Fire safety of buildings

Fire safety of buildings

Buildings must be built to minimise the risk of fire and provide safe escape routes. This month Bradley Hirst, Technical Services Manager from Knauf Insulation, explains the important role insulation plays in the fire safety of buildings.

How is fire safety performance measured?

There are two principal fire safety performance measures relating to insulation; fire resistance and reaction to fire. It’s important to understand the difference because they contribute to fire safety in different ways.

What is fire resistance?

Fire resistance measures the ability of a material or system to resist and ideally prevent, the passage of fire from one distinct area to another. Building regulations state that certain elements such as partitions, separating walls, ceilings and beam and column constructions must provide specified amounts of fire resistance.

Insulation products designed and rigorously tested to provide fire resistance, such as Knauf Insulation’s Fire-teK Beam and Column Slab, protect load-bearing structures so occupants can escape. Manufactured from Rock Mineral Wool, Fire-teK Beam and Column Slab is non-combustible with a melting point of over 1,000°C and can provide up to two hours fire resistance for structural steel.

What does reaction to fire mean?

Reaction to fire measures how a material or system will contribute to the fire’s development and spread, particularly in the very early stages when evacuation is crucial. The Euroclass classification system measures whether a material will ignite, produce smoke or flaming droplets. Ratings range from F (the lowest) to A1 (the highest).

Building regulations in England and Wales ban the use of combustible insulation on buildings above 18m tall (11m in Scotland). But there is growing pressure to use non-combustible insulation on every project. For example, the recent Homes for Londoners standards ban the use of combustible materials in the external walls of all homes, regardless of their height.

Using non-combustible insulation as standard, such as Knauf Insulation Glass and Rock Mineral Wool, is the best way to minimise fire risk and gives your customers peace of mind that their buildings are safe to use, occupy and enjoy.

For further information on Knauf Insulation Glass and Rock Mineral Wool visit:

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