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Passive fire protection

Passive fire protection

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Passive fire protection (PFP) is an integral component of the three components of structural fire protection
Fire protection
Fire protection is the study and practice of mitigating the unwanted effects of fires. It involves the study of the behaviour, compartmentalisation, suppression and investigation of fire and its related emergencies, as well as the research and development, production, testing and application of...

 and fire safety in a building. PFP attempts to contain fires or slow the spread, through use of fire-resistant walls, floors, and doors (amongst other examples). PFP systems must comply with the associated Listing and approval use and compliance in order to provide the effectiveness expected by building codes.

Structural fire protection


Fire protection in a building, offshore facility or a ship is a system that includes:
  • Active fire protection
    Active fire protection
    Active fire protection is an integral part of fire protection. AFP is characterised by items and/or systems, which require a certain amount of motion and response in order to work, contrary to passive fire protection.-Fire suppression:...

    , which can include manual or automatic fire detection and fire suppression.
  • Passive fire protection, which includes compartmentalisation of the overall building through the use of fire-resistance rated
    Fire-resistance rating
    A fire-resistance rating typically means the duration for which a passive fire protection system can withstand a standard fire resistance test. This can be quantified simply as a measure of time, or it may entail a host of other criteria, involving other evidence of functionality or fitness for...

     walls and floors. Organization into smaller fire compartments, consisting of one or more rooms or floors, prevents or slows the spread of fire from the room of fire origin to other building spaces, limiting building damage and providing more time to the building occupants for emergency evacuation
    Emergency evacuation
    Emergency evacuation is the immediate and rapid movement of people away from the threat or actual occurrence of a hazard. Examples range from the small scale evacuation of a building due to a bomb threat or fire to the large scale evacuation of a district because of a flood, bombardment or...

     or to reach an area of refuge
    Area of refuge
    An area of refuge is a location in a building designed to hold occupants during a fire or other emergency, when evacuation may not be safe or possible. Occupants can wait there until rescued by firefighters...

    .
  • Fire prevention
    Fire prevention
    Fire Prevention is a function of many fire departments. The goal of fire prevention is to educate the public to take precautions to prevent fires, and be educated about surviving them. It is a proactive method of reducing emergencies and the damage caused by them. Many fire departments have a Fire...

     includes minimizing ignition sources, as well as educating the occupants and operators of the facility, ship or structure concerning operation and maintenance of fire-related systems for correct function, and emergency procedures including notification for fire service response and emergency evacuation..

Main characteristics


The aim for passive fire protection systems is typically demonstrated in fire test
Fire test
A fire test is a means of determining whether or not fire protection products meet minimum performance criteria as set out in a building code or other applicable legislation. Successful tests in laboratories holding national accreditation for testing and certification result in the issuance of a...

ing the ability to maintain the item or the side to be protected at or below either 140 °C (for walls, floors and electrical circuits required to have a fire-resistance rating) or ca. 550 °C, which is considered the critical temperature
Temperature
Temperature is a physical property of matter that quantitatively expresses the common notions of hot and cold. Objects of low temperature are cold, while various degrees of higher temperatures are referred to as warm or hot...

 for structural steel
Structural steel
Structural steel is steel construction material, a profile, formed with a specific shape or cross section and certain standards of chemical composition and mechanical properties...

, above which it is in jeopardy of losing its strength, leading to collapse. This is based, in most countries, on the basic test standards for walls and floors, such as ASTM E119. Smaller components, such as fire dampers, fire doors, etc., follow suit in the main intentions of the basic standard for walls and floors. Fire testing involves live fire exposures upwards of 1100 °C
Fire-resistance rating
A fire-resistance rating typically means the duration for which a passive fire protection system can withstand a standard fire resistance test. This can be quantified simply as a measure of time, or it may entail a host of other criteria, involving other evidence of functionality or fitness for...

, depending on the fire-resistance rating and duration one is after. More items than just fire exposures are typically required to be tested to ensure the survivability of the system under realistic conditions.

