When looking at passive fire protection products you will often see that they are given fire ratings. Often these fire ratings are expressed in hours, so you will see products rated for 1 hour or 2 hours. Put simply this is the amount of time a properly installed wall, door or panel will withstand fire for under normal conditions.
One of the main documents used in the design of passive fire protection systems is The Building Regulations Approved Document B. This contains the building regulations for both domestic and commercial projects. Within approved document B minimum times are given for which different parts of a building should be able to withstand fire. So, for instance a shop which is 30 meters above the ground and has a sprinkler system fitted should have a fire resistance of 120 minutes while a ground floor office only needs to have a fire resistance of 30 minutes.
Within Approved Document B the measurement standards for different materials are laid down. Most fire resistance testing is covered by the different parts of British Standard 476. So, for instance, BS 476-21:1987 covers the testing of load bearing materials while BS 476-24:1987
covers the testing of ventilation ducts.
Due to the complexity of the testing and standards around the fire rating of products many manufacturers now use the CERTIFIRE standard. This is an international certification scheme
that independently assures the performance, quality and traceability of fire protection products.
Regardless of the fire rating of individual products they will only work if they are properly installed. Fire will always find the weakest spots and routes through a building so even small gaps in fire protection systems can make them useless. This is why it is vital to have an experienced, and qualified, passive fire protection contractor assist with the design and installation of fire rated products to create a passive fire protection system.
CPS are FIRAS Accredited for our expertise in the design and installation of passive fire protection systems. We can assist you with selecting the correct passive fire protection products for your project.