An Expert Guide to