The Fire and Rescue Services (FRSs) of the Government of the United Kingdom reported 577,053 incidents in the year 2021/22 alone, resulting in 272 fatalities and 6000+ non-fatal casualties. Fire is a risk that anyone can find themselves in, anytime, and considering the losses it causes, passive fire prevention is essential. 

Any building’s potential losses from an unintentional fire can be decreased with an effective fire-stopping system that has been adequately planned and built. 

Losses brought on by fire can include everything from property damage to fatalities and loss of life. The main objectives of fire-stopping are to prevent fire from spreading, identify it early, and safeguard structures, people within, and goods. 

So what is fire-stopping?

fire-stopping

A firestop or fire-stopping is passive fire protection used to seal around openings and between joints in a fire-resistance-rated wall or floor assembly. Firestops are made to keep a wall or floor assembly’s ability to withstand fire and smoke while maintaining its fire-resistance rating.

  • Is fire-stopping and fireproofing different?
  • What are the best fire-stopping methods? What fire-stopping accreditations do you need?
  • Are there any fire-stopping courses? Where can you enrol?
  • What fire-stopping documentation do you need?
  • We will discuss all these and also suggest one of the best fire-stopping documentation managers out there.

What are we waiting for? Let’s get started!

The Office of the Future

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Fire-Stopping & Fireproofing — What’s The Difference?

Fire-Stopping means a way to stop the spread of fire in a building from one room to another. Fire spreads through weak areas of buildings, such as wall-to-wall, wall-to-floor, and wall-to-ceiling connections, because these junctions have gaps and holes between them. 

Fire-Stopping materials seal these spots, preventing the spread of smoke, gases, and flames. Sealing the weak points of a building buys more time for first responders in a fire emergency to limit the loss of lives and property. 

Firestops prevent unprotected horizontal and vertical penetrations in a fire-resistance-rated wall or floor assembly. It protects from creating a conduit for fire and smoke to move through a structure that would have been fire-resistant otherwise, such as where a pipe goes through a firewall.

It is also required to seal the spaces between fire-resistant constructions, such as the linear space between a wall and the floor above, for a building to create a complete barrier against the spread of fire and smoke.

Fire-Stopping materials include:

  • Caulking sealants
  • Putties
  • Mortars
  • Spray-on mastics
  • Pipe collars
  • Intumescent sleeves
  • Joint strips
  • Wrap strips
  • Pass-through devices

On the other hand, fireproofing is a passive method to reduce structural damage to a building during a fire. 

Steel overheats, and concrete has moisture-filled gaps which explode during a fire. Fireproofing structural components make steel and concrete incombustible and preserve a building’s strength, and prevent it from immediate collapse. 

The heat starts a chemical reaction in the fireproofing materials, which produces an insulating barrier between steel/concrete and oxygen to prevent further burning. 

Fireproofing materials include:

  • Cement
  • Gypsum
  • Slag Wool
  • Vermiculite
  • Carbon black
  • Mica
  • Bauxite 

Both fire-stopping and fireproofing are essential components of an effective fire-safety plan. 

Learn more: How can we help firefighters in saving hearts and homes?

Best Fire-Stopping Methods

Determining the best fire-stopping material and how to use it depends on several factors. They include: 

  • The details of how a floor/wall is constructed and what materials are used in its construction, e.g., concrete, Gypsum, precast planks, etc.
  • The size of the aperture between the walls and at the junction between floors, walls, and ceilings, e.g., annular space, required a fore collar or sleeve since it’s too large for a caulking solution.
  • The type of piping within the wall, metallic and non-metallic, requires different approaches. The metal expands and melts when heated, so metallic pipes need a material that will fill the space created by melting pipes. 
  • The hourly rating of the floor and the wall. Most hourly ratings lie between 1 to 4 hours; the fire-stopping system should match the hourly rating of the wall and floor.

Below are some of the best fire-stopping methods and where they are recommended. 

Fire Sleeves

Fire sleeves are a pre-formed and easy-to-inspect solution for cable penetrations. They are designed for buildings where airflow control and cost-effective maintenance are critical, such as hospitals and data centres. 

Structurally, fire sleeves are made to resist extremely high temperatures while protecting wires, cables, and hoses from overheating. They also offer flame and abrasion resistance at a working temperature of 260°C and can withstand temperatures as high as 1200 °C. Besides protecting the cable system of a building, fire sleeves prevent the spread of fire through cable holes and hoses. 

