The Importance of Fire Safety in Construction
Jan 17, 2019
We’ve seen in recent years the devastation caused by poor fire safety. With a significant number of lives lost due to lack of due care and diligence, it’s more important than ever that we understand fire safety in construction, how we should be safeguarding our builds to prevent such tragedies.
As a builders’ merchant, we’re committed to supporting our customers in their construction projects, and whilst predominantly this comes down to the delivery of suitable fire safety equipment and bespoke solutions this also means investing in relevant training for our team. In order of us to effectively deliver what our customers require, we need to understand the challenges they face and have a comprehensive knowledge of industry issues and relevant legislation.
To complement our range of fire protection products, we’ve sent one of our Regional Sales Coordinators, Craig Woodcock on a course (Passive fire protection: Advanced Level) to ensure we’re fully equipped to be able to support our customers when it comes to understanding and delivering sufficient fire protection.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the course, and feel equipped to be able to support our customers with my new knowledge. It’s really important that businesses invest in their teams, particularly in an industry like construction where regulation and legislation is often changing.”
The role of fire systems
PFP, or passive fire protection is a necessary component in ensuring fire safety within a building. Working alongside active fire prevention strategies, it reduces the danger to human life first and foremost, but also helps prevent significant building damage when installed correctly. More specifically, such systems can help contain smoke in a single area whilst ensuring exit routes are protected for escape.
Compartmentation is one type of PFP. With large spaces are often believed to present a higher risk; the sub division of space can act as a safeguard, lowering the risk of fire spreading. It’s critical to note, however, that there must be suitable resistance within compartment joints, in the case of a high-rise this would mean adequate protection between individual apartments for example.
Structural and firestopping systems are another form of passive protection, and one commonly known form is the cavity barrier. Designed with insulating properties it protects from the rapid spread of fire and smoke within a building. With hidden cavities forming part of most modern buildings, this barrier is a crucial element in the delivery of fire protection.
Whilst the cause of building fires can be attributed to a wide number of preventable and non-preventable causes, cavity wall barriers are understood to be one of the most prevalent problems. In some cases, the lack of any wall barrier is the cause, but in others this comes down to a poor-quality option or insulation that has been improperly installed or become displaced after initial installation.
Cavity barriers aren’t the only passive provision for reducing risk. Intumescent seals also play an integral role in fire safety in construction. Designed to expand in the event of fire, smoke seals are able to contain fire in one area, helping to ensure those trapped have sufficient time to escape a building. Like all fire safety equipment, intumescent seals must be fire tested and meet industry standards, giving buyers the ultimate peace of mind.
Some other examples of PFP include: Resistant walls, ceiling and ducts, fire doors, air transfer grilles, collar and wrap, fire hoods, fire-resistant coatings, PFP sheet.
As we’ve noted, passive protection alone isn’t enough. AFP, or active fire protection is reactive in the event of fire and is used for detection or suppression. Examples of AFP might include smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. Reliability should always be a key consideration when deciding upon active systems, as should the desired purpose, and structure and use of the building.
Fire safety in construction is a complex topic, but an important one. With legislation and regulations on every aspect of fireproofing, it can be difficult to determine where to go for the right advice. Below you’ll find resources and documents that will help you understand your roles and responsibilities as a construction professional.
The Approved Documents B (Volume 1 & 2).
These regulations provide a framework for adequate fire safety for buildings. They cover the basic level of safety provisions required for escape and are specifically focused on saving peoples’ lives, rather than the integrity of the building.
Access the full document here: https://bit.ly/2tRyZW5
Regulatory Reform Order
Specifically designed for non-domestic buildings, but again setting out the minimum requirements for safety this document highlights the roles and responsibilities of relevant authoritative bodies in enforcing safety.
Access the full document here: https://bit.ly/2QDAKhs
Third Party installer certification
Businesses can apply for UKAS accreditation which recognises them as professional, knowledgeable and competent when it comes to their commitment to fire safety. Current projects will be audited to determine eligibility of certification.
ASFP: Association for specialist fire protection.
Alongside representation, members are able to access to useful guidance and resources around passive fire protection.
strukta Fire Protection: let us support you.
“We purchase our fire cavity socks from strukta because of the importance of getting the product correct for the jobs they are made to do.”
Gordon, Guest & Fiore Contract Bricklayers
Having an inhouse resource with the requisite industry knowledge is important to us, and helps us better inform our customers – but we are also focused on delivering the fire safety equipment you need. At strukta we provide high quality fire safety products and we understand that managing downtime, and getting products on site when you need them is always a priority for any project, but when the job impacts safety, that that priority intensifies.
It’s for this exact reason that we offer free next day delivery* on our entire stock range, including our Flamstop fire protection products and other fire safety equipment. Whilst Craig is our resident expert when it comes to fire safety in construction, we’ve a great team on hand ready to talk through your individual requirements. Whether you know what you need, are looking for some advice or would like an Account Manager to visit your site we’ve got it covered.
Click here for our full range of Fire Safety Equipment, or contact our team today on 033 33 21 00 13 or firstname.lastname@example.org