The LWF Blog

Passive fire protection for Building Professionals – Part 9

March 19, 2020 9:07 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 8, LWF talked about fire doors and the importance of their role in protecting lives and property from fire. In part 9, we will continue looking at fire doors.

When purchasing a fire door, it is important to recognise that the process is not as simple as buying an ‘off the shelf’ solution to meet your needs. Some framing systems may not be appropriate for installation in buildings using certain walling systems. The flexible stud walling in common use may not have been tested for use with some frames and therefore the combination of the two cannot be guaranteed to perform as expected in a fire situation.

Additionally, when fitting a fire door there is often a space between the frame and the surrounding wall. This gap may be anything up to 30mm depending on the quality of the workmanship. The materials used to infill this space may differ depending on the type / method of construction, if there are cavities, whether its flexible stud walling or masonry. All of these provide important factors in deciding the materials to use between the frame and the surrounding construction. The simplicity of just using “fire rated” polyurethane foam is a myth that should be put to bed. It is important to ensure that all materials making up the door set and surround are capable of withstanding the effects of a fire. Therefore it is important to know the limitations of the products available and how they are tested.

Specialist advice should be sought to identify the best products for the fire protection needs of the property prior to purchasing. As the product is only as good as the quality of its installation, a competent contractor must be engaged to install the fire door in accordance with the design detail.

A third-party accredited contractor will be able to ensure the installation is undertaken precisely in line with manufacturers’ instructions and tested detail, and that the products will work as intended. Carpenters who have not had the relevant training or certification may undertake a substandard – and therefore unsafe – installation without being aware they have done so.

In part 10 of this series, LWF will continue to look at fire door components. 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 Freephone 0800 410 1130.

Lawrence Webster Forrest is a fire engineering consultancy with over 30 years’ experience in providing a wide range of fire 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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