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Structural Fire Protection

Structural fire protection refers to the protection of a building through specific passive methods of fire protection. These methods include the implementation of fire proof materials such as spray on film intumescents, endothermic materials like gypsum-based plasters and cementitious products, mineral wool wraps and insulation. Where possible concrete is used in the construction of buildings to protect structural steel and joint systems from fire exposure. The intention of building fire protection is that the structure of a building will remain in tact even if the interior is destroyed by fire.

In addition to the main structural aspects of building fire protection, fire barriers, firewalls, fire partitions, and smoke barriers comprise further internal structural protection. Fire barriers fire-rated walls, floors, and ceilings are usually made of concrete, combination wood, gypsum, or masonry. If a fire were to break out, structural fire suppression allows occupants increased time to exit the building, and should an occupant become trapped, the structural protection will increase the amount of time the fire service has to arrive and perform a rescue. Firewalls, barriers and partitions help to compartmentalise fire and stop its spread, fire doors and fire windows also serve the same purpose. However, the key aspect of structural fire protection is to prevent a building collapse under the intense heat emitted from a fire. Collapsing walls and floors can injure and kill fleeing occupants and also cause injury to bystanders outside of the building. Structural fire protection also prevents adjacent buildings from catching fire or being damaged by a collapse.

Increasing Building Fire Protection

Structural fire protection is passive by nature and doesn’t necessarily prevent loss of life. Because of this it is common for fire sprinklers to be installed as a complimentary active fire protection, providing automatic fire protection in addition to structural fire suppression. Fire sprinklers are capable of extinguishing fire immediately and minimise water damage by eliminating the need for fire service hoses. In domestic residences where structural fire protection is not as prevalent as that of a commercial premises, fire sprinklers play an even bigger role in saving lives and minimising damage to property.

Without fire sprinklers the risk of death is increased, even with an efficient level of building fire protection. For this reason, fire sprinklers are becoming increasing popular in both domestic and commercial premises.

If you would like to speak with a professional about increasing the fire protection of your home or place of work then don’t hesitate to contact us

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  • McCarthy and Stone
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