Fire Collars 

A fire collar is a pipe fitting for locations where plastic pipes enter the wall of a floor. It seals pipe penetrations through a building’s walls, floors, and ceiling compartments. A fire collar is typically manufactured from steel, or temperature resilient plastic, lined internally by a material that expands when heated. 

Plastic pipes usually start melting in case of fires, and the expanding internal material of a fire collar seals up the melting pipe. This decreases the pressure inside the pipe considerably and prevents the spread of smoke, fire, and gases from one room to another. Fire Collars are an ideal cost-effective method for protecting the combustible piping system of a building. 

Fire Sealants

In fire resistance-rated constructions, such as walls and floors, openings and joints are sealed with fire sealants. Fire sealants are used to plug any small holes (up to 2-4 cm in diameter) to stop a fire from spreading from one region or compartment of a building or structure to another. Abrasive, intumescent, or silicone firestop sealants are all options. They may be elastomeric, meaning they can move or expand between 25% and 50%.  

Silicone Firestop Sealants are resilient to other chemicals, moisture, and weathering, elastic, and maintain stability at high and low temperatures.

Ablative FireStop Sealants buy vital time by absorbing the energy of a fire to protect what is underneath. They function by absorbing the heat energy from the fire and releasing it as gases as they char to create insulation.

Most of the time, plastic pipes and materials that pass through walls and floors are sealed with intumescent firestop sealants. When exposed to heat, intumescents swell, increasing in volume and reducing in density.

  What Fire-Stopping Accreditations Do You Need? 

The Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP) exclusively endorses installer certification programs run by third parties that have received UKAS Fires-Stopping accreditation. Fire service providers require UKAS-accredited independent third-party certifications to manufacture, install, and maintain fire-stopping materials.  Before you can firestop your building, you must have the following accreditations in the UK:

  • Certification In Quality Management, General or Specific

These will be managed by certification organisations, which may audit the business following standards like ISO 9001 or BS 9997. To become accredited by UKAS, the assessment body will follow the guidelines in ISO/IEC 17021-1:2015 Conformity assessment — requirements for entities providing audit and certification of management systems.

  • Product Certification

These will be run by certification bodies, which will create their scheme to comply with ISO/IEC 17065:2012 Conformity assessment — requirements for bodies certifying products, processes, and services to receive accreditation from UKAS.

In the UK, the certification mainly addresses installing passive fire protection products in the LPS 1500 standard. It ensures that the products are put correctly and approved by the insurance company.

  • Service Provision Certification

These will be run by certification bodies, which will create their scheme to comply with ISO/IEC 17065:2012 Conformity assessment — requirements for bodies certifying products, processes, and services to receive accreditation from UKAS.

  • Competent Person Certification

These will be run by certification bodies, which will create their scheme to comply with ISO/IEC 17024: Conformity assessment – general requirements for bodies operating certification of persons to receive accreditation from UKAS.

5 Fire-Stopping Courses You Should Know About

Course Who is it for? Course Content
The Fire Stopping Course Anyone who wishes to have a greater knowledge of fire stopping, linear gap seals, and cavity barriers. Recommended for installers, supervisors, managers, and directors

Primary Regulations and the Approved Document B concerning fire stopping and cavity barriers. 

Other penetration sealing systems, linear gap seals, and cavity barriers onsite and how they should be installed, including typical specifications. 

Maintenance, inspections, and quality control during fire stopping.

Passive Fire Stopping by Nulllifire 
  • Those directly engaged in the project ownership and installation of passive fire protection activity. 
  • Those who are new to fire protection and those already involved have to demonstrate that they are up to date with current legislation and best practice.

Theoretical knowledge of types of fires and their behaviours. Fire compartments and separating elements

Reinstatement requirements and fire ratings. 

Types of service penetrations and product solutions to achieve safe and compliant installations: Certifications, guidance notes, and regulations, Third-Party Certification Schemes.

Understanding Fire stopping and compartmentation by Fire Protection Association

Those working with the fabric of the building:

  • Contractors
  • Designers
  • Senior passive fire protection measure installers
  • Managers in passive fire protection roles
  • Team leaders in passive fire protection roles
  • Supervisors in passive fire protection roles
  • Site supervisors

Considerations about the installation of penetration sealing systems. 

Types of penetration and areas of fire stopping

Aspects that will affect the performance of the fire stopping. 

Elements of the maintenance of fire-stopping systems. 