To accomplish these aims, many different types of materials are employed in the design and construction of systems. For instance, common endothermic
Endothermic
In thermodynamics, the word endothermic describes a process or reaction in which the system absorbs energy from the surroundings in the form of heat. Its etymology stems from the prefix endo- and the Greek word thermasi,...

 building materials include concrete
Concrete
Concrete is a composite construction material, composed of cement and other cementitious materials such as fly ash and slag cement, aggregate , water and chemical admixtures.The word concrete comes from the Latin word...

 and gypsum
Gypsum
Gypsum is a very soft sulfate mineral composed of calcium sulfate dihydrate, with the chemical formula CaSO4·2H2O. It is found in alabaster, a decorative stone used in Ancient Egypt. It is the second softest mineral on the Mohs Hardness Scale...

 wallboard. During fire testing of concrete floor slabs, water can be seen to boil out of a slab. Gypsum wall board typically loses all its strength during a fire. The use of endothermic materials is established and proven to be sound engineering practice. The chemically bound water inside these materials sublimes. During this process, the unexposed side cannot exceed the boiling point of water. Once the hydrates are spent, the temperature on the unexposed side of an endothermic fire barrier tends to rise rapidly. Too much water can be a problem, however. Concrete slabs that are too wet, will literally explode in a fire, which is why test laboratories insist on measuring water content of concrete and mortar in fire test specimens, before running any fire tests. PFP measures can also include intumescent
Intumescent
An intumescent is a substance which swells as a result of heat exposure, thus increasing in volume, and decreasing in density. Intumescents are typically used in passive fire protection and, in America, require listing and approval use and compliance in their installed configurations in order to...

s and ablative
Ablation
Ablation is removal of material from the surface of an object by vaporization, chipping, or other erosive processes. This occurs in spaceflight during ascent and atmospheric reentry, glaciology, medicine, and passive fire protection.-Spaceflight:...

 materials. The point is, however, that whatever the nature of the materials, they on their own bear no rating. They must be organised into systems, which bear a rating when installed in accordance with certification listings or established catalogues, such as DIN 4102 Part 4 or the Canadian National Building Code.

Passive Fire Protection measures are intended to contain a fire in the fire compartment of origin, thus limiting the spread of fire and smoke for a limited period of time, as determined the local building code
Building code
A building code, or building control, is a set of rules that specify the minimum acceptable level of safety for constructed objects such as buildings and nonbuilding structures. The main purpose of building codes are to protect public health, safety and general welfare as they relate to the...

 and fire code. Passive fire protection measures, such as firestops, fire walls, and fire doors, are tested to determine the fire resistance rating of the final assembly, usually expressed in terms of hours of fire resistance (e.g., ⅓, ¾, 1, 1½, 2, 3, 4 hour). A certification listing
Certification listing
A certification listing is a document used to guide installations of certified products against which a field installation is compared to make sure that it complies with a regulation, such as a building code...

 provides the limitations of the rating.

Contrary to active fire protection
Active fire protection
Active fire protection is an integral part of fire protection. AFP is characterised by items and/or systems, which require a certain amount of motion and response in order to work, contrary to passive fire protection.-Fire suppression:...

 measures, passive fire protection means do not typically require electric or electronic activation or a degree of motion
Motion (physics)
In physics, motion is a change in position of an object with respect to time. Change in action is the result of an unbalanced force. Motion is typically described in terms of velocity, acceleration, displacement and time . An object's velocity cannot change unless it is acted upon by a force, as...

. Exceptions to that particular rule of thumb are fire dampers (fire-resistive closures within air ducts, excluding grease ducts) and fire door closers, which must move, open and shut in order to work, as well as all intumescent products, which swell, thus move, in order to function.

Passive fire protection (PFP), as the name suggest remains silent in your coating system till the eventuality of a fire. There are mainly two types of PFP. Intumescent fire protection and vermiculite fire protection. In vermiculite fire protection, the structural steel members are covered with vermiculite materials, mostly a very thick layer. This is a cheaper option as compared to an intumescent one, but is very crude and aesthetically unpleasant. Moreover if the environment is corrosive in nature, then the vermiculite option is not advisable, as there is the possibility of water seeping into it (because of the porous nature of vermiculite), and there it is difficult to monitor for corrosion. Intumescent fireproofing is a layer of paint which is applied along with the coating system on the structural steel members. The thickness of this intumescent coating is dependent on the steel section used. For calculation of DFT (dry film thickness) a factor called Hp/A (heated perimeter divided by cross sectional area) is used. Intumescent coatings are applied as an intermediate coat in a coating system (primer, intermediate, and top/finish coat). Because of the relatively low thickness of this intumescent coating (350-700 micrometers), nice finish, and anti-corrosive nature, intumescent coatings are preferred aesthetically and performance-wise.

