How passive fire protection helps create a safe building.

How passive fire protection helps create a safe building.

The desire to create a firesafe building has never been greater. Finally, our industry has learnt from the tragic events of recent years and changes are evident in every project we visit.

Gone are the days of shipping products to site and moving on. Now we are here to support you from design through to build with training, workshops, and inspections.

But what is passive fire protection and how does it make a building safe?
A firesafe building is nestled between a construction that has effective and well fitted passive fire protection, functioning, and serviced active fire control measures and regularly reviewed and updated fire safety management measures.


Passive Measures

The passive measures are built into the construction of the building breaking down a large unmanageable risk into smaller ‘fire compartments’ that are easier to manage and control.

Areas of particularly high risk such as kitchens and storeroom areas often have enhanced levels of passive fire protection to control the higher risks.

These passive measures include:

  • fire doors
  • cavity barriers in external wall cavities
  • fire stopping products sealing imperfections of fit around walls and ceiling junctions

Pipework and electrical services are also addressed with passive fire protection measures such as:

  • pipe collars
  • sleeves
  • pillows and wraps where they pass through a fire compartment wall or floor

Correctly installed passive fire protection measures require no intervention from the occupants of the building; they’re just there, built in, in case of a fire.


Active Measures

Active measures are also built into modern buildings; the primary difference between active and passive fire protection are that an active system requires some form of command or signal to activate. Common examples of active fire protection measures are:

  • fire alarm systems
  • smoke extraction systems
  • fire dampers
  • fire suppression systems
  • emergency lighting

Fire extinguishers also fall into the active bracket as they require intervention from the user to operate. Active systems must be correctly installed and regularly serviced to ensure that they are ready to activate in the event of a fire.


Fire Management

The fire management of a building is an essential element that requires constant monitoring and review. Fire management involves fire drills, personal emergency evacuation plans (PEEP plans), arranging for the routine maintenance of equipment and provisions such as fire alarm systems, fire doors and emergency lighting.

Fire escapes and exit routes require management to ensure they are permanently kept clear. When construction work is undertaken the responsible person should ensure that the work is conducted by suitable qualified personnel and record and document the work undertaken to ensure that the fire safety of the building hasn’t been compromised.

It is only when all of the three measures are correctly implemented and monitored that you find a truly firesafe building.