In the event of a fire in a multi-occupancy building such as a block of flats it is essential that the fire is contained at source while it is extinguished and/or the building is evacuated. The Code of Practice for Fire Safety in Buildings (BS 9999: 2008) recommends that critical walls in a building should provide a minimum level of fire resistance. The Ritherdon range of passive fire protection products has grown from the need to provide fire-rated covers for new kinds of breach being discovered in fire risk assessments.
In many buildings walls and floors have been breached for example by in-set electricity meter boxes, dry risers and service risers running up through the building. Pathways like these for fire and smoke transmission are being identified in fire risk assessments but, for many of them, there has been no fire protection solution.
Ritherdon developed and tested the original FireSeal. The FireSeal was an adaptation of the range of Ritherdon meter box repair units. It has higher temperature resistant locks extra door strength and can be fitted to a wall to cover a variety of aperture shapes and sizes.
Another fire-related hazard identified in some London tower blocks was a potential smoke pathway between floors via unsealed meter boxes and the electrical ducting. For this reason, intumescent seals were fitted right around the gap between the door and frame and also between the frame and wall.
Multiple units of the FireSeal have been tested from both sides. The test samples were made in our own factory, using the same materials and fabrication methods as we use to make all our FireSeal products. We deliberately designed the tests to be conservative, for example by making the fire’s access to the back of the unit as large as possible. We are happy to provide all the testing information available to our customers so that they can have complete confidence in the performance of any fire protection equipment made by us.
The tests were carried out by Chiltern International Fire (now Exova BM TRADA) to the method specified in EN1363 and EN1366 and were demonstrated to maintain its integrity as a barrier to fire penetration for at least 60 minutes in temperatures approaching 1000 °C. The test assessment report can be found here.
Although the FireSeal’s finish was discoloured by the testing temperatures, the structural integrity of the units themselves was not compromised. Once the units had cooled-down, the locks and hinges worked and the doors could actually still be opened and closed.
The FireSeal Vented is very similar to the FireSeal – a fire rated access panel – but featuring a louvre vent which is sealed by the intumescent material when exposed to a fire.
All units are made to measure and have been rated to provide >30 minutes fire protection.
Depending on the situation, BS 9999: 2008, recommends that elements in a multi-storey block should typically provide between 30 and 60 minutes fire resistance. The FireSeal easily managed that, matching the performance of the fire doors normally used in flats. These fire rated access panels are currently helping to improve fire safety in Leeds and we’d like to thank the Fire Safety Teams at Leeds City Council for their help in developing this innovative product.
All the FireSeal products are tested to the appropriate EN fire resistance testing standards as recommended in the BS 9999: 2008 Code of Practice: EN 1363, EN 1364 and EN 1366. All the testing reports are available on the Technical Information page.