fire Resistance – Part 3

August 30, 2018 1:27 pm

In LWF’s Fire Engineering blog series for Architects, and others working in the area of building design, we are looking at the subject of compartmentation. In part 2, the fire-resisting performance of each element which goes into making up a compartment were discussed and in part 3, we continue from that point and also look at third-party certification.


While the larger elements of a compartmented building might be obvious – walls, floors, apertures – each part of a compartment must be given equal attention. If each element of a compartment was fire-resistant to a minimum of 30 minutes, barring one small seal which was not fire-resistant, all the rest would be useless. A fire-resistant compartment is only as efficient as its weakest link.


Fire resistance tests are published by British Standards for all elements of construction including doors, ducts, dampers, seals and linear joint seals. Information and guidance is published on every different type of building element, both load-bearing and non.


In order to ensure that compartmentation will be safe, only products which have been tested against the relevant parts of an appropriate standard should be used and only installed by those installers who are accredited by an accreditation certification scheme. Such certification schemes for passive fire protection product installers provide reassurance that the installation has been completed in a competent manner and will help to ensure that the system will perform as expected.


Third-party certification of products


Manufacturer based testing of products while useful to the producer, in order to check they are producing a product of the standard indicated, is not be sufficient when purchasing elements to be included in a fire safe build. Third-party certification means that the element has undergone rigorous testing, assessment and review of the design. The production will be subject to audit and quality procedures governing the manufacturing processes and repeat testing to ensure quality standards are met.


One such example of a certification scheme is LPS 1208 LPCB Fire resistance requirements for elements of construction used to provide compartmentation.


LPS 1208 tests the performance requirements for walls, cavity barriers, floors and roofs and defines the methods of testing in order to satisfy the fire-resistance requirements for compartmentation given in loss prevention guidance such as FPA Design guide for the fire protection of buildings. Core document. Compartmentation.


It is essential that when a compartment wall or floor and separating wall is made up of a number of different elements (doors, seals etc.) checks are made to ensure fire resistance will be maintained. Such checks may fall under more tests that can be carried out or a detailed assessment may be required by a competent person.


In part 4 of this series, LWF will look at the maintenance of a fire compartment, as a fire-resisting compartment is only as good as its integrity. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this blog, or wish to discuss your own project with one of our fire engineers, please contact us.


Lawrence Webster Forrest has been working with their clients for over 25 years to produce innovative and exciting building projects. If you would like further information on how LWF and fire strategies could assist you, please contact Peter Gyere on 020 8668 8663.


While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF’s publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.


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