It should be noted that in the eventuality of a fire, the steel structure will eventually collapse once the steel attains the critical core temperature (around 450 degrees Celsius or 850 degrees Fahrenheit). The PFP system will only delay this by creating a layer of char in between the steel and fire. Depending upon the requirement, PFP systems can provide fire ratings in excess of 120 minutes. PFP systems are highly recommended in infrastructure projects as they can save lives and property.

PFP in a building can be described as a group of systems within systems. An installed firestop
Firestop
A firestop is a passive fire protection system of various components used to seal openings and joints in fire-resistance rated wall and/or floor assemblies, based on fire testing and certification listings....

, for instance, is a system that is based upon a product certification
Product certification
Product certification or product qualification is the process of verifying that a certain product has passed performance tests and quality assurance tests or qualification requirements stipulated in contracts, regulations, or specifications...

 listing. It forms part of a fire-resistance rated wall or floor, and this wall or floor forms part of a fire compartment which forms an integral part of the overall fire safety plan of the building. The building itself, as a whole, can also be seen as a system.

Examples


  • fire-resistance rated walls
  • Firewalls
    Firewall (construction)
    A firewall is a fireproof barrier used to prevent the spread of fire between or through buildings, structures, electrical substation transformers, or within an aircraft or vehicle.- Applications :...

    not only have a rating, they are also designed to sub-divide buildings such that if collapse occurs on one side, this will not affect the other side. They can also be used to eliminate the need for sprinklers, as a trade-off.
  • Fire-resistant glass glass
    Glass
    Glass is an amorphous solid material. Glasses are typically brittle and optically transparent.The most familiar type of glass, used for centuries in windows and drinking vessels, is soda-lime glass, composed of about 75% silica plus Na2O, CaO, and several minor additives...

     using multi-layer intumescent technology or wire mesh embedded within the glass may be used in the fabrication of fire-resistance rated windows in walls or fire door
    Fire door
    A fire door is a door with a fire-resistance rating used as part of a passive fire protection system to reduce the spread of fire or smoke between compartments and to enable safe egress from a building or structure or ship...

    s.
  • fire-resistance rated floors
  • occupancy
    Occupancy
    Occupancy in building construction and building codes is the use or intended use of a building or part thereof for the shelter or support of persons, animals or property. A closely related meaning is the number of units in such a building that are rented or leased, or otherwise in-use...

     separations
    (barriers designated as occupancy separations are intended to segregate parts of buildings, where different uses are on each side; for instance, apartment
    Apartment
    An apartment or flat is a self-contained housing unit that occupies only part of a building...

    s on one side and stores on the other side of the occupancy separation).
  • closures (fire dampers) Sometimes firestops are treated in building codes identically to closures. Canada
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

     de-rates closures, where, for instance a 2 hour closure is acceptable for use in a 3 hour fire separation, so long as the fire separation is not an occupancy separation or firewall. The lowered rating is then referred to as a fire protection rating, both for firestops, unless they contain plastic
    Plastic
    A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular mass, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce production costs...

     pipes
    Pipe (material)
    A pipe is a tubular section or hollow cylinder, usually but not necessarily of circular cross-section, used mainly to convey substances which can flow — liquids and gases , slurries, powders, masses of small solids...

     and regular closures.
  • firestops
  • grease duct
    Grease duct
    A grease duct is a duct that is specifically designed to vent grease-laden vapors from commercial cooking equipment such as stoves, pizza ovens, deep fryers and woks to the outside of a building or mobile food preparation trailer. Grease ducts are regulated both in terms of their construction and...

    s
    (These refer to ducts that lead from commercial cooking equipment such as ranges, deep fryers and double-decker and conveyor-equipped pizza
    Pizza
    Pizza is an oven-baked, flat, disc-shaped bread typically topped with a tomato sauce, cheese and various toppings.Originating in Italy, from the Neapolitan cuisine, the dish has become popular in many parts of the world. An establishment that makes and sells pizzas is called a "pizzeria"...

     ovens to grease duct fans.) In North America
    North America
    North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

    , grease ducts are made of minimum 16 gauge (1.6 mm) sheet metal, all welded, and certified openings for cleaning, whereby the ducting is either inherently manufactured to have a specific fire-resistance rating, OR it is ordinary 16 gauge ductwork with an exterior layer of purpose-made and certified fireproofing. Either way, North American grease ducts must comply with NFPA
    National Fire Protection Association
    The National Fire Protection Association is a United States trade association that creates and maintains private, copywrited, standards and codes for usage and adoption by local governments...

