Passive Fire Protection and The Building Regulations

In the event of a fire, a building needs both active and passive fire protection to ensure effective evacuation and access for firefighters. Active fire protection includes sprinkler systems or fire extinguishers – they’re systems that require ‘action’ to prevent the spread of smoke and flames. Passive fire protection is integrated into the structure of the building. It remains inert until a fire breaks out, at which point it works to contain it.


Passive Fire Protection is a Legal Requirement

Any new build, or building that is modernised or extended is required by law to integrate passive fire protection into its structure. This ensures that, in the case of fire, the effects are contained for a specified period of time to allow an orderly evacuation from the building. Passive fire management also takes into account the requirements of firefighters being able to access the building safely.

Compartmentation of Buildings

The Building Regulations 2010, Fire Safety, Approved Document B, Requirement B3 states:

Where reasonably necessary to inhibit the spread of fire within the building, measures shall be taken, to an extent appropriate to the size and intended use of the building, comprising either or both of the following –

(a) sub-division of the building with fire-resisting construction;

(b) installation of suitable automatic fire suppression systems.

This refers to compartmentation, which is one of the core principles applied in passive fire protection. It refers to the installation of fire doors, or fire barriers which separate distinct areas in the building. Fire resistant floors, ceilings and doors should offer a minimum of 30 minutes fire resistance to facilitate orderly evacuation.

Sealing of Joints and Cable Ducts

10.2 of The Building Regulations states:

If a fire-separating element is to be effective, every joint or imperfection of fit, or opening to allow services to pass through the element, should be adequately protected by sealing or fire-stopping so that the fire resistance of the element is not impaired.

There are two main types of opening that could compromise the integrity of a fire resistant structure: openings for pipes (10.5); and ventilation ducts, flues, etc. (10.9).

Effective compartmentation of a building can be compromised by the opening in walls created for cable trunking, sockets, lights and water pipes. Passive fire resistance design will ensure that all these gaps are sealed to prevent water, smoke or gas ingress. This will include the use of intumescent materials which swell, when exposed to heat.


About DunbarWallace Fire Protection

We are a specialist contractor of passive fire protection services. We can design, manufacture and install firestopping ceilings, walls, tunnels and ductwork. We’re experienced in creating passive fire protection for high risk facilities such as power plants, or nuclear facilities, and we have developed an excellent reputation for our range of professional services over the years.

DunbarWallace Fire Protection is proud to have been selected to be a licensed supplier and installer Promat DURASTEEL® Barrier systems along with other associated Promat DURASTEEL® fire rated applications within the Commercial, Industrial, Nuclear Power and Infrastructure Sectors.


DunbarWallace designs, manufactures and installs passive fire protection. We’re a licensed supplier and installer of Promat DURASTEEL fire rated applications.