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Last edited 01 Nov 2021
Passive fire protection is a vital tool in any fire strategy
Active fire protection consists of fire detection and extinguishing systems, such as detectors, sprinklers and fire extinguishers, for example, which set off an alarm to warn of fire or help to suppress the fire locally. This area of fire protection is often what we think of first and foremost in managing fire risk.
Passive fire protection is perhaps lesser known. It consists of solutions which have been installed in the building framework to allow the structure of the building to resist the effects of fire for a defined period of time. It is a critically important area, with passive fire protection solutions working by inhibiting the passage of flames, heat, smoke and toxic gases – and by helping to maintain the stability and integrity of a building’s structural elements.
Built into the structure of a building to safeguard people’s lives and limit the financial impact of damage to buildings and their contents – it is termed passive fire protection due to the fact that it functions without any human intervention or external energy supply, in the event of a fire.
- Limiting the spread of fire and smoke by containing it in a single compartment.
- Protecting escape routes for essential means of escape.
- Protecting the building structure thereby ensuring its sustainability.
Passive fire protection methods are intended to
- Avoid the spread of smoke and toxic gases.
- Avoid the spread of flames.
- Contain thermal effects in the disaster area.
- Maintain the fire stability of structural elements.
 The mechanics of passive fire protection
To ensure the most effective partitioning of a building, the walls and floors of compartments must have a fire resistance degree corresponding to the type of buildings (which are detailed in UK Building Regulations).
All fire proofing caulks around these elements must therefore make it possible to reconstruct (reinstate) the fire-resistance degree of the wall by providing fire resistance at least equal to that of the building structure.
Passive fire protection provision is required in all buildings within the UK, whether domestic or nondomestic. All building work must be carried out in accordance with the Building Regulations 2010, Fire Safety, Approved Document B. Full details can be found on the gov.uk website.
Due to the regulations in place within the UK, the structures in which we live, including public establishments (ERP) and high or very tall buildings (IGH and ITGH), must have high fire-resistant qualities.
There are a multitude of factors that influence the amount of fire protection required in a building, but all solutions offered by Nullifire will allow the structure to withstand a fire for a set period of time.
 Achieving passive fire protection
There are a number of ways that Nullifire can support the work of Architectural Technology professionals looking to ensure compliance, with our products supporting all the passive fire protection requirements of a building through two distinct solutions:
- Fire stopping – these are solutions for construction movement joints, gaps and service penetrations.
- Intumescent coatings – these are reactive coating solutions for the fire protection of structural steel, also referred as structural steel protection.
One example is Nullifire FF 197, which can be used to ensure fire doors are compliant. A fire-rated polyurethane foam, FF197 is used to seal door frames, window frames and linear gaps throughout the fire rated areas of a building. Extensively tested, it is capable of bridging gaps of up to 35mm and offers up to four hours’ fire resistance. The foam is also tinted pink for easy identification.
The other area of Nullifire’s work is in intumescent coatings. If a structural steel building gets hot, the resulting collapse of a building can be catastrophic. However, by applying Nullifire intumescent coatings on structural steel, the metal is protected from reaching structural failing temperatures, with the coating able to provide stability for up to 120 minutes. This buys vital time for the emergency services to evacuate people and control the flames.
Nullifire’s intumescent coatings have been exhaustively tested both in-house within our own laboratories, as well as to national and international standards in independent test houses across the globe.
They also feature optifire+, which is a unique pigment that is impossible to manipulate. This offers a guaranteed source of quality to deliver new levels of assurance to designers, main contractors and specifiers.
For more than 40 years, Nullifire – previously called Firetherm in the UK – has been a market leader in intumescent and fire stopping solutions and stands at the forefront of smart passive fire protection.
We understand the need to have confidence in the fire protection installed in buildings, and our service is designed to help specifiers navigate the increasing demands from building regulations for effective fire strategies across commercial and residential environments.
Part of the Construction Products Group portfolio of brands, Nullifire’s team of technical experts offers years of experience to support with the specification and installation of passive fire protection products and advise on Building Regulations.
- Active fire protection.
- Approved Document B.
- Buildings of a great height IGH.
- Buildings of a very great height ITGH.
- CIAT articles.
- Establishments open to the public ERP.
- Fire in buildings.
- Fire protection engineering.
- Fire resistance.
- Fire safety design.
- Intumescent coatings.
- Passive and reactive fire protection to structural steel (IP 6 12).
- Passive fire protection.
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