Passive Fire Protection
The following is an extract from 'ASFP Guide to Inspecting Passive Fire Protection for Fire Risk Assessors'
Passive Fire Protection products are those 'built-in' to to the fabric of a building to restrict the growth and spread of fire and smoke. They do this by controlling the flammability of wall and ceiling linings; dividing the building into fire-resisting compartments; providing protection to the structure of the building to prevent its collapse; and providing protective routes for escape.
PFP products include: fire doors, fire-resisting walls, floors and ceilings, fire-resisting ducts and dampers, fire-stopping, and fire protection to structural members.
The supporting guidance documents to the Building Regulations make reference to the PFP in a building. In the United Kingdom and Ireland the PFP measures that need to be considered are detailied in the following documents:
- England and Wales - Approved Document B 2006 (AD-B)
- Scotland - Technical Handbook B 2010
- Northern Ireland - Technical Booklet E 2005
- Ireland - Technical Guidance Document B 2006
Much of the PFP included in the supporting guidance documents is designed to ensure that in the event of fire, the occupants can escape from a building; fire will not spread easily within it or to other buildings; the fire and rescure service can attend safety; and the building will not collapse prematurely.
As part of undertaking a fire risk assessment, fire risk assessors will need to undertake an evaluation of PFP in a building. Whilst much of the information given in the guide relates to the regulations listed above, this is mostly given in terms of fire-resistance using conventional failure criteria. In practice, smoke is one of the major causes of deaths in fire and consequently a competent risk assessor should concentrate on passive fire protection measures that restrict the spread of smoke within the building.
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