Walls, floors and ceilings play an important role in containing and slowing the spread of fire in buildings and are an important factor in managing risk and allowing people to escape safely in an emergency.
The compartmentation of buildings provided by properly constructed walls, floors and ceilings helps contain fire for a certain amount of time in the area of origin. However if there are gaps, for example holes that have been made to allow cables, pipes and other services to pass from one room to the next, then these breaches can allow fire, heat and smoke to spread more quickly and pose an increased risk.
Over time as technology and the use of buildings changes it is often necessary to re-route services, which can result in making new holes in walls, floors and ceilings. In order to maintain fire safety it is important that suitable measures are put in place wherever services penetrate fire compartmentation.
Exactly how this can be achieved will depend on the particular circumstances. The Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP) along with a number of other relevant organisations have produced a new best practice in installation and design guide to Firestopping of Service Penetrations. This guide can be downloaded from the ASFP’s website at: https://asfp.org.uk/firestopping-of-service-penetrations-a-new-best-practice-guide/