    96 requirements.
  • cable coating (application of fire-retardants, which are either endothermic
    Endothermic
    In thermodynamics, the word endothermic describes a process or reaction in which the system absorbs energy from the surroundings in the form of heat. Its etymology stems from the prefix endo- and the Greek word thermasi,...

     or intumescent
    Intumescent
    An intumescent is a substance which swells as a result of heat exposure, thus increasing in volume, and decreasing in density. Intumescents are typically used in passive fire protection and, in America, require listing and approval use and compliance in their installed configurations in order to...

    , to reduce flamespread and smoke development of combustible cable-jacketing)
  • spray fireproofing (application of intumescent
    Intumescent
    An intumescent is a substance which swells as a result of heat exposure, thus increasing in volume, and decreasing in density. Intumescents are typically used in passive fire protection and, in America, require listing and approval use and compliance in their installed configurations in order to...

     or endothermic
    Endothermic
    In thermodynamics, the word endothermic describes a process or reaction in which the system absorbs energy from the surroundings in the form of heat. Its etymology stems from the prefix endo- and the Greek word thermasi,...

     paint
    Paint
    Paint is any liquid, liquefiable, or mastic composition which after application to a substrate in a thin layer is converted to an opaque solid film. One may also consider the digital mimicry thereof...

    s, or fibrous or cementitious plaster
    Plaster
    Plaster is a building material used for coating walls and ceilings. Plaster starts as a dry powder similar to mortar or cement and like those materials it is mixed with water to form a paste which liberates heat and then hardens. Unlike mortar and cement, plaster remains quite soft after setting,...

    s to keep substrates such as structural steel
    Steel
    Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

    , electrical or mechanical services, valve
    Valve
    A valve is a device that regulates, directs or controls the flow of a fluid by opening, closing, or partially obstructing various passageways. Valves are technically pipe fittings, but are usually discussed as a separate category...

    s, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vessels, vessel skirts, bulkheads or decks below either 140 °C for electrical items or ca. 500 °C for structural steel elements to maintain operability of the item to be protected)
  • fireproofing
    Fireproofing
    Fireproofing, a passive fire protection measure, refers to the act of making materials or structures more resistant to fire, or to those materials themselves, or the act of applying such materials. Applying a certification listed fireproofing system to certain structures allows these to have a...

     cladding
    (boards used for the same purpose and in the same applications as spray fireproofing) Materials for such cladding include perlite
    Perlite
    Perlite is an amorphous volcanic glass that has a relatively high water content, typically formed by the hydration of obsidian. It occurs naturally and has the unusual property of greatly expanding when heated sufficiently...

    , vermiculite
    Vermiculite
    Vermiculite is a natural mineral that expands with the application of heat. The expansion process is called exfoliation and it is routinely accomplished in purpose-designed commercial furnaces. Vermiculite is formed by weathering or hydrothermal alteration of biotite or phlogopite...

    , calcium silicate
    Calcium silicate
    Calcium silicate is the chemical compound Ca2SiO4, also known as calcium orthosilicate and sometimes formulated 2CaO.SiO2. It is one of group of compounds obtained by reacting calcium oxide and silica in various ratios e.g. 3CaO.SiO2, Ca3SiO5; 2CaO.SiO2, Ca2SiO4; 3CaO.2SiO2, Ca3Si2O7 and...

    , gypsum
    Gypsum
    Gypsum is a very soft sulfate mineral composed of calcium sulfate dihydrate, with the chemical formula CaSO4·2H2O. It is found in alabaster, a decorative stone used in Ancient Egypt. It is the second softest mineral on the Mohs Hardness Scale...

