The LWF Blog

Passive fire protection for Building Professionals – Part 2

January 30, 2020 3:31 pm

In LWF’s blog series on passive fire protection for building professionals and contractors and those with an interest in structural fire protection issues, we aim to give an overview of the important role passive protection plays in the overall fire safety provision of a building.

In part 1, our introduction outlined the basics of passive fire protection and how it differs from active fire protection. We will continue from that point in part 2 by looking at the benefits of the initial survey to the overall fire safety strategy for a building.

An initial survey of a building or proposed building by a suitably qualified person, will highlight the fire safety risks and enable an analysis of the results, which will pinpoint the correct fire safety strategy for the premises. There are occasions where the results will suggest that active fire protection measures are not required and that passive fire protection methods will be sufficient, there will also be occasions where the proposed use of the building will indicate that active fire protection should be used, such as sprinkler systems or fire detection systems, and that compartmentation will not be necessary.

One example of this might be a large single-storey building designed for warehousing. A fire in a building like this can spread too quickly for the Fire Service to enter upon arrival, which might mean a total loss of the building and contents for the property owner. Compartmentation may not be suitable as the area is required to be large and open-plan for warehousing purposes. In this case, fire alarms and automatic sprinkler systems would have a much greater effect on suppressing the fire and preventing total loss. In order for the building occupants to be safe they would be required to evacuate the building via the nearest of the provided fire doors upon hearing the alarm, before gathering at the assembly point.

It is essential that there is an understanding of where passive fire protection should be installed in a building and which regulations and guidance apply to those installations, in order to comply with fire safety and building legislation. In addition, once it is known where the passive fire protection elements are to be placed, then a greater understanding of the type of product that will be used is gained and the details of specifying and installing them can be dealt with. Part 3 of this blog series will begin by looking at some of the most commonly seen passive fire protection methods.

In the meantime, if you have any queries about your own facilities or wish to discuss this blog series, please do not hesitate to contact this office on free phone 0800 410 1130.

Lawrence Webster Forrest are fire engineering and fire risk management consultants who have over 30 years’ experience in providing fire safety advice to Architects, Developers, Contractors and End User Clients.

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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