Fire Stopping

Fire stopping is typically used in buildings to prevent the spread of a fire which can cause a life risk to building occupants. Smoke and fire spread is contained by creating fire resistant compartments throughout the building, either horizontally or vertically, which subdivide the building. This can be in vertical risers, lift shafts or horizontal voids across suspended ceilings.

Quite often it is overlooked potential fire and smoke spread through air conditioning systems, and the installation of simple fire and smoke dampers, (electrical or mechanical), at predetermined locations throughout the distribution pipework. Dampers can be an effective solution to help prevent the risk of fire and smoke spread.

Fire stopping, also known as compartmentation, is a fundamental part of passive fireproofing. It refers to the process of filling openings and joints between walls and floors with fire-resistant material, inhibiting the spread of fire between 'compartments' within a building.

In addition, it must be ensured that buildings are fire stopped to restrict both vertical and lateral fire spread. This is done by fire stopping all openings and gaps within a building by trained and qualified engineers.

The Importance of Fire Stopping within a Building

The Building Regulations 2019, Fire Safety, Approved Document B – Requirement B3, internal fire spread (structure) states ‘A building shall be designed and constructed so that, in the event of a fire, its stability will be maintained for a reasonable period’.

Furthermore ‘the building shall be designed and constructed so that unseen fire and smoke within concealed spaces in its structure and fabric is inhibited’.

Approved Document B 2019 Volume 1 ‘Dwellings’, Section 9 sets out the requirements for fire stopping and states that openings through a fire-resisting element for pipes, ducts, conduits, or cable should be as few and small as possible and fire stopped.

Fire stopping is required to control the spread of fire using fire-rated compartmentation of a building. Without adequate fire stopping materials in place, fire and smoke can quickly travel through a building, causing serious damage to property and risk to life.

What materials are used in fire stopping?
  1. Fire-stopping materials include:

    • Cement mortar
    • Gypsum-based plaster
    • Cement-based or gypsum-based vermiculite/perlite mixes
    • Concrete. Concrete is highly resistant to heat, and it is non-combustible, so it's generally considered one of the most effective building materials for slowing down fires
    • Brick. On an individual basis, bricks are extremely resistant to fire
    • Glass fibre, crushed rock, blast furnace slag or ceramic-based products (with or without resin binders)
    • Intumescent mastics
    • Proprietary fire-stopping and sealing systems

    There are different types of Fire Sealants used for their individual properties. Firestop Sealants can be silicone, ablative or intumescent.

What are fire stops in walls?
  1. Top of Wall: At the top of a wall assembly and floor assembly, a small gap is created that can allow fire and smoke to travel between rooms and floors. Top of wall firestopping successfully fills these gaps with a fireproof compound to stop the spread of fire and smoke.

    Quite often below there will be a fire door protecting the escape route but in our experience the compartment wall above the fire door will be non-existing. The simple addition of extended fire boarding or smoke curtains can help provide the solution to this problem.

Where are fire collars required?
  1. A fire collar is a type of fire-resistant fitting that maintains the integrity and fire insulating rating of a building element which has been penetrated by building services. This might be required, for example, when walls or floors are penetrated by cables, ducts, pipework.

What is the British standard for fire stopping?
  1. A fire stop is defined by Approved Document B as a “seal provided to close an imperfection of fit or design tolerance”, to prevent flames and smoke from being passed throughout a building.

How can Firecom Safety Systems help you?
  1. When conducting a fire risk assessment room integrity, risers, voids and escape routes must be inspected for room integrity. Quite often we find that contractors have either drilled through walls leaving holes or gaps where fire and smoke can spread therefore compromising the building structure.Sometimes we find these holes have had several attempts at repair by just using self-expanding foam which in a lot of cases is not fire rated. Again, this just compromises the room integrity and whilst it will slow down the spread of smoke the incorrect material will eventually collapse under fire conditions.

    We have a small but highly trained team of fire engineers who have a great deal of experience in fire stopping repairs and retrospective small works to ensure the life safety of your employees as well as protection against smoke spread within your building.

    We always organise a detailed survey and quotation before commencing any works within a client’s building to ensure there are no nasty surprises or non-budgeted costs.

    Following completion of works we always issue certification to show which area has been fire stopped, the nature of the work, and identification of the correct materials used.

Please feel free to contact our team for a Free Site Survey or No Obligation Quotation on 0115 822 2000 or at

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