Australians are lucky to live in a country where fire safety is taken seriously. Whether we’re talking about strict standards of fire system implementation during the construction of new buildings, or the thousands of CFS volunteers across the country who bravely donate their time to fighting rural fires, we’re a nation who understands how important it is to be prepared for the event of a fire.
Fire walls are one part of a fire system that protects our citizens when they’re at work or within a commercial or apartment building. In this post, we’ll explain fire walls in detail and why you should call Fire Rating Solutions when you need your fire wall and passive fire system inspected and maintained.
What are fire walls?
Fire walls are fire-resistant barriers that are used to prevent the spread of fire within a building or structure. Obviously a fire wall on its own cannot stop the spread of fire if the fire can get over, around or through the wall. A fire wall and the elements it is attached to must all form part of the fire rated system.
Fire walls are part of your building’s passive fire protection system which aims to stop or slow the spread of fire once it has started. Active fire systems, on the other hand, aim to fight the fire itself – like fire sprinklers and extinguishers.
What are they made from?
Fire safety walls are made using high-grade, fire-resistant materials including concrete and reinforced concrete, Hebel blocks or specialised fire rated plaster board/gypsum as well as specialised products such as Speedpanel (aerated concrete core with galvanized steel shell) and Promat fire boards. Each product comes with an FRL performance rating, which is required by the Building Code of Australia (BCA). So, what does that mean?
A Fire Resistance Level (FRL) rating of 60/60/60 is an example of how to measure how effective a fire rated product is under certain conditions. This is assessed across three different criteria: 1) structural adequacy, 2) integrity and 3) insulation. If your fire wall needs to withstand exposure to a fire for at least 60 minutes, then it will need to achieve a 60/60/60 rating. Similarly, a rating of 120/120/120 would imply that the fire protection system could resist 120 minutes of fire exposure across all three criteria.
The FRL required for different classes of buildings is set out in the Building Code of Australia or BCA which forms part of the National Construction Code.
Why fire walls need inspection and maintenance
Without regular inspection or maintenance of your fire wall, it could be rendered ineffective. Barriers should be inspected annually and properly repaired, restored or replaced when damaged, altered, breached or penetrated. Openings made for pipes, electrical conduit, wires, ducts, air transfer openings and holes made for any reason must be rectified with approved methods to the FRL of the wall as outlined above.
Fire Rating Solutions are Melbourne’s largest team of specialists in the fire protection industry and work with quality suppliers and alongside leading construction companies to make sure buildings have sound passive fire protection in place. We deliver the most meticulous service, following the strict codes outlined by the Australian Standards. Contact us at Fire Rating Solutions for inspections, fire stopping products, sales and installations.