What is Meant by Fire Stopping?
There are many aspects to fire safety, including: minimising the risk of one starting in the first place; detecting any fire that does start as early as possible; and having the means to quickly and effectively control or extinguish that fire should it start to take hold.
However, in many modern commercial or high-rise residential buildings, it may not always be possible to make sure that any or all of the above can happen. In such cases, you want to be confident that if a fire does take hold, it won’t spread quickly to other parts of the building in question.
To help with this, a number of systems have been developed that are known collectively as passive fire protection, which includes measures such as compartmentation, cavity barriers and fire stopping.
This article will examine how fire stopping fits into this range of fire safety solutions, and how Scutum London can help ensure that you have all the right measures in place to keep your property safe and keep you on the right side of all current legislation.
What is fire stopping?
All new commercial buildings should have compartmentation built in from the start, so that flames and smoke are unable to spread. Over time, however, occupants of that building may carry out various acts of refurbishment, renovation or refitting that can cause gaps to open, undermining the integrity of that compartmentation system.
Fire stopping tackles this problem by using fireproof or fire-resistant materials to fill any openings or joints between fire-resistant walls and floors.
Unlike cavity barriers, which seal off gaps in a cavity during a fire, a fire stop closes the gap made by a service element such as pipes and cables, or seals gaps around newly-drilled holes or holes left by the removal of a component.
What are the advantages of fire stopping?
Fire stopping has a number of important benefits, including:
- Ensuring occupants have more time to exit a building that is on fire – by stopping or slowing the spread of flames and smoke, occupants have a far better chance of getting out safely
- Less damage to your property – an effective fire stopping system will ensure that only items in the immediate vicinity are likely to be seriously damaged by the fire
- Allowing more time for emergency services to attend the situation and deal with a fire before it gets out of hand and puts other buildings in the area at risk
Fire stopping regulations
The regulations surrounding requirements for fire stopping can be found in several places, including:
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that the ‘responsible person’, in other words the owner or manager of a building, has responsibility for identifying, managing and reducing the risk of fire. This will include the need for and installation of appropriate fire stopping materials.
The Building Regulations 2019, Fire Safety, Approved Document B – Requirement B3, Internal Fire Spread (structure) tells us that: a building should be designed and constructed so that in the event of a fire “its stability will be maintained for a reasonable period” and “unseen fire and smoke within concealed spaces in its structure and fabric is inhibited”.
Approved Document B 2019 Volume 1 ‘Dwellings’, Section 9, states that: “Every joint, imperfect fit and opening for services through a fire-separating element should be sealed with fire-stopping to ensure that the fire resistance of the element is not impaired”.
Meanwhile, BS 7671:2018 Regulation 527.2 states that “Where a wiring system passes through elements of building construction such as floors, walls, roofs, ceilings, partitions or cavity barriers, the openings remaining after passage of the wiring system shall be sealed according to the degree of fire-resistance (if any) prescribed for the respective element of building construction before penetration”.
Fire stopping and Scutum London
At Scutum London, our experts can help assess your commercial property to detect any requirements for fire stopping that you might have. Our FIRAS and LPCB-approved contractors can work with your developers, designers and builders to ensure that all necessary fire stopping measures are in place, up to standard and keeping you considerably safer in the event of a fire at your premises.
Contact Scutum London today to ask about a fire stopping survey or a full risk assessment for your commercial premises in London, Surrey or the wider South East England area.
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About Scutum London
Scutum London is a leading expert in fire safety and security solutions for businesses and organisations located across South East England, including London and Surrey.
From fire alarms, fire extinguishers and fire risk assessments to access control, CCTV and intruder alarm systems – and a lot more besides – we offer a comprehensive range of products and services designed to keep you, your business and your staff and visitors safe.
With decades of industry experience to call on, we’re proud to hold accreditations from leading trade associations and bodies such as British Approvals for Fire Equipment (BAFE), the British Fire Consortium, the Fire Industry Association (FIA) and Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB).
If you’d like to find out more about Scutum London, get in touch with our friendly team or explore our products and services on our site.