    , intumescent
    Intumescent
    An intumescent is a substance which swells as a result of heat exposure, thus increasing in volume, and decreasing in density. Intumescents are typically used in passive fire protection and, in America, require listing and approval use and compliance in their installed configurations in order to...

     epoxy
    Epoxy
    Epoxy, also known as polyepoxide, is a thermosetting polymer formed from reaction of an epoxide "resin" with polyamine "hardener". Epoxy has a wide range of applications, including fiber-reinforced plastic materials and general purpose adhesives....

    , Durasteel (cellulose
    Cellulose
    Cellulose is an organic compound with the formula , a polysaccharide consisting of a linear chain of several hundred to over ten thousand β linked D-glucose units....

    -fibre reinforced concrete
    Concrete
    Concrete is a composite construction material, composed of cement and other cementitious materials such as fly ash and slag cement, aggregate , water and chemical admixtures.The word concrete comes from the Latin word...

     and punched sheet-metal bonded composite panels), MicroTherm
  • enclosures (boxes or wraps made of fireproofing materials, including fire-resistive wraps and tapes to protect speciality valves and other items deemed to require protection against fire and heat—an analogy for this would be a safe
    Safe
    A safe is a secure lockable box used for securing valuable objects against theft or damage. A safe is usually a hollow cuboid or cylinder, with one face removable or hinged to form a door. The body and door may be cast from metal or formed out of plastic through blow molding...

    ) or the provision of circuit integrity
    Circuit integrity
    Circuit integrity refers to the operability of electrical circuits during a fire. It is a form of fire-resistance rating. Circuit integrity is achieved via passive fire protection means, which are subject to stringent listing and approval use and compliance.-Fireproofing:Providing fireproofing for...

     measures to keep electrical cables operational during an accidental fire.

Regulations


The most important goal of PFP is identical to that of all fire protection: life safety. This is mainly accomplished by maintaining structural integrity for a time during the fire, and limiting the spread of fire and the effects thereof (e.g., heat and smoke). Property protection and continuity of operations are usually secondary objectives in codes. Exceptions include nuclear facilities and marine applications, as evacuation may be more complex or impossible. Nuclear facilities, both buildings and ships, must also ensure the nuclear reactor
Nuclear reactor
A nuclear reactor is a device to initiate and control a sustained nuclear chain reaction. Most commonly they are used for generating electricity and for the propulsion of ships. Usually heat from nuclear fission is passed to a working fluid , which runs through turbines that power either ship's...

 does not experience a nuclear meltdown
Nuclear meltdown
Nuclear meltdown is an informal term for a severe nuclear reactor accident that results in core damage from overheating. The term is not officially defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency or by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission...

. In this case, fixing the reactor may be more important than evacuation for key safety personnel.

Examples of testing that underlies certification listing
Certification listing
A certification listing is a document used to guide installations of certified products against which a field installation is compared to make sure that it complies with a regulation, such as a building code...

:
  • Netherlands
    Netherlands
    The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

    : NEN 6068
  • Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

    : DIN 4102
  • United Kingdom
    United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

    : BS 476
  • Canada
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

    : ULC-S101
  • United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

    : ASTM E119


Each of these test procedures have very similar fire endurance regimes and heat transfer limitations. Differences include the hose-stream tests, which are unique to Canada and the United States, whereas Germany includes a very rigorous impact test during the fire for firewalls. Germany is unique in including heat induced expansion and collapse of ferrous cable trays into account for firestops, resulting in the favouring of firestop mortars, which tend to hold the penetrating cable tray in place, whereas "softseals", typically made of rockwool and elastomeric toppings, have been demonstrated in testing by Otto-Graf_institut to be torn open and rendered inoperable when the cable tray expands, pushes in and then collapses. Spin-offs from these basic tests cover closures, firestops and more. Furnace operations, thermocoupling and reporting requirements remain uniform within each country.

