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Specification FAQ2021-05-11T15:03:49+00:00

We have created a dedicated FAQ area to answer architect’s most commonly asked questions. This is intended to help support the specification process and the understanding of key considerations. If you would like to know more, please register to our RIBA CPDs, or contact our Specification team directly using the details below.

Fire FAQ’s

What is the difference between integrity and insulation?2021-04-13T14:29:23+00:00

This is a very common question amongst designers and specifiers. Essentially, integrity refers to the ability to prevent the passage of fire, including flames and flammable gases. Integrity is recognised by using the letter ‘E’.

With insulation, like integrity, this prevents the passage of fire including flames and flammable gases, however it also protects against heat. Insulation is recognised by using the letter ’I’.

Within our Fire Screen range, this explains why our Defence EI systems achieve a fire rating from 30-120 minutes, whilst our Defence E systems achieve a fire rating from 30-60 minutes. You can read more about our fire rated system offering here.

What are heights and parameters of fire rated products?2021-04-09T10:48:09+00:00

The heights and parameters of fire rated systems will vary depending on their type. Below we have outlined Komfort’s fire rated systems.

E Fire Screens

  • Frame height up to 4000mm
  • Frame depth up to 50mm

Read more.

EI Fire Screens

  • Frame height up to 4500mm
  • Frame depth up to 110mm

Read more.

Fire rated partitioning (framed)

  • Heights up to 3000mm

Read more.

Fire rated partitioning (frameless)

  • Heights up to 2800mm

Read more.

The importance of escape routes?2021-04-09T10:37:39+00:00

Escape routes are a key consideration for any design. They need to be suitably located, sufficient in number and ensure they are protected and adequately lit.

In relation to fire rated partitioning, screens and doors, your design will depend on the level of fire safety you require – for example, if you only have 1 escape route, you may need 2 hours of fire protection, whereas if you have 2, you may only need 30 mins or an hour.

It is also important to mention that different sectors have different safe fire escape distances, along with how many fire exits there are from the building. Read document B for more details on this.

How do differing fire ratings affect performance?2021-04-09T10:53:43+00:00

It is important to know that differing fire ratings will reduce the performance of the neighbouring higher performing system. So for example, if you had EI 30 doors in EI 60 screens, the level of protection of the system as a whole (with both the door and screen) will be reduced.

 

How are fire rated doors tested?2021-04-13T14:24:49+00:00

Much like fire rated partitioning, fire rated doors (both timber and glazed) are tested in a large furnace at a UKAS accredited laboratory in accordance with the certification. Each test follows the prescribed conditions of the desired test standard.

It is important to note that fire ratings for glazed doors and timber doors are different. For example, timber fire doors performance is noted as ‘FD30′, whilst glazed fire doors are noted as ’30/0’.

Sign up for our ‘Fire Rated Systems and Safety for a Commercial Space’ RIBA CPD for more information and interactive videos demonstrating the testing process of partitioning, screens and doors.

 

Common locations for fire rated systems?2021-05-26T13:20:45+00:00

High performance fire rated systems are often used in corridors, along escape routes, staircases, common areas and high traffic areas for example. This is to ensure the safest possible evacuation from the building, and ease of entrance for fire fighters.

It is also important to consider that different locations will have different safety requirements. For example, Approved Document B Volume 1 refers to dwellings, whereas volume 2 refers to commercial buildings and more. You can read Document B here.

Acoustic FAQ’s

Why are acoustics important for working culture?2021-04-09T10:57:07+00:00

The world is becoming an increasingly demanding place and the workplace is no exception. In line with the WELL Standards, the relation between sound and wellbeing is more paramount than ever.

There has been a lot of research into how controlling sound improves work satisfaction and happiness. In a recent study by Oxford Economics, it becomes obvious that millennial’s desire quiet spaces and privacy. They have a dislike of noise and distractions which has developed from open-plan office designs; all of which are intrinsically linked to wellbeing, productivity and happiness.

