FIRE COMPARTMENTATION SURVEYING
The new draft Fire Safety Bill now requires the owners and managers of commercial and residential buildings to take responsibility for the internal fire compartmentation systems as part of an annual fire risk assessment to ensure that all fire rated walls are protected and maintained to a compliant standard.
Fire compartmentation provides a suppression system against fire development, the design strategy of a fire rated wall is to provide a fire break between specific areas on a building floor including escape routes which is achieved by blocking exposed openings using fire resistant materials to stop the flow of oxygen, preventing fire from drawing out into other areas. This will in the event of a fire, allow time for building occupants to evacuate safely and fire crews to enter, ultimately saving lives and avoiding destruction of the building asset.
It is a known fact within the fire protection industry that many legacy buildings across the United Kingdom will not have any compartmentation systems or control documentation that complies with the current legislation. It is in these unknown situations that a condition survey must be carried out to inspect and evaluate on the compliance of any existing fire compartmentation and document the remedial measures required to bring the building up to a compliant standard.
WHAT ARE WE SURVEYING FOR?
We are inspecting for fire integrity, insulation, and smoke protection of every penetration opening passing through a fire rated wall or floor. Fire wall structures must be constructed from a fire rated board and be built to the requirements of the building fire strategy, fire compartmentation is then implemented to seal up openings that breach the wall structure including service penetrations, openings, board joints and deflection heads amongst many other routes where fire can potentially pass. The materials used to compartment fire walls and floors should be installed to a specification provided from a recognised third party accredited product manufacturer with build instructions and test data to support the fire rating requirements.
A certificate of conformity is required to certify the compliance of the fire compartmentation systems and must be approved by a third-party accredited company for the building to be classified as safe.