Complexities pertaining to voids in historical buildings. Difference between cavity barriers, fire curtains, and smoke barriers

Introduction to passive fire protection by Association for specialists Fire protection For those considering a career in the passive fire protection industry A basic overview of passive fire protection covering key elements of design, installation and inspection.
Passive Fire Protection Level 2 NVQ by North West Skills Academy Ltd
  • Designed for professionals working in a passive fire role who are looking to gain a fully accredited certification. 
  • You require at least 12 months experience working with relevant responsibilities to be eligible for the fire stopper course.

Installing Dry Cladding in the Workplace. 

 

Applying Intumescent Coatings in the Workplace. 

 

Installing Fire Resisting Ductwork Systems in the Workplace. 

Installing Cavity Barriers in the Workplace. 

Applying Non-reactive Spray Coatings in the Workplace. 

Installing Fire Resisting Timber Doorsets in the Workplace. 

Installing Fire Stopping in the Workplace.

Understanding Fire stopping and compartmentation by Fire Protection Association  Those working with the fabric of the building:

  • Contractors
  • Designers
  • Senior passive fire protection measure installers
  • Managers in passive fire protection roles
  • Team leaders in passive fire protection roles
  • Supervisors in passive fire protection roles
  • Site supervisors

Considerations about the installation of penetration sealing systems. 

Types of penetration and areas of fire stopping

Aspects that will affect the performance of the fire stopping. 

Elements of the maintenance of fire-stopping systems. 

Complexities pertaining to voids in historical buildings. Difference between cavity barriers, fire curtains, and smoke barriers Introduction to passive fire protection by Association for specialists Fire protection  For those considering a career in the passive fire protection industry A basic overview of passive fire protection covering key elements of design, installation and inspection.  Passive Fire Protection Level 2 NVQ by North West Skills Academy Ltd

  • Designed for professionals working in a passive fire role who are looking to gain a fully accredited certification. 
  • You require at least 12 months experience working with relevant responsibilities to be eligible for the fire stopper course.

Installing Dry Cladding in the Workplace. 

Applying Intumescent Coatings in the Workplace. 

Installing Fire Resisting Ductwork Systems in the Workplace. 

Installing Cavity Barriers in the Workplace. 

Applying Non-reactive Spray Coatings in the Workplace. 

Installing Fire Resisting Timber Doorsets in the Workplace. 

Installing Fire Stopping in the Workplace. 

Read more: Planning for fire saves you from dire out-turns

What Fire-Stopping Documentation Do You Need? 

Like any other project, fire stopping requires several documents and an effective fire-stopping documentation manager to ensure the process proceeds smoothly. Some essential documents needed during the fire-stopping of a building are listed below.  

  • Approval Documents

The documents state that you are permitted to initiate fire-stopping. This includes accreditation documents and third-party certification. 

  • Photos Of Before/After fire-Stopping

A straightforward comparison photo album is required to analyse if the goals of the fire-stopping project are met and keep a check and balance.

  • HVAC & Firefighting Drawings

They include structural drawings that provide information about the heating and ventilation systems and the placement pattern of the fire hoses, points, and water outlets. 

  • Risk Assessment Document

A comprehensive risk assessment document assesses the fire dangers of rented or possessed workplaces and buildings. A risk assessment should determine the potential sources of ignition (heat or sparks), the chemicals that burn, and the potential victims of a fire.

 Floor Plans & Employee Management

This includes annotated floor plans, thematic plans, and a schedule of employees’ training and specialised training of preventive fire guards.

Handling fire-stopping documentation and ensuring each employee has access to relevant documents can be an overwhelming task. A fire-stopping documentation manager like PlanRadar is a web-based application for efficiently recording, tracking, and inspecting fire safety installations. Fire safety specialists can document their work, including photo evidence, throughout a project and deliver complete documentation to clients. 

Final Thoughts

The ability to put out fires is crucial to a building’s security. Fire stops are necessary to aid in stopping the spread of fire among the various areas of a building. Without adequately constructed fire stops, smoke and flames can swiftly spread through a structure, causing damage and endangering the lives of any residents.

To apply fire safety standards and protect a building or structure from fire threats, you can use fire safety software, a digital solution, a platform, or an app. It can be utilised by various persons, including property and facilities managers, QHSE managers at construction businesses, and specialised fire engineers. 

PlanRadar can accommodate all types of users because its fire risk assessment forms are customisable and let users make their report templates. Each type of user has somewhat different demands for their fire safety software, and PlanRadar can meet all of them. 

Fire safety specialists can assign problems, in the form of tickets, straight to a construction plan using PlanRadar’s fire safety software. They may include supporting documentation in this ticket, including images, videos, voice recordings, and written remarks. 

Get started with PlanRadar today to make your fire-stopping project a success!