Answer To A Burning Question

Everybody recognises that uncontained fire is dangerous. Indeed, the threats associated with fire have been recognised in the UK for more than 350 years.

When the Great Fire of London began up in the centre of the capital in 1666 it destroyed over 13,000 houses and 87 parish churches, gutted St Paul’s Cathedral, and destroyed most of the buildings run by city authorities. It has been estimated that 70,000 of London’s 80,000 inhabitants were made homeless by this devastating conflagration.

Of course, London at that time was nothing like it is today. Three and a half centuries ago it comprised a rabbit warren of densely packed wooden buildings, with no thought having been given to passive fire protection to contain the spread of fire.

But is fire prevention any better today? I would say that – notwithstanding horrific incidents like the Grenfell fire – the answer is a cautious ‘yes’.

We have, after all, learned that dividing a building into a series of fire-tight boxes – or compartments – can help prevent or slow down the passage of smoke, heat and toxic gases, giving building occupants time to escape.

Fire stopping – sealing gaps and openings to prevent fire, heat and smoke passing from one building compartment to another – can help prevent fire-related fatalities. But only if it is appropriate for the job and fitted correctly.

However, beware. Fire stopping is not always carried out to a high enough standard. It is absolutely critical to make good the compartment walls once the work has been completed. You simply won’t achieve the delay in fire spreading required by building regulations or the design if you don’t fit appropriate fire stops.

Mechanical and electrical services inevitably breach compartment walls and floors, often causing a failure of integrity. Fire stopping should be – and, sometimes, is – carried out very well.

However, there are occasions when it’s not done properly, or even at all. Indeed, it isn’t uncommon to turn up at a scene after a fire and find that one of the contributing factors is the poor quality of construction and a lack of appropriate fire stopping.

That’s why ECEX has introduced a new range of fire stopping services, including fire stopping of walls, floors and risers; fire barriers; structural fire protection; fire-rated ductwork and air sealing.

Our own fire stopping service is FIRAS-accredited and we are on the approved list for leading M&E contractors, which means that all work complies with the relevant legislation.

FIRAS is voluntary, third party certification for installation contractors of both passive and active fire protection systems, operated by Warrington Certification, and accredited by UKAS to BS EN ISO/IEC 17065:2012.

As a requirement of the FIRAS scheme, certificated companies are required to employ, on a permanent or contract basis, competent supervisors and technicians whose technical and practical competence is assessed by FIRAS inspectors in the trade disciplines for which certification scope is held.

Our services include:

Why not contact us for a free site visit?

For more information about our fire stopping services, click here.