Non-Compliance: Fire Stopping Mistakes
Fire stopping plays a vital role in maintaining the integrity of our buildings and helps ensure the safety of occupants in the event of a fire. It involves the use of specially manufactured materials and techniques to seal openings to prevent the spread of fire, smoke and other toxic gases.
With this in mind, it should be clear that non-compliance with the proper fire stopping practices can compromise how effective your key fire safety measures are. This month at Fire Industry Specialists Ltd, we’re going to explore some of the most common fire stopping mistakes to help highlight how important it is to adhere to industry guidelines.
Here are five ways in which fire stopping could be failing in your building.
A lack of penetration sealing
One of the most obvious and common fire stopping mistakes is the inadequate sealing of penetrations in walls, floors and ceilings. Penetrations around pipes, cables and ventilation ducts can provide a pathway for fire and smoke to spread. Ultimately, this failure to properly seal openings with approved fire-rated materials can undermine how effective your building is for fire containment in an emergency — something required to allow people to evacuate and to allow enough time for fire services to attend.
Fire-rated seals, such as sealants and intumescent collars, should be used in these scenarios in order to effectively seal any penetrations.
Use of untested materials
Identifying any penetrations is only one part of the solution. If non-compliant or inappropriate fire-rated materials have been used, your fire stopping methods will remain compromised.
Fire-rated materials are specially designed and tested to withstand the high temperatures of a fire and block the passage of smoke. If your building has implemented standard caulk or foam to seal penetrations, fire can still spread rapidly. This is why it’s important to only use approved fire-rated materials, such as fire-resistant boards and sealants, and not untested materials, to maintain proper fire stopping and containment.
Improper installation techniques
Another part of your fire stopping solutions that can result in non-compliance is improper installation techniques that compromise the effectiveness of the fire-rated materials. Common installation mistakes include not installing fire stops at the correct depth within any substrate. The necessary depth can differ depending on the rating of the material and any movement requirements that need to be factored in. It’s always recommended that you use trained and certified fire stopping professionals, such as our team at Fire Industry Specialists Ltd, who will know exactly what is required.
Neglecting maintenance and inspections
Over time, fire stopping measures can deteriorate or be tampered with due to other works within the building and this leads to another common mistake: not having regular maintenance and inspections for your building. Fire stopping surveys carried out by an IFC third-party certified company can help to identify any additional work and any deficiencies in your building that need to be addressed to maintain its integrity.
Avoiding the use of fire stops
Some construction contractors may try to avoid compliance with regulations by not applying fire stops in the relevant locations. Whether it’s due to a lack of planning and foresight or an attempt to try and cut corners for costs and timelines, this can obviously have dangerous repercussions. Tested and approved fire stopping materials are vital to keep those within your building safe at all times.
At Fire Industry Specialists Ltd, we’re the experts when it comes to fire stopping. Whether you need a fire stopping survey or the installation of fire stopping materials, we operate nationwide – including Lincoln, Nottingham, Manchester, Birmingham and Sheffield. We help you to ensure your building is compliant with regulations and safe for use.
Call us today to book an appointment with one of the country’s leading fire stopping companies.