Unless built to a modern fire engineered solution, most buildings are built around the Means of Escape principles within Building Regulations Approved Document B and British Standards 9999 and 9991.
This means that protected routes are created whereby people come together to escape, such as communal corridors and staircases. These protected routes are required to be sealed fire resistant areas. Separation between floors of a building are also crucial and some areas of special hazard such as kitchens and boiler rooms should be ‘compartmented’ individually.
Essentially buildings are built as a set of boxes and tubes so that if a fire starts, it is contained by the building structure itself or its ‘passive’ safety features.
However people need to move between the boxes and tubes and also pipework, cabling and other utilities is placed throughout, with not all contractors understanding the importance of passive protection through a method called ‘fire-stopping’, which is making good any intrusions through compartment walls and floors with special ‘intumescent’ materials.
Buildings with either poor or compromised passive protection therefore have a much higher risk of increased and rapid fire spread placing lives and the building structure at greater danger.
Prism can offer comprehensive surveys of your building using plans to ascertain the level of compartmentation and identify any breaches in fire stopping if it has occurred, together with advice on any remedial works and correct materials to use.