In exterior applications for the offshore and the petroleum
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 sectors, the fire endurance testing uses a higher temperature and faster heat rise, whereas in interior applications, such as office buildings, factories and residential, the fire endurance is based upon experiences gained from burning wood. The interior fire time/temperature curve is referred to as "ETK" (Einheitstemperaturkurve = standard time/temperature curve) or the "building elements" curve, whereas the high temperature variety is called the hydrocarbon
Hydrocarbon
In organic chemistry, a hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon. Hydrocarbons from which one hydrogen atom has been removed are functional groups, called hydrocarbyls....

 curve as it is based on burning oil
Oil
An oil is any substance that is liquid at ambient temperatures and does not mix with water but may mix with other oils and organic solvents. This general definition includes vegetable oils, volatile essential oils, petrochemical oils, and synthetic oils....

 and gas
Gas
Gas is one of the three classical states of matter . Near absolute zero, a substance exists as a solid. As heat is added to this substance it melts into a liquid at its melting point , boils into a gas at its boiling point, and if heated high enough would enter a plasma state in which the electrons...

 products, which burn hotter and faster. The most severe, and most rarely used, of all fire exposure tests is the British "jetfire" test, which has been used to some extent in the UK and Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 but is not typically found in common regulations.

Typically, during the construction of buildings, fire protective systems must conform to the requirements of building code
Building code
A building code, or building control, is a set of rules that specify the minimum acceptable level of safety for constructed objects such as buildings and nonbuilding structures. The main purpose of building codes are to protect public health, safety and general welfare as they relate to the...

 that was in effect on the day that the building permit was applied for. Enforcement for compliance with building codes is typically the responsibility of municipal building departments. Once construction is complete, the building must maintain its design basis by remaining in compliance with the current fire code, which is enforced by the fire prevention officers of the municipal fire department. An up to date fire protection plan, containing a complete inventory and maintenance details of all fire protection components, including firestops, fireproofing, fire sprinklers, fire detectors, fire alarm systems, fire extinguishers, etc. are typical requirements for demonstration of compliance with applicable laws and regulations. In order to know whether or not one's building is in compliance with fire safety regulations, it is helpful to know what systems one has in place and what their installation and maintenance are based upon.

Changes to fire protection systems or items affecting the structural or fire-integrity or use (occupancy
Occupancy
Occupancy in building construction and building codes is the use or intended use of a building or part thereof for the shelter or support of persons, animals or property. A closely related meaning is the number of units in such a building that are rented or leased, or otherwise in-use...

) of a building is subject to regulatory scrutiny. A contemplated change to a facility requires a building permit, or, if the change is very minor, a review by the local fire prevention officer. Such reviews by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) also help to prevent potential problems that may not be apparent to a building owner or contractors. Large and very common deficiencies in existing buildings include the disabling of fire door closers through propping the doors open and running rugs through them and perforating fire-resistance rated walls and floors without proper firestopping. Example pictures of code violations can be seen here.

Common, accredited product certification and testing organisations

  • Europe
    Europe
    Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

    :


  • Netherlands
    Netherlands
    The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

    :

  • Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

    :
    • Testing: iBMB/ TU Braunschweig
    • Testing: BAM Berlin
    • Testing: MPA Dortmund
    • Certification: Deutsches Institut für Bautechnik
      Deutsches Institut für Bautechnik
      Deutsches Institut für Bautechnik may be translated as German Institute for Civil Engineering, however, the institute officially does not approve of any translation of its name and wishes to be called only by its original German name. It is an agency of the German , with an office building in Berlin...

       (DIBt)

  • Canada
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

    : Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada (ULC)
  • United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

    : Underwriters Laboratories
    Underwriters Laboratories
    Underwriters Laboratories Inc. is an independent product safety certification organization. Established in 1894, the company has its headquarters in Northbrook, Illinois. UL develops standards and test procedures for products, materials, components, assemblies, tools and equipment, chiefly dealing...

    , FM Global
    FM Global
    FM Global is a U.S.-based insurance company, with offices worldwide, that specializes in loss prevention services primarily to large corporations throughout the world in the Highly Protected Risk property insurance market sector. "FM Global" is the communicative name of the company, whereas the...


