What is fire stopping?
The simplest way to think of fire stopping is ‘plugging the gaps’. It’s a form of passive fire protection which identifies and seals any openings or gaps that exist in walls, floors and ceilings. Without plugging these gaps with fire stopping products, there is the potential for smoke and fire to spread, despite specialist fire doors and fire-resistant walls.
Passive fire protection encompasses all of the measures put in place to impede the spread of fire and smoke without needing any specific action to occur. These measures compartmentalise the building. Active fire protection is those measures which require something to happen, in order for them to work e.g. a fire extinguisher or sprinkler system.
Passive fire protection steps, such as fire stopping between floors, walls, doors, and gaps where things such as extractors and pipes travel, are essential for restricting fire spread both horizontally and vertically through the building. Without fire stopping measures, other fire protection elements (e.g. fire doors) are limited in their effectiveness.
How to implement effective fire stopping
It’s vital to think of fire stopping in two ways: fire stopping services and fire stopping products. Both must be considered in tandem to complete effective fire stopping.
Fire stopping services assess the building, such as an office or warehouse, thoroughly, identifying all of the areas where fire or smoke could travel. They encompass understanding within the framework of fire stopping certification and regulations. They ensure all fire stopping products are utilised and installed appropriately and effectively.
Fire stopping products are the specific means of ‘plugging the gaps’ using fire-resistant materials. Ranges of different fire stopping products are suitable for use in different ways:
- Fire sleeves: Fire sleeves seal gaps which are caused when cables or pipes run through a fire-rated wall or ceiling. Sleeves are designed to expand when exposed to heat and will thus close the gap completely. With plastic pipes, the sleeve will actually collapse the pipe, sealing it completely.
- Fire collars: Fire collars serve a similar function to fire sleeves, again maintaining fire resistance around pipes. Fire collars surround pipes and similar items with an intumescent material, thus expanding when heated. Again, it crushes the pipe, preventing fire, gas and smoke being able to pass into the next compartment.
- Fire covers: In fire-rated suspended ceilings, fire covers again expand to fill spaces, especially in the event of fires from luminaires.
- Fire sealants and gap fillers: At high temperatures, specially formulated fire sealants and gap fillers prevent fire and smoke travelling to another compartment. There are multiple types of sealants for use in different places and with different materials.
Fire stopping regulations
Business and building owners have legal obligations regarding fire stopping. These are largely established in The Building Regulations 2010, Fire Safety, Approved Document B. In brief, fire stopping regulations require that steps are taken to inhibit the spread of fire within a building. Resistance windows of between 30 minutes to 4 hours must be established, and it is a requirement that specialist consultation is used. All fire stopping products must comply with the current British standard.
Fire stopping services
It is essential to use skilled, professional and accredited fire safety professionals to provide fire stopping services. It is a complex area and requires diligent expert attention. Choosing the right passive fire protection and installing fire stopping products correctly can save lives, as well as property.
All buildings are unique, and require tailored assessment and fire stopping solutions. Not only do you need an expert to ensure you meet fire stopping regulations, you also need an expert to give you peace of mind, cost-effectively. Small errors or omissions with fire stopping have the potential to compromise the entire system.
Ecosafe fire stopping
We offer the complete range of fire stopping services to ensure you are compliant and safe. These services include:
Complete passive fire protection systems
Our fire stopping experts offer a comprehensive range of passive fire protection solutions, using appropriate fire stopping products according to the unique requirements of your site.
Compliance and testing
At Ecosafe, all fire protection products are tested and approved according to standards EN 1366-3 and BS 476-20. We are committed to providing only safe, tested and reputable fire stopping products. We provide complete fire stopping certification for works completed.
Fire stopping installation
Our qualified and accredited fire safety experts install bespoke passive fire safety solutions, efficiently and cost-effectively, without compromising safety.
In the event of buildings without adequate fire stopping, we can retrofit fire protection solutions to bring peace of mind and ensure you meet your legal obligations.
Fire stopping advice
Our qualified experts are on hand to provide guidance and advice so that you can make the right decisions, meet regulations and achieve peace of mind. Onsite support and training is available.
Assurance, compliance and safety with Ecosafe
Our fire safety team are experienced, qualified and committed to delivering solutions which are safe, effective and cost-efficient. Having worked on numerous fire protection projects throughout the south-west, we bring tailored solutions and fire stopping certification, whatever your project.
Get in touch to discuss your fire stopping requirements.