Fire Compartmentation in Buildings

Adequate fire compartmentation prevents both rapid smoke and fire spread through a building. This is achieved by subdividing the building into protected compartments so that escape routes are not compromised, high risk areas are contained, and high value areas are protected in fire scenarios.

A suitable and sufficient Fire Risk Assessment should include a review of fire compartmentation, although the scope of this is often limited and will not extensively cover every compartmentation provision. It is common that the fire risk assessor will recommend a more comprehensive and detailed survey where defects are found or when as-built information is not available.

Christian Watkins

Under the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order (2005) it is the responsible persons duty to ensure the building complies with the legislation. Failure to ensure a building is compartmented in accordance with the fire strategy could result in legal action.

So, what are the most common issues we find with compartmentation provisions in a building?

  • Fire doors which are either in poor condition due to lack of maintenance or have been installed incorrectly.
  • Missing or incorrect application of firestopping products to service penetrations.
  • Compartment walls which do not extend the full height of the compartment.
  • Inadequate compartmentation within roof and floor voids.
  • Incorrect detailing or materials used to construct compartment walls or floors.
  • Missing or incorrectly installed cavity fire barriers.

At Trident, we provide both non-destructive and destructive compartmentation surveys which report on the condition and suitability of floors, walls, wall voids, roof voids, ceiling voids, service risers and shafts, in relation to fire compartmentation. Our survey reports provide recommendations on any necessary improvements required to ensure compliance with statutory requirements and best practice guidance. We can also tailor our service to meet individual business objectives, whether it’s for property protection or business continuity purposes.

Our compartmentation surveys include;

  • A review of the building’s fire compartmentation strategy.
  • A full non-intrusive visual inspection of the building to assess existing compartmentation provisions. If considered necessary, we will advise on further intrusive investigations.
  • An assessment of the provisions and defects identified in accordance with the applicable legislation and guidance. (Building Regulations, British Standards, manufacturer’s instructions and fire test data etc.)
  • An inspection of fire door provisions with commentary on compliance requirements, condition and any subsequent defects.
  • A set of recommendations and actions required to ensure the building complies with the compartmentation strategy.

We can also assist with the management and procurement of remedial works should you require it.

If you would like to discuss any concerns or have any queries, please get in touch with Christian at christian.watkins@tridentbc.com, or call him on 0113 336 5417.

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