  • Norway
    Norway
    Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

    :

"Old" versus "new"


Generally, one differentiates between "old" and "new" barrier systems. "Old" systems have been tested and verified by governmental authorities including DIBt http://www.dibt.de, the British Standards Institute (BSI) and the National Research Council's Institute for Research in Construction http://irc.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/index_e.html. These organisations each publish in codes and standards, wall and floor assembly details that can be used with generic, standardised components, to achieve quantified fire-resistance ratings. Architects routinely refer to these details in drawings to enable contractors to build passive fire protection barriers of certain ratings. The "old" systems are sometimes added to, through testing performed in governmental laboratories such as those maintained by Canada's Institute for Research in Construction, which then publishes the results in Canada's National Building Code (NBC). Germany http://www.bundesregierung.de/ and the UK, by comparison, publish their "old" systems in respective standards, DIN4102 Part 4 (Germany) and BS476 (United Kingdom). "New" systems are typically based on certification listings, whereby the installed configuration must comply with the tolerances set out in the certification listing. The United Kingdom is an exception to this, whereby certification, although not testing, is optional.

Countries where certification is optional


Fire tests in the UK are reported in the form of test results, but contrary to North America and Germany, building authorities do not require written proof that the materials that have been installed on site are actually identical to the materials and products that were used in the test. The test report is also often interpreted by engineers, as the test results are not communicated in the form of uniformly structured listings. In the UK, and other countries which do not require certification, the proof that the manufacturer has not substituted other materials apart from those used in the original testing is based on trust in the ethics
Ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

 or the culpability
Culpability
Culpability descends from the Latin concept of fault . The concept of culpability is intimately tied up with notions of agency, freedom and free will...

 of the manufacturer. While in North America and in Germany, product certification
Product certification
Product certification or product qualification is the process of verifying that a certain product has passed performance tests and quality assurance tests or qualification requirements stipulated in contracts, regulations, or specifications...

 is the key to the success and legal defensibility of passive fire protection barriers, alternate quality control certifications of specific installation companies and their work is available, though not a legislative or regulatory requirement. Still, the question of how one can be sure, apart from faith
Faith
Faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing, or a belief that is not based on proof. In religion, faith is a belief in a transcendent reality, a religious teacher, a set of teachings or a Supreme Being. Generally speaking, it is offered as a means by which the truth of the proposition,...

 in the vendor, that what was tested is identical to that which has been bought and installed is a matter of personal judgment. The most highly publicised example of PFP systems which were not subject of certification and were declared inoperable by the Authority Having Jurisdiction is the Thermo-Lag scandal, which was brought to light by whistleblower
Whistleblower
A whistleblower is a person who tells the public or someone in authority about alleged dishonest or illegal activities occurring in a government department, a public or private organization, or a company...

 Gerald W. Brown
Gerald W. Brown
Gerald W. "Jerry" Brown is an American whistleblower who concerned himself with deficiencies in passive fire protection systems in US and Canadian nuclear power plants.-Thermo-Lag scandal:...

, who notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is an independent agency of the United States government that was established by the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 from the United States Atomic Energy Commission, and was first opened January 19, 1975...

 of the inadequacy of fire test
Fire test
A fire test is a means of determining whether or not fire protection products meet minimum performance criteria as set out in a building code or other applicable legislation. Successful tests in laboratories holding national accreditation for testing and certification result in the issuance of a...

ing for circuit integrity
Circuit integrity
Circuit integrity refers to the operability of electrical circuits during a fire. It is a form of fire-resistance rating. Circuit integrity is achieved via passive fire protection means, which are subject to stringent listing and approval use and compliance.-Fireproofing:Providing fireproofing for...

 measures in use in licensed nuclear power plant
Nuclear power plant
A nuclear power plant is a thermal power station in which the heat source is one or more nuclear reactors. As in a conventional thermal power station the heat is used to generate steam which drives a steam turbine connected to a generator which produces electricity.Nuclear power plants are usually...

s. This led to a congressional enquiry, significant press coverage and a large amount of remedial work on the part of the industry to mitigate the problem. There is no known case a similar instance for PFP systems which were under the follow-up regime of organisations holding national accreditation for product certification
Product certification
Product certification or product qualification is the process of verifying that a certain product has passed performance tests and quality assurance tests or qualification requirements stipulated in contracts, regulations, or specifications...

, such as DIBt or Underwriters Laboratories
Underwriters Laboratories
Underwriters Laboratories Inc. is an independent product safety certification organization. Established in 1894, the company has its headquarters in Northbrook, Illinois. UL develops standards and test procedures for products, materials, components, assemblies, tools and equipment, chiefly dealing...

.

