Inspecting passive fire protection

Inspecting passive fire protection

Fire safety legislation in the UK is designed to save lives in the event of a fire. As a result, the legal requirements for Passive Fire Protection (PFP) are aimed at ensuring that, in the event of fire, the occupants of a building can escape, fire will not spread easily within a building or to other buildings, the fire and rescue service can attend safely and the building will not collapse prematurely.

Since PFP products are those ‘built-in’ to the fabric of a building to restrict the growth and spread of fire and smoke, they are often difficult to identify and inspect. The ASFP Guide to Inspecting Passive Fire Protection for Fire Risk Assessors has been produced to assist Fire Risk Assessors to carry out inspections of PFP as part of a fire risk assessment under UK fire safety legislation. It provides assessors with appropriate guidance for them to be able to verify that the PFP supporting means of escape is adequate and will perform as expected to ensure that life safety is never compromised.

PFP products work to control the flammability of wall and ceiling linings, divide the building into fire resisting compartments, provide protection to the structure of the building to prevent its collapse, and provide 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.

Whilst a full investigation of all PFP would be the ideal; it is generally not necessary for a fire risk assessment under the current legislation. The aim is to ensure that the meansof escape is not compromised by deficient PFP and that the spread of fire and smoke is restricted. A fire risk assessment should thus typically consider:

  • Lining materials for wall and ceilings on escape routes
  • Fire doors – especially those serving escape routes
  • Construction of walls, ceilings and floors forming escape routes
  • Penetrating services in walls ceilings and floors forming escape routes e.g. ducts, pipes etc.

There is much guidance on this from trade associations and other organisations. Whilst this is useful background information it tends to comprise rather more in detail and quantity than is required for a risk assessment under the legislation. It is also spread over many different publications, in different formats and in different levels of complexity.

The ASFP Guide to Inspecting Passive Fire Protection for Fire Risk Assessors is a valuable tool for the Fire Risk Assessor in enabling Passive Fire Protection to be adequately evaluated as part of a Fire Risk Assessment under the legislation. It provides the assessor with all the essential information in one easy to use document. The ASFP hopes that in simplifying and clarifying the approach to examining PFP, fire risk assessors will undertake assessments that fully encompass and embrace the principles behind PFP.

The guide is offered in a robust A5 spiral ring-bound hard copy format, for £20.00 plus £2.50 p&p. The guide will also be available to view online on the ASFP website, www.asfp.org.uk.

For further information about the ASFP Guide to inspecting Passive Fire Protection for Fire Risk Assessors, visit www.asfp.org.uk