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The Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP) has produced a new Advisory Note on the Compatibility between Pipes and Acoustic or Firestopping Seals which provides recommendations to ensure that all components perform as required.

The new advice highlights two significant compatibility issues relating to: the installation of short metal pipes that are to be connected later in the build programme; and the installation of sound and firestopping products with cPVC sprinkler pipes.

The Advisory Note highlights that when short metal pipes which run through penetration sealing systems such as collars, wraps and mastics (fire stopping) are connected using soldering techniques, there is a risk of activating the fire stopping. It recommends ensuring that where hot works are being carried out in proximity to firestopping systems, adequate insulation is provided to protect the firestopping.

The second issue relates situations where cPVC sprinkler pipes are used in contact with sealants providing a firestop, thermal or acoustic seal. Certain plasticisers common in sealants can migrate into plastic pipes causing the pipe to weaken and eventually fracture under pressure, leading to an escape of water and resulting flood damage.  Such migration can also occur when any material containing plasticisers, such as adhesives or materials within collar / sleeve devices, is in contact with cPVC sprinkler pipes.

The ASFP recommends that where two or more systems come into direct contact, the system owners are informed and that written evidence is supplied confirming the systems’ compatibility and long-term suitability.

The above issues were highlighted during work conducted by the ASFP, the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), the Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA), Finishes and Interior Sector (FIS), the Gypsum Products Development Association (GPDA and UL to produce a new guidance document to address service penetrations in buildings. Drawing on the experience from many sectors of the construction industry, from those who work on partitioning, to the passive fire sector, the new guidance document will be published later this year.

The ASFP Position on Compatibility between Pipes and Acoustic or Firestopping Seals , and all ASFP guidance documents are available for free download from the Publications area of the ASFP website: www.asfp.org.uk.