See also



  • Authority Having Jurisdiction
  • Pressurisation ductwork
    Pressurisation ductwork
    Pressurisation ductwork is a passive fire protection system. It is used to supply a steady stream of fresh air to any area of refuge or designated emergency evacuation or egress route.-Purpose:...

  • Smoke exhaust ductwork
    Smoke exhaust ductwork
    Smoke Exhaust Ductwork is typically protected via passive fire protection means, subject to fire testing and listing and approval use and compliance. It is used to remove smoke from buildings, ships or offshore structures to enable emergency evacuation as well as improved firefighting.-Means of...

  • Grease duct
    Grease duct
    A grease duct is a duct that is specifically designed to vent grease-laden vapors from commercial cooking equipment such as stoves, pizza ovens, deep fryers and woks to the outside of a building or mobile food preparation trailer. Grease ducts are regulated both in terms of their construction and...

  • Fire test
    Fire test
    A fire test is a means of determining whether or not fire protection products meet minimum performance criteria as set out in a building code or other applicable legislation. Successful tests in laboratories holding national accreditation for testing and certification result in the issuance of a...

  • Compartmentalisation
  • Endothermic
    Endothermic
    In thermodynamics, the word endothermic describes a process or reaction in which the system absorbs energy from the surroundings in the form of heat. Its etymology stems from the prefix endo- and the Greek word thermasi,...

  • Fireproofing
    Fireproofing
    Fireproofing, a passive fire protection measure, refers to the act of making materials or structures more resistant to fire, or to those materials themselves, or the act of applying such materials. Applying a certification listed fireproofing system to certain structures allows these to have a...

  • Flammability
    Flammability
    Flammability is defined as how easily something will burn or ignite, causing fire or combustion. The degree of difficulty required to cause the combustion of a substance is quantified through fire testing. Internationally, a variety of test protocols exist to quantify flammability...

  • Mortar (firestop)
    Mortar (firestop)
    Firestop mortars are mortars most typically used to firestop large openings in walls and floors required to have a fire-resistance rating. They are passive fire protection items...

  • Fire door
    Fire door
    A fire door is a door with a fire-resistance rating used as part of a passive fire protection system to reduce the spread of fire or smoke between compartments and to enable safe egress from a building or structure or ship...

  • Intumescent
    Intumescent
    An intumescent is a substance which swells as a result of heat exposure, thus increasing in volume, and decreasing in density. Intumescents are typically used in passive fire protection and, in America, require listing and approval use and compliance in their installed configurations in order to...

  • Firestop pillow
    Firestop pillow
    Firestop pillows are passive fire protection items, used for firestopping holes in wall or floor assemblies required to have a fire-resistance rating...

  • Drywall
    Drywall
    Drywall, also known as plasterboard, wallboard or gypsum board is a panel made of gypsum plaster pressed between two thick sheets of paper...

  • Active fire protection
    Active fire protection
    Active fire protection is an integral part of fire protection. AFP is characterised by items and/or systems, which require a certain amount of motion and response in order to work, contrary to passive fire protection.-Fire suppression:...

  • Fire protection
    Fire protection
    Fire protection is the study and practice of mitigating the unwanted effects of fires. It involves the study of the behaviour, compartmentalisation, suppression and investigation of fire and its related emergencies, as well as the research and development, production, testing and application of...

  • Fire protection engineering
    Fire protection engineering
    Fire Protection Engineering is the application of science and engineering principles to protect people and their environments from the destructive effects of fire and smoke....

  • Fire-resistance rating
    Fire-resistance rating
    A fire-resistance rating typically means the duration for which a passive fire protection system can withstand a standard fire resistance test. This can be quantified simply as a measure of time, or it may entail a host of other criteria, involving other evidence of functionality or fitness for...

  • Gerald W. Brown
    Gerald W. Brown
    Gerald W. "Jerry" Brown is an American whistleblower who concerned himself with deficiencies in passive fire protection systems in US and Canadian nuclear power plants.-Thermo-Lag scandal:...

  • Circuit integrity
    Circuit integrity
    Circuit integrity refers to the operability of electrical circuits during a fire. It is a form of fire-resistance rating. Circuit integrity is achieved via passive fire protection means, which are subject to stringent listing and approval use and compliance.-Fireproofing:Providing fireproofing for...


External links