What is Fire Stopping?

Passive Fire Protection within the UK 

In the year ending December 2018, there was over 175,000 reported fires within the UK – a two per cent increase compared with the previous year. Despite efforts to ensure that minimal damage is caused by fires around the UK, every year thousands of people are still affected.

As experts in passive fire protection within the construction industry, Firetherm’s mission is to raise the awareness of the importance of passive fire protection, to ensure the safety of properties and people within the UK. Take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions below to find out more. Should you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our expert team.

What is Passive Fire Protection?

Passive Fire Protection (PFP) is a vital component of any fire strategy. It is built into the structure of a building to safeguard people’s lives and limit the financial impact of damage to buildings and their contents. PFP does this by:

  • Limiting the spread of fire and smoke by containing it in a single compartment
  • Protecting escape routes for essential means of escape
  • Protecting the building structure thereby ensuring its sustainability

Passive Fire Protection methods are built into the structure to provide stability and into walls and floors to separate the building into areas of manageable risks – compartments. Such protection is either provided by the materials from which the building is constructed, or is added to the building to enhance its fire resistance.

If you would like further information about Passive Fire Protection, please contact a member of the team.

How Does Fire Stopping Work?

The Fire Stopping principle is based on compartmentalisation. Building compartments will confine the fire in the area where it started. The main compartment structures such as floors, walls and ceiling assemblies are fire resistant up to a certain, specified time frame.

Various service penetrations run through these structures as buildings are equipped with electricity, network connections, water, air and gas. Compartments also need joints for their functionality.

Flames, heat and smoke will spread through any opening in the compartment if not fire stopped. Correctly installed Fire Stopping solutions will keep the fire where it started.

Why is Fire Stopping Important?

In a case of a fire in a building and particularly if the Fire Stopping is inadequate, fire and smoke travel throughout the building very fast. Tragically, most of the victims were not even in the room where the fire started. And 80% of the dead in a fire are related to the inhalation of smoke & toxic fumes.

Fire Stopping products stop flames, heat and smoke from spreading. The rest of the building will be safe and will allow for safe evacuation and rescue.

An example how fast smoke spreads:

You are in a room that is six meters long, six meters wide and six meters high. A fire just started in the apartment next door. There is a hole the size of a pencil in the wall. Already after 3 minutes and 40 seconds there is so much smoke in your room that visibility is less than 40 cm and there is immediate suffocation risk.

What is Compartmentalisation?

One of the fundamentals of passive fire protection is the compartmentalisation of buildings. To limit the spread of fire and smoke within a building we must compartmentalise: divide the space into several smaller sections in order to confine the fire in the only space it was declared, during the time necessary for evacuation.

How is it done?

To ensure the most effective partitioning of a building, the walls and floors of compartments must have a fire-resistance degree corresponding to the type of buildings (please refer to the UK building regulations)

It is important to note that these compartments are equipped and overlapped by multiple elements: doors, hatches, partitions, plastic, metal tubes, cables etc. All fire proofing caulks around these elements must therefore make it possible to reconstruct the fire-resistance degree of the wall by providing fire resistance at least equal to that of the building structure.

It is via this method that we can achieve a powerful subdivision.

Fire rated mastic for linear joints, sealing, bonding and pointing of Intubatt. Intumastic is suitable for dry internal use only. Intumastic may be used to fire seal linear joints between many substrates in compartment locations. Intumastic may also be used in movement joints and, in this configuration, offers a movement capacity of up to 30%

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A heat-reactive, intumescent acrylic fibre barrier mastic for internal use around combustible services. Fully tested for use in double skin partition walls both insulated and non-insulated. Intumastic HP is tested for use in both walls, floors and Intubatt.

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A medium viscosity, fire rated mastic for internal use, containing acrylic emulsion, inert fillers and fungicide. Intumastic ADL is suitable for dry internal use only.This product may be used to fire seal linear joints between substrates in compartment locations. Intumastic ADL may also be used in movement joints and when in this configuration, offers a movement capability of up to 30%.

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Ideal for sealing movement joints where fire rating is required. Intusil is a modified low modulus silicone that is designed for use in external aggressive environments or in high movement building joints. It has high adhesion and is suitable for high sheen surfaces such as ceramics or stainless steel. Intusil may be used to seal movement joints where a fire rating is required. This product can offer a period of fire resistance of up to 240 minutes with an insulation rating of up to 240 minutes.

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