Fire Compartmentation Surveys
Fire compartmentation strategy is required to prevent the spread of fire and smoke and subdivide buildings into manageable areas of risk, ensuring each area has adequate fire escape routes and appropriately maintained facilities for fire prevention.
What is Fire Compartmentation?
To meet the legal requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, building owners and occupiers must ensure that the fire compartmentation in their buildings is robust and being adequately managed and maintained.
Fire compartmentation is achieved by dividing subsections of a building into ‘compartments’. This is done via strategic placement of fire doors, cavity barriers in roof voids, utilisation of fire-resistant flooring and walls, and adding fire stopping to services such as cabling and water lines which penetrate these dividers. Combined, these services aid in preventing, or at the minimum slowing, the spread of fire and smoke throughout a building.
Compartmentation forms a critical part of the fire strategy for a building and is an integral part of the fire risk assessment process. Proper compartmentation and fire separation strategies can be one of the most effective methods of securing your property and its occupants.
What does a Fire Compartmentation Survey involve?
The Fire Compartmentation Survey itself involves undertaking a thorough check of the compartmentation strategy of a building, and the status of the elements being utilised for separation. Compartmentation surveys are more in-depth than standard fire risk assessments, taking into account hard to reach areas such as ceiling cavities and penetrating utilities.
Compartments are rated against their fire resistance capabilities, expressed as the number of minutes of resistance they provide against the spread of fire, smoke or other toxic fumes generated by fire. Different parts of a building may have different requirements for the minimum degree of resistance their compartmentation provides, dependent on usage, human occupancy and materials being stored.
NIFES has extensive experience of the challenges faced when carrying out these types of surveys in new builds, existing properties, and refurbished buildings, including listed properties. Having completed fire compartmentation assessments in NHS hospitals, care homes, universities and schools, we are experienced in conducting inspections in a discreet and professional manner.
Where required we are able to conduct both invasive and non-invasive fire compartmentation surveys. NIFES fire compartmentation surveys typically cover:
- Inspection of the condition of existing fire compartments
- Assessing the effectiveness of the sealing of wall/soffit interfaces
- Checking for the presence of damage to existing fire compartmentation lines which may cause reduced effectiveness
- Inspection of any unprotected structural framework and steelwork which may impact the effectiveness of fire compartments
- Materials assessment of dry lined walls whose construction forms part of the fire compartmentation
- Checking ‘unseen’ areas such as above suspended ceilings, ceiling tiles or within ducts, for appropriate fire stopping and cavity barriers
- Material and installation assessment of existing service penetration seals
- Where escape routes need separation from the main premises through additional compartment construction
- The length of time doors, walls, floors and ceilings provide smoke and fire resistance capabilities
- Assessment of any other specific issues relating to the fire compartmentation, such as equipment present and access requirements
NIFES Fire Compartmentation Surveys
NIFES fire engineering consultants are specialists in fire compartmentation assessment, surveying premises for existing fire compartmentation, ensuring it is suitable for the circumstances of use, and where required, providing further recommendations for fire separation strategies.
Within our compartmentation assessments we are also able to provide regular fire door inspections. Fire doors play an essential role within a compartmentation strategy; however, the actual performance of an installed fire door can vary significantly due to a wide variety of factors, including the door, frame, hardware, intumescent strips and smoke seals. Regular inspections assist in ensuring fire safety compliance.
NIFES teams of fire engineers have the expertise to prepare fire compartmentation strategy reports for all types of buildings. In addition to carrying out fire compartmentation assessments and fire door surveys, NIFES have the skills and experience to help you create a comprehensive fire compartmentation strategy which will ultimately protect your people, your property and your organisation.
Providing a strategic and practical approach to health and safety management in general, covering both short- and long-term objectives, our reports:
- Establish the location and period of resistance required for the Compartmentation strategy in your building(s)
- Conduct inspections of compartmentation including fire doors
- Prepare user friendly schedules of works, drawings and specifications for contractors to price against and implement work
- Provide on-going support to the contractor
- Conducting inspection of completed works to allow sign off, payment and hand over
Reports are provided as a schedule of works in Excel format, detailing all areas surveyed throughout the fire compartmentation assessment and NIFES fire engineers’ recommendations.
Reports will be accompanied by photographs of surveyed areas, including detailed images of issues encountered, and supported with a CAD plan of the building(s), identified compartments and where issues are located.
MID STAFFORDSHIRE NHS FOUNDATION TRUST – FIRE COMPARTMENTATION STUDY
NIFES were commissioned by the mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust to undertake a Fire Compartmentation Study in Stafford and Cannock Hospitals. This established the current levels of compliance to prioritise capital and maintenance investment. Read More >>