Everything You Need to Know About Fire Barriers
Fire and smoke can spread through a building in less than 30 seconds if there aren’t adequate measures in place to prevent this. Many businesses never recover from the damage of a fire and, more importantly, the safety of the people in your building should be the number one priority.
For these reasons, fire barriers are a crucial part of any fire-stopping plan — something that forms your overall passive fire protection measures. Without fire barriers, any gaps and voids within the construction of your building could give flames and smoke an easy way to travel and spread further damage.
This month at Fire Industry Specialists Ltd, we’re going to look at the role of fire barriers in more detail. This includes the different types, where they need to be installed and whether you’re legally required to use fire barriers.
What are fire barriers?
The basic definition of a fire barrier is a fire-resistant material that is used to seal sections of a building. This is different to fire stops, which are used to seal gaps around things such as pipes or where utility works have created holes that compromise compartmentation.
Where should fire barriers be installed?
Typically, fire barriers are positioned at the edge of cavities and openings where it adjoins with either a compartment floor or wall. They can also be found in roof spaces to ensure fire cannot easily expand into these areas.
What are the main types of fire barriers?
There are two types of fire barriers that can be used in the construction of buildings. Cavity barriers are the most common, while fire curtains can also be used. Here we take a look at both types to give you an overview of their uses and benefits:
Cavity barriers – The predominant fire barrier in use across buildings, cavity barriers are used to seal off gaps. In the event of a fire, this will ensure flames and smoke are restricted to the original area, as opposed to spreading via the voids within. Cavity barriers can be positioned in both the internal and external walls of a building, but are also used in floors and ceilings to protect the different storeys within.
Cavity barriers are typically made of fire-resistant materials, such as mineral wool, intumescent material or cementitious board.
Fire curtains – Fire curtains differ from cavity barriers in that they are flexible barriers for openings in a building, such as doorways and stairwells. They are still manufactured using fire-resistant materials, but close automatically when a fire alarm or smoke detector has been triggered to prevent the passage of flames and smoke from one part of a building to another.
Are fire barriers a legal requirement?
Yes. British Standard 9991 should be adhered to for fire safety when designing residential buildings. More specifically, it outlines how construction should be carried out, with special attention given to how fire can spread through the different sections of the infrastructure.
Meanwhile, Fire Safety Approved Document B2 outlines the minimum level of fire resistance for cavity barriers within construction. This includes the requirement to grant 15 minutes of fire resistance and 30 minutes of structural integrity.
These UK regulations are in place in order to allow enough protection between compartments so that occupants can safely evacuate and to give as much time as possible for fire and rescue services to attend.
Here at Fire Industry Specialists Ltd, we provide fire barrier installation for buildings across the UK, including Lincoln, Nottingham, Sheffield, Manchester and Birmingham. We use a variety of fire-rated and tested materials to achieve the required resistance time and keep your building compliant with regulations. We can even provide fire stopping surveys to identify any flaws in the construction of your building that need to be addressed.
Learn more about keeping your premises safe by speaking to our team about fire barriers or book an appointment with us by calling us.