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“We can liken passive fire protection in buildings to the skin on our bodies. Skin is all over our bodies just like passive fire protection is all over our buildings” says John Rakic, the owner of Trafalgar, in a recent article.
Drawing from his 25 years’ of experience in the fire protection and smoke containment industry, John explains how, just like our bodies require skin to be protected from the sun to prevent serious burns, buildings require the same for their passive fire systems.
An increased awareness of sun smart measures is paralleled by the increased attention given to building standards and fire compliance following the Grenfell Tower disaster, whilst the UV resistance ratings and SPF levels of products can be likened to the FRL (Fire Resistance Level) of passive fire protection systems.
There are a plethora of sunscreens, hats, sunglasses and other products for sun protection available, and it is only through the use of the right combination of the right products, in the right way that an effective sun protection system is created for our skin.
Similarly, in passive fire protection, the individual products themselves do not have a fire rating, but rather, it is the system (made up of one or more products) that has been meticulously engineered and tested that can deliver the required FRL for any given application. The pitfall for many builders, architects, plumbers, electricians, active fire protection companies, building surveyors and any other sub-contractors involved in construction, is the lack of knowledge around which system to use when, and how easily it can be compromised.
Not properly sealing service penetrations through fire rated walls, for example, can be likened to not using sunscreen in the hot Australian sun. Yet, with numerous services sub-contractors working virtually on top of each other to finish construction within tight deadlines, passive fire systems are often an after-thought and frequently wind-up non-compliant.
“The cost of not planning ahead and taking full responsibility for passive fire protection can be an expensive and very dangerous mistake to make” states John Rakic. One only has to look at the cost associated with a delay in receiving certification documentation, as well as any rectification works, to see the value in making passive fire protection a priority.
Trafalgar’s FireBOX range of fire stopping systems have been designed specifically for the purpose of making fire stopping easier. Specifically, Trafalgar's engineered and patented solutions FyreBox Slab-Mount eliminates the need for trades to make holes in walls, reducing the cost to the trade and subsequently to the builder, but also eliminating compliance issues with proximity of services.
Whilst the skin on our bodies and its’ protection is arguably more noticeable than passive fire protection in our buildings, the latter should not be out of sight and out of mind, as both are essential in ensuring safety of life.
Read John Rakic’s full article here.