“… we see so many non-complying passive fire penetrations … is costing the construction industry unnecessarily.”

burning money

FRS shares this article written by Peter Blain, Co Founder & Certifier, Plus Passive Fire:

Let’s not waste any money on Passive fire penetrations

As certifiers we see so many non complying passive fire penetrations that are defective and require reworks or in some cases pull out and start again. This lack of planning is costing the construction industry unnecessarily.

Further, under legislation the works may be re inspected and sooner or later a certifier or the QFES will defect the work and you’ll be back to rectify – at your cost.

Passive Fire is an integral component of fire protection in a building, which is designed to compartmentalise fires and slow their spread, ensuring occupiers can escape and fire services can access to fight the fire. Every penetration that is installed in a building, such as water pipes, air cond pipes, electrical sockets, cable trays and lighting units, can compromise the fire resistance of a room by creating openings in its walls, floor and ceiling. The role of passive fire protection is to seal the gaps these penetrations create should the worst happen and fire break out.

Some common defects associated with passive fire protection are:

  • Fire separating walls not complying or not extending full height or over eaves.
  • Penetrations fail on FRL insulation criteria.
  • That wrong assumption that more caulking will fix everything.
  • Fixings not to manufacturers specification, Nylon anchors melt, yes both layers need screws.
  • Wrong collars on floor wastes. That means showers too.
  • Mixing and matching different manufacturer’s products
  • Too many services in one hole.
  • Joint sealing missing or incorrectly applied.
  • Light fittings penetrating fire-rated ceilings
  • Using old penetration for new works – you disturb, you own.
  • Failing to gather enough info – photos, marked up plans and penetration registers.
  • The use of the words “but can’t we just” no must be tested system.

If you have any doubts – or even if you don’t – about the best way to ensure passive fire protection in your construction is compliant, you should seek the advice of a QBCC licenced certifier BEFORE works are started. Understand the Fire Rating Level of the building, ensure the system you are installing is going in correctly. This way you can not only ensure your work is going to comply, but that there will be no costly re works to gain the required certification, saving valuable time and money on your site.