The Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP) is launching a new guidance video at Firex International, the ninth in its extensive video library.
The new video provides guidance on The correct specification and installation of fire-stopping. It describes the vital role of compartmentation in limiting the spread of fire and smoke within buildings and explains why any breaches in compartment walls and floors for service openings must be appropriately sealed, or ‘fire-stopped’, to ensure their continued performance.
The video warns that inappropriate selection and or badly installed fire-stopping systems can significantly increase the risk to life safety and damage to the fabric of the building, and highlights the importance of ensuring that the product to be used has been tested or certificated for the specific use intended.
It highlights the inappropriate use of so called fire-rated polyurethane (PU) foams as an issue of significant concern. The video explains that such foams are sometimes sold on the basis of their performance in less severe reaction to fire tests; or, where they have passed more severe fire resistance tests, are often used far outside the scope of their tested performance.
Featuring footage of a fire test carried out on behalf of the ASFP, the video clearly demonstrates how correctly installed fire-stopping can effectively hold back smoke and fire; while incorrectly chosen and installed fire-stopping will fail, allowing smoke and flames to quickly spread.
The fire test features a range of fire-stopping systems installed in a compartment wall designed to survive a one hour fire test. Alarmingly, it shows that in less than 10 minutes, all of the fire-stopping examples where foam was inappropriately used in a situation for which it was not designed and tested have completely failed. Meanwhile, the correctly installed systems perform as designed, with no flames or smoke escaping. These systems have been successfully tested for one hour.
The video advises that any installations fire-stopped with a PU foam whose performance has only been demonstrated using a reaction to fire test or which only claims a reaction to fire class should not be used for fire-stopping and should be replaced with a fire-stopping product/system which has been successfully proven for the end-use application in question. It adds that unless the fire test data clearly states otherwise, such foams are usually only suitable for small apertures in a compartment wall or floor.
The ASFP recommends that specifiers must ensure that every fire-stopping product used offers suitable test/certification evidence for the end use of the product, and that all those installing such products must be able to demonstrate competency in their installation. The Association explains that the best way of ensuring this, is to specify third party certificated products, installed by a third party certificated installer.The video will be available to view throughout the show on the ASFP stand (D179) and via the ASFP Video library at http://asfp.org.uk/webdocs/ASFP%20Video%20library.php