The Importance Of Passive Fire Protection In Buildings

The use of and need for Passive Fire Protection Products in buildings/structures are highlighted in the National Building Code of India (NBC) (2016). It is the job of consultants to design the space, structure of any type of building whether residential, commercial or industrial.  They design buildings keeping in mind the guidelines outlined in the NBC. Furthermore, consultants are the ones who determine the types of fire stopping products to be used in each compartment and their fire rating.

Identifying The Type Of PFP (Passive Fire Protection) Needed:

Always get the right category of Passive Fire Products or combinations of products to help contain a fire once it occurs. A consultant will weigh in various factors such as the propensity of fire and the ease with which a fire can be put out in various compartments of a structure to determine the types of PFP to be used and its fire rating.

What is Fire Rating:

The fire rating of a passive fire product refers to the duration of time that a passive fire product will contain a fire for.  For example, the fire rating of a product can range from 30 minutes – up to 4 hours. This would be based on fire tests conducted on a given product by professional labs using specific standards that apply to those products.

The range of PFP Products:

There are many types of fire stopping products available.  Primarily, passive fire products are used to seal openings in walls & floors in order to provide a fire rated seal from one compartment of a structure to another.  So, the type of passive fire product(s) used will depend on the penetrants going through the compartments. In large spaces, a Fire Rated Compartment needs to be created in order to contain or limit the area exposed to fire.  

Initially, when constructing a building, fire sealing systems are used to seal joints between floors, floors to walls & walls to walls.  In high rise buildings where steel columns and beams are the support structure, structural steel fire retardant coatings are used to prevent the columns and beams from collapsing during a fire.  There are two types of structural steel fire retardant coatings, namely: cementitious intumescent steel coating.

There are various sealing systems used to seal openings around the many penetrants passing through walls & floors in buildings.  The way these products work is by providing a tight fire seal around all penetrants in walls and floors by stopping exposure to oxygen. Depending on the type of penetrant, the appropriate tested fire sealing systems would be used. For pipes as penetrants that are made of plastic variants, these will require intumescent based products to provide a tight fire seal.  For steel pipes, ducts and other penetrants, the openings around the penetrants are sealed with Fire Stopping Products such as cement-based fire retardant products and fire retardant coatings to be applied on mineral wool board as a fire stopping system.

Many materials can be coated with fire retardant coatings in order to slow the rate of burning, thereby preventing the spread of fire.  Some of them include fabric coating, wood coating, and electrical cable coating.

In large open spaces, where you need to create fire compartments.  In fire conditions, the use of automatic fire curtains is prevalent.  These are used in Malls, parking complexes and similar large open structures, which gets compartmentalized when fire curtain descends with activation of a fire alarm.

Passive fire products installation should be done by experienced personnel who understand how a specific product should be applied or installed in order to achieve the fire rating needed.  In the case of VSE, we manufacture, sell & install our products.

Please choose the right passive fire product manufacturer, supplier & applicator in order to safeguard that the appropriate systems are used for fire stopping purposes.


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