The LWF Blog

Passive fire protection for Building Professionals – Part 8

March 12, 2020 9:31 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 7, LWF started to discuss fire doors and the important role they play in protecting lives and property from fire. In part 8, we will continue looking at fire doors.

A passive fire protection system could be described as a system of components which are designed, installed and tested to work together. A fire door, therefore, should be seen as a passive fire protection system in itself. If it is viewed as a series of tested and third-party accredited components, possibly selected independently and installed together in accordance with industry best practice, it still cannot offer a guarantee of performance in a fire situation.

The fire door cannot be relied upon unless the parts have all been tested together and found to achieve an adequate level of performance.

There have been instances where structural fire protection has failed because a fire door has been selected and installed in a pre-existing frame. The pre-existing frame may not be constructed to afford adequate protection.

There have been situations where upgrades have been attempted on an existing fire door of unknown provenance. Attempts to install locks and other devices have damaged the integrity of the door and previous penetrations of the door’s material have been inappropriately sealed. Such doors usually prove unsuccessful when fire tested.

A London local authority undertook some tests in recent years on fire doors which had undergone similar alterations using third party accredited products installed with third part accredited companies. However, the doors failed in a British Standards test in under two minutes.

Construction of a fire door by using individual parts is referred to as fire door assembly. A safer method to achieve a suitable level of compliance is through the purchase of a fire door set which will include the door, tested ironmongery, frame and installation instructions. The instructions will include information on how to seal the frame either between a flexible stud wall, or between the frame and masonry construction. It is essential that the details of installation are followed precisely.

In part 9 of this series, LWF will continue to discuss fire doors and the important role they play in passive fire protection provision. In the meantime, if you have any queries about your own facilities or wish to discuss this blog series, please contact LWF on freephone 0800 410 1130.

Lawrence Webster Forrest is a fire engineering consultancy based in Surrey with over 25 years’ experience, which provides a wide range of consultancy services to professionals involved in the design, development and construction and operation of buildings.

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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