Register to our ‘Dividing Spaces for Individual Wellbeing and High-Performance Buildings’ RIBA CPD for more insight into the importance of acoustics.

What acoustics can you expect, what would you use as the starting point?2021-04-09T11:03:41+00:00
Objective Typical situations Noise level achieved dB (Rw)

Typical noise levels for acoustic privacy in shared spaces

Open Plan Office 45-50

Typical noise levels for study and work requiring concentration

Meeting / Training Room

Executive Office

35-45

35-40

Speech for telephone communications

Corridor, Circulation Space

Cafeteria, Canteen, Kitchen

45-55

50-55

  • 20dB – Normal speech can be easily overheard
  • 25dB – Loud speech can be heard clearly
  • 30dB – Loud speech can be distinguished under normal conditions
  • 35dB – Loud speech can be heard but not distinguished
  • 40dB – Loud speech can be heard faintly but not distinguished
  • 49dB – Loud speech or shouting can be heard with great difficulty
The relevance of insulation above voids?2021-04-09T11:26:21+00:00

It is important to be aware that voids can impact acoustic performance. Insulation above voids, as well as cavity wall insulation, will help to soundproof walls by reducing flanking noise through the cavities. This is most relevant for doors, where acoustic performance is most vulnerable.

The relationship between acoustics and doors?2021-04-09T11:27:46+00:00

Doors can often cause acoustic vulnerabilities when looking at the performance of the whole system. This could be due to gaps around the framing, the system itself or how it has been installed.

One way to reduce the impact is to specify doors with an automatic drop down seal or threshold. Register to our ‘Specifying Partitioning’ RIBA CPD for more information on acoustic performance.

How can you mask sound?2021-05-26T13:35:03+00:00

Sound masking is a critical component of acoustic design. In certain situations, subtle background sound is enough to mask the volume of a conversation in an open space. This is why there is often a radio or TV in an open-plan office.

When designing an optimal acoustic environment, architects should consider a variety of elements to address noise control and speech privacy. Elements added either Absorb, Block, or Cover sound, and are collectively called the ABC’s of acoustic design.

Register to our ‘Specifying Partitioning’ RIBA CPD for more information on acoustic performance.

Do surrounding partitions affect the sound ratings?2021-04-09T11:21:18+00:00

The acoustic performance of surrounding partitions and systems will affect the overall acoustic rating of a room. For example, the overall acoustic rating will be impacted if a door doesn’t have the same acoustic performance as the surrounding partitioning.

Can you expect a drop off from lab test results to on site?2021-04-09T11:14:18+00:00

When given a dB (Rw) rating for acoustic systems, it is important to manage the client’s expectations. Remember that this dB (Rw) rating was awarded within a laboratory environment and when installed on-site, there can sometimes be a drop-off in performance. This won’t always be the case, but it is worth understanding that how the system is installed and its surrounding systems, components and voids will all impact the level of acoustic performance.

Register to our ‘Specifying Partitioning’ RIBA CPD for more information on acoustic performance.

 

Our Specification Team Are Here to Support

Please contact our Specification team below for any technical, specification and design support.

Aqsa Rafiq
Project Specification Manager

For London and South East specification support

Email Aqsa
Call Aqsa

Andy Kerry
Project Specification Manager

For East Anglia, South, London and South-West specification support

Email Andy
Call Andy

Sam Sanghera
Project Specification Consultant

For West Midlands specification support

Email Sam
Call Sam

David Gravil
Project Specification Manager

For East Midlands, North West and Yorkshire specification support

Email David
Call David

Allan Orr
Project Specification Manager

For North East and Scotland specification support

Email Allan
Call Allan

Komfort’s RIBA CPD Seminars

Komfort is currently offering the below RIBA accredited CPD seminars to help designers during the specification process.

Contact Our Specification Team

If you have any questions you would like answered, or for more information, please contact our Specification team below. We would love to hear from you to share design ideas and support you in the specification process.

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