The Importance Of Intumescent Seals
The fire safety industry has been embroiled in a debate after an article on the Hotel Industry Magazine website has highlighted a discussion about the importance of the installation of fire doors and intumescent seals. The article discussed the recently published Determination on the need for intumescent seals in a hotel inspection by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
The DCLG’s Determination concluded that the 215 bedroom hotel’s existing fire safety measures were “sufficient to adequately protect occupants in the event of a fire”, without updating their existing bedroom doors and installing intumescent strips and smoke seals.
However, the document has caused concern throughout the fire safety industry and many fire safety specialists have spoken out regarding their disappointment on the conclusion it reached. The Intumescent Fire Seals Association (IFSA), who were founded in 1982 and are “dedicated to the science and application of intumescent based sealing materials” have voiced their opinions, claiming the conclusion “relies heavily on poorly interpreted history and statistics.” They also question the safety measures deemed suitable asking how a “hotel in the UK can depend on 41 year old technology to protect its residents.”
BWF-Certifire (British Woodworking Federation), who are specialists at fire door safety, agree with the IFSA and state on their website that their “view and advice remains unchanged” since the Determination report. They “believe that it is always advisable to fit fire and smoke seals to fire doors” and say that this opinion is based upon years of research, testing and building regulations.
One of the country’s leading suppliers of fire door seals, including intumescent strips, have also spoken out on the debate, suggesting that they are a vital element of complete fire safety and that the Determination “goes against the worldwide trend to fit fire protection seals”. They believe that fire safety has dramatically evolved over the past 30 years and that many factors affecting fire safety have also changed, including the type of furniture many residential and commercial properties utilise. They say that “modern day furniture often comes in flat packs and is manufactured from wood based composites which may lead to more heat release and smoke being produced in the advent of a fire”. As a result, they believe intumescent strips should be fitted as a matter of course and can greatly enhance the overall fire safety within a building.
The fire safety industry seem to share a dissatisfaction with the conclusion reached by the DCLG and are in agreement that using intumescent seals are a highly effective fire protection method. Assembled using PVC casings, they contain an expendable graphite compound which releases a foam at a certain temperature. This foam then fills the door leaf-to-frame gap, offering a secure seal and helping to control, slow and decrease the spread of fire throughout a building and limit the damage and destruction it can cause.
As comprehensive fire safety equipment suppliers, Scutum Group supply and install a wide range of fire doors and can fit intumescent seals to the most superior standards. Simply contact us today for more information or to arrange a fire safety consultation at your convenience.
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