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DATA SHEET 4/23/04 10:56 AM Page 57

Fire Protection DATA

Jonathan Cherry and David Sugden
Passive Fire Protection Federation Fire rated partitions

1 Types of product
Fire rated partitions are internal walls that fibre-reinforced cement, vermiculite board,
provide vertical fire separation, for example or other proprietary materials.
in dividing walls, proprietary partitioning
systems, protected shafts, stairs, lift wells, Materials offering the standard 30-minutes
escape routes and separating roof voids of fire resistance may be fixed onto timber
between properties. In the main, these will studing or patented metal strip studding
be non-loadbearing, although some that is either channel- or angle-section fixed
proprietary systems may have loadbearing with self-tapping screws. Insulation ratings
characteristics. will be provided either by the use of
insulation boards or by mineral fibre or
Products used for the construction of other insulation materials, fitted between
partitions may be either standard gypsum the outer skins of the partition.
wallboards or special fire-rated boards,
depending on the fire rating required. The Some materials will offer a self-finished
majority of partitions are likely to be rated surface, whilst others are decorated in a
for 30 minutes’ integrity and insulation but standard way. But as these partitions may
systems with fire ratings up to 4 hours are form part of an escape route, surface
available from specialist manufacturers. spread of flame ratings for decorative
Specialist boards may be calcium silicate, materials may have to be considered.


May 2004 FEJ & FP


All major board manufacturers also System performance can also be developed as a joined-up solution. or ceiling performance. Methods for determination not necessarily perform as expected if not that the penetration does not endanger the of the fire resistance of non-loadbearing installed as tested. and offer training schemes. BS EN 1364-1: 1999: Fire provide comprehensive trade literature on with steel beams. is exactly as per the original specification installed. or for the incorporation of light structures of this type. of services must be a priority. Mixing manufacturers also provide the materials evidence of fire performance to BS 476: Part components from different systems is required for such penetration seals. wall will require sealing to the same fire will require sealing with materials or 3 Design and installation It is very difficult to upgrade the fire and whether there has been work carried • ensure the system that has been installed performance of a system once it has been out on the wall since its original installation. and system will be invalidated. Many installations systems: fittings. as a result of which compromised following installation. it is essential to techniques. Substituting sub-standard or correct fire rating and have been tested maintained. operated by manufacturer’s warranty offered on the proprietary fire-rated systems. tested together by a single manufacturer. Many system be tested as a system. doors etc. providing test be tested as part of the system. although many protection materials used for structural furnaces of 3m2 in area. fitters will appreciate the importance of the boards are removed or holes cut for interaction of components within fire-rated When specifying and using fire-rated services. Walls. since the resulting system will should be used wherever possible to ensure and structures. • ensure the systems have been installed the metal framework. supplied and Warrington Fire Research Certification. It could also mean any It is always safer to specify and install available from FIRAS. Co-ordination between the untested components could affect the in a similar construction trades on site. so it is important to ensure that Any fittings must be rated to match the wall • look out for constructions that use the specification is correct at the outset. The performance of a fire-rated • ensure any materials used with the adopt a joined-up approach to its system needs to be proved via a test or system (doors. These 22: 1987: Fire tests on building materials dangerous. fire rating of the structure.FP_MAY. components that have been tested in an plasterboard or proprietary materials should the doors. In from the Loss Prevention Certification this case the system will have been Board. jeopardising the fire safety of the building Third party accredited installer schemes are and its occupants. windows etc) carry the installation. as generally tested to prove its performance. it is important to note that resistance tests for non-loadbearing their systems and details of the test if an insulation rating is required. partitioning materials may be purchased over the protection of the steel may not offer such a systems are available for multiples of this counter at specialist suppliers. the lining board. The use of linear gap seals at the junctions The system will also be required to include of partitions and roof or floor structures windows and doors rated to the same level Similar care should be taken when services should also be part of the system test as the wall itself and any penetrations of the are passed through the partitions as these evidence. Where proprietary systems are used. A risk assessment should will form part of escape routes and a failure therefore establish whether there is any • ensure that proprietary warranted to construct them correctly can result in visual damage to the system – cracks or systems that have been fully tested are danger to the occupants. over long runs or at greater heights. holes will downgrade the performance – used FEJ & FP May 2004 58 . they are best rating when tested to BS 476: Part 22. the fire elements. and any subsequent components from several manufacturers As with all performance systems.DATA SHEET 4/23/04 11:00 AM Page 58 F i r e P r o t e c t i o n D a t a 2 Types of system When standard structures using rating. Such tests are done in wall evidence obtained. And. performance is not compromised. under the Manufacturers of all types of boarding Where partitions are installed co-incident European system. elements of construction or. the in accordance with manufacturers’ If the fire-rated partition is being specified recommendations fixings and the jointing products and and installed from new. to ensure that the correct performance and mean the installed system preparations are made for the introduction • ask to see test-based substantiation does not meet the performance claimed. in order for integrity to be assessment. windows and penetrations should appropriate construction. measurement and will have test evidence or installed by fitters trained by the Manufacturers advice should be sought for assessments supporting their extended use manufacturers and supported by third party the detail area around the steel members. fire work to the system must be correctly – it is difficult to check their performance performance is achieved through the carried out and finished to ensure that interaction of all of the system components. accreditation systems.

2 Paris Garden. Fire classification is defined according to BS EN 13501-2: 2003: Fire classification of construction products and building elements. Where this is the case the requirements are set down in the LPC Guide for the fire protection of buildings and must be agreed with individual insurance companies. as recommended. for the system will have been filed in the purpose group of the building. to BS EN 1364-1: 1999: Fire height of the storey in which it is situated. This information should form the with the height of each of those elements up at the construction stage. as contain details of all systems installed in the occupier who should: called for in section 6. where the partition Fire tests on building materials and is a designated compartment wall. If. what the through to the roof. excluding ventilation services. drawn CDM file. ASFP Published by Fire Prevention & Fire Engineers Journal Bastille Court. London SE1 8ND May 2004 FEJ & FP 59 . building.DATA SHEET 4/23/04 11:00 AM Page 59 F i r e P r o t e c t i o n D a t a 4 Inspection and maintenance 5 Relevant standards From a risk assessment point of view. it must continue Approved Document B to the Building surface of a wall or partition. based on the Management (CDM) file for the building. under the European recommends that it must run to the full protection levels throughout the life of the system. just by viewing the located on the top storey. or where it is and other documents difficult to establish.FP_MAY. it can be This may mean that the wall must run above a suspended ceiling. Classification using data from fire resistance tests. resistance tests for non-loadbearing elements. Regulations in England and Wales design fire performance of that element is. Insurance companies often require a building to have standards of fire protection beyond those specified by the Building Regulations. which will basis of any risk assessment conducted by (see Tables A1 and A2 in Appendix A. once the building has been completed. an accredited installer recommends the minimum period of fire Often. Methods for determination of the Document B (ADB) to the Building • ensure manufacturers’ maintenance fire resistance of non-loadbearing elements Regulations in England and Wales schedules are followed to maintain of construction or. the only way to do this is to go back has been used to construct the original performance for each of the structural to the Construction Design and structure. where fire-rated systems exist and the • ensure any subsequent work has been performance they should achieve. carried out to the required standard The fire performance of non-loadbearing • watch for any damage that may walls is tested to BS 476: Part 22: 1987: It should be noted that. combined Every building has its own CDM file. then a ‘Certificate of Conformity’ elements of a building.3 of ADB General that building. Walls. This should include details of Provisions). Approved downgrade the performance structures.