Fire Ratings – Explained
Fire protection is a critical part of any type of building and interior design, especially in a commercial setting. Fire ratings are used for many different things including doors and non-load bearing elements like glass partitions. The rating is normally shown as two numbers with a / in-between as mention above.
Essentially the first number is a number showing the integrity and the second is insulation. As mentioned above the first is showing how long fire can be held back and the second is how long the effects of the fire can be held back. With testing, integrity is recognised by using the letter ‘E’ and insulation is denoted with the symbol ’I’.
Different ratings are used in different applications from offices to shopping centres and more. If you would like to discuss fire ratings and what you may need for your project then please get in touch with our experienced team.
Where are fire-rated partitions required?
When designing buildings, it is very important to think about fire safety. Always design with compartmentation in mind. Compartmentation is the act of subdividing a building into smaller compartments using fire-resistant materials (such as fire-rated partitions) in order to control/slow the spread of fire and create more manageable areas of risk.
Key areas for compartmentation are reception areas, corridors, staircases, common areas and escape routes. However, it is important to know that your design will depend on the level of fire safety you require – for example, if you only have 1 escape route, you may need fire rated partitioning which provides 2 hours of fire protection, whereas if you have 2, you may only need 30 mins or an hour.
Where fire-rated partitions are required will also depend on building type, its size and its height which will have different measures and standards. For example Approved Doc B Volume 1 refers to dwellings, whereas volume 2 refers to commercial buildings and more. Standards for each individual building are laid down by Building Control.
What are fire-rated partitions designed to do?
Essentially fire-rated partitions are designed to keep people safe. They provide protection against fire which enables people to escape the building in the event of a fire, but also enable enough time for the fire brigade to re-enter the building. Fire-rated partitions and other systems are also installed to avoid the spread of fire to keep the building itself safe. Buildings are very expensive, and the cost of a fire to a business can be very costly.