Paul Hague of HSP Fire Protection provides answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about passive fire protection, and its place among the social and private rented sectors
As every landlord, local authority or facilities management company will know, the safety of your tenants and property is of upmost importance – especially when it comes to fire protection. Passive fire protection is your first line of defence against a fire that could occur in your property. After installation, passive fire protection remains inactive until the case of a fire in which case they work without human intervention. With this first line of defence you buy yourself crucial extra time – extra time in which fire fighters are able to reach the property – limiting potential property damage and most importantly allowing time for safe evacuation of any people.
The role of passive fire protection isn’t to extinguish the blaze, but to contain the fire to its point of origin and prevent flames and smoke from spreading throughout the building. Therefore, passive fire protection covers different types of product for many different building components. Depending on the building requirements passive fire protection can; seal openings to contain fire, retard passage of flames across a surface, or resist penetration of flames into structural elements to maintain structural integrity. There are passive fire protection solutions for both interior and exterior surfaces and building components, and for all kinds of substrate. So always ensure to get a professional specification when looking to add passive fire protection products to your property.
There are passive fire protection solutions for all properties; from new build constructions, to existing properties, and even for historical buildings. Some of the things your building control might ask you to do may be: Upgrading doors to fire doors; fire protection coatings such as intumescent coatings; fire protection for electrical or plumbing fixtures and fittings; fire Protection for soft materials such as fabrics, wallpaper and upholstery; plus protective solutions for loft conversions. The above list is by no means extensive – fire protection solutions and regulation depend on the property, building requirements, location and materials used.
A combined solution
Passive fire protection systems will be integral to the construction and maintenance of your property. However, they are not a stand- alone solution. To provide the most effective fire protection, using both passive and active fire protection elements will always be recommended. So that in case of a fire, the elements can work together to ensure occupants have the greatest chance of exiting the building safely and to minimise damage to the property.
Paul Hague is the director of HSP Fire Protection