The LWF Blog

Passive fire protection for Building Professionals – Part 3

February 6, 2020 9:46 am

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 2, we looked at the benefits of the initial survey to the overall fire safety strategy for a building.

In part 3 we begin by looking at some of the most commonly seen passive fire protection methods.

Fire Doors

Fire doors are perhaps the most commonly seen form of fire protection in the passive fire protection industry and yet they are almost certainly one of the least understood. A common misconception is that fire doors are just like regular doors, except for having a heavier construction. Fire doors are a carefully engineered fire safety product. Each element of their engineering and construction is designed to withstand a fire test for a period of either 30, 60 or 120 minutes.

The manufacturing quality of the parts which go into making up the fire door must be consistently perfect, as any slight defect to the door, ironmongery, hinges, self-closing devices or construction could lead to a door which will not provide adequate protection in a fire situation.

Ceilings and Wall Linings

There would be little point in using fire doors with such high standards of production if the walls and ceilings surrounding the door were inadequate. It’s been a commonly believed that that simple wooden stud work lined with relatively thick plasterboard will provide 30 minutes fire protection. However, the reliability of fire-resistant construction is dependent on various elements and such a simple structure is unlikely to withstand fire for a significant period. The design, construction and installation of fire rated walls is a complex subject. Some products are only designed and tested to work alongside other specific products. For instance, there is a preference for using metal stud work over wooden stud work and the more modern use of mineral wool infill, which assists in maintaining the installation and integrity of the wall all plays a part.

These are just two commonly encountered methods of fire stopping, we will look at these in more detail over the coming weeks.

In part 4 of this series, LWF will take a look at other products in the passive fire protection category, starting with glass and glazing.


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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