What Is Compartmentation In Fire Protection?

What Is Compartmentation In Fire Protection?

What Is Compartmentation In Fire Protection?

Compartmentation in fire protection is the process of dividing a structure into smaller sections or units, known as compartments in order to limit the spread of fire and smoke.

This is done by using fire-resistant materials such as walls and floors that are designed to remain functional for a certain period of time.

The main objective of compartmentation is to contain a fire within a specific section of a building, limiting the passage of flames and smoke and thus allowing more time for occupants to safely evacuate. Compartmentation also helps protect valuable parts of the building from being damaged by the fire.

Fire compartmentation should be analyzed during each Fire Risk Assessment carried out by a competent Fire Risk Assessor. Additionally, it should be incorporated into construction projects as early as possible to help ensure buildings remain structurally sound in case of a fire.

Fire Compartmentation Regulations

Fire compartmentation is a form of passive fire protection that divides a building into smaller subsections using fire-resistant construction materials in order to slow down and contain the spread of fire and smoke.

Fire compartmentation is required for life safety and property protection purposes. It is regulated by Approved Document B, Volume 2 (2019) which provides detailed information regarding the minimum periods of fire resistance required in buildings for different purpose groups and maximum permitted compartments.

Fire compartmentation can be achieved through the use of fire-resistant construction materials such as walls, floors, smoke dampers, and fire doors.

The minimum period of fire resistance for a compartment wall or floor can vary based on a building’s specific purpose as outlined in Approved Document B. Compartment walls must also be installed between two adjoining buildings if necessary.

Regular monitoring and maintenance are essential to ensure that the compartment walls remain effective. Fire compartmentation is an important part of any passive fire protection strategy as it helps to save lives by slowing the spread of fire and smoke, as well as protecting valuable parts of a building from damage caused by a fire.

Why Is Compartmentation In Fire Protection Important?

Fire compartmentation is an important form of fire safety that has the potential to save lives, prevent exit blockage, give firefighters a better chance of containing and stopping a fire, decrease the amount of property damage, and protect specific rooms or areas.

By slowing down the spread of fire and smoke it can help create more time for people to evacuate safely while also providing safer routes to do so.

It can also be tailored in particular ways to protect areas with special collections or hazardous materials. Altogether, this demonstrates why fire compartmentation is essential for any building or structure.

What Are The Components Of Compartmentation In Fire?

In order for a room or space to be considered a compartment, all of the materials used in its construction must be fire-resistant. This is essential to prevent the spread of fire and smoke to other areas of a building.

There are several features and structures that are commonly used to enhance fire compartmentation and prevent the spread of fire.

Fire barriers are structures within a building that have a one-hour fire-resistance rating. This term is often used interchangeably with fire partition, but fire partitions have a lower fire-resistance rating of just 30 minutes.

Cavity barriers are used to plug up cavities within walls, floors, or ceilings that can provide a route for fire and smoke to spread to other areas. They are made of fire-resistant material or intumescent material, which expands when temperatures reach a certain level. Cavity barriers are important for achieving effective fire compartmentation in a building.

Fire doors are another important feature for fire compartmentation. They are heavy and fire-resistant with seals that can withstand high temperatures. It is important that fire doors always remain closed so that they can form a fire barrier. Regular inspections are also necessary to ensure their effectiveness.

Fire dampers are ducting fittings that prevent the spread of fire through ducting vents. There are both vertical and horizontal dampers, and three main types: dynamic, static, and smoke dampers.

Dynamic fire dampers are suitable for areas where the fan will keep blowing even when the fire alarm goes off.

Static fire dampers cut off all airflow in a duct when the fire alarm goes off, and smoke dampers prevent smoke from traveling through the ducts.

Fire curtains are fire-resistant curtains stored in ceilings that drop down during a fire, forming a fire barrier. They are ideal for buildings with open floor plans, as they remain hidden until there is an emergency. There are also varieties of curtains that focus on smoke resistance and others that are both fire and smoke resistant.

In summary, effective fire compartmentation requires the use of fire-resistant materials and structures that can prevent the spread of fire and smoke.

Fire barriers, cavity barriers, fire doors, fire dampers, and fire curtains are all essential features for ensuring the safety of a building’s occupants in the event of a fire. Regular inspections and maintenance are necessary to ensure their continued effectiveness.


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