- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 14 Mar 2018
To help develop this article, click 'Edit this article' above.
Fire dampers are devices designed to impede the spread of fire through walls, floors and partitions. The term 'fire damper' is defined by Approved document B, Fire Safety, Volume 2, Buildings other than dwellinghouses, as a:
'Mechanical or intumescent device within a duct or ventilation opening which is operated automatically and is designed to prevent the passage of fire and which is capable of achieving an integrity E classification and/or an ES classification to BS EN13501-3:2005 when tested to BS EN1366-2:1999. Intumescent fire dampers may be tested to ISO 10294-5.'
Fire dampers are installed in the ducts of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems which penetrate fire-resistant constructions and will automatically close on the detection of heat. Typically, a thermal element will melt and allow springs to close the damper, which will stop the fire from migrating into an adjoining compartment (ref. AMCA 2011).
Smoke dampers are designed to prevent the flow of smoke and products of combustion, and fire and smoke dampers combine both functions. Smoke dampers and combined dampers are generally resettable, and are operated electronically by smoke and fire detectors, as smoke may be present even where temperatures are not elevated.
From 1 July 2013, it became a requirement under the Construction Products Regulation for all new fire and smoke dampers used in UK buildings to be CE-marked to indicate product compliance (ref. CIBSE Journal). This recognises the testing standard BS EN 1366 – Fire resistance tests for service installations, which contains test procedures which ensure dampers are installed appropriately.
 Types of fire dampers
There are three main types of fire dampers:
- Curtain fire dampers which include a folded curtain held at the top by a thermal element.
- Intumescent fire dampers which contain elements that expand when heated.
- Single and multi-blade fire dampers which pivot when released.
 Managing the installation
Ensuring effective fire damping requires careful design, specification and installation, with care taken to ensure penetrations are properly formed and dampers are properly sealed. Systems should be inspected and tested regularly and this requires that proper access is provided in the building design.
The principal designer and principal contractor have a role in ensuring the proper design and installation of fire dampers, and installations will be subject to approval under the Building Regulations.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Approved Documents.
- Building Regulations.
- CDM Regulations.
- CE marking.
- Compartment floor.
- Construction Products Regulation.
- Dry riser.
- Fire and rescue service.
- Fire detection and alarm systems.
- Fire protection engineering.
- Fire resistance.
- Fire safety design.
- Joint fire code.
- Smoke damper.
- Smoke detector.
- Wet riser.
 External references
Featured articles and news
This article examines the changing policy commitments and evolving definitions of the zero carbon home.
Researchers believe they may have created a 'game-changing' new form of concrete using graphene.
Grouting refers to the injection of materials into a soil or rock formation to change its physical characteristics.
Part of Designing Buildings Wiki, BREEAM Wiki will advance knowledge sharing for the BRE family of sustainability tools.
From the decorative to the utilitarian, and from the photographed to the forgotten.
New BRE book considers the progression from project-based knowledge creation to whole-life urban knowledge management.
This CIOB article explores the concept of value in building design and construction.
BREEAM and Measurabl announce integration to improve the financial performance of commercial real estate.
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners' release new images of soon-to-open 3WTC tower in New York.
A document can be called a bond or a guarantee. Does the name matter and what is the difference between them?
New briefing note is launched focusing on increasing knowledge of housing that promotes health and wellbeing.
Arbitration is a private, contractual form of dispute resolution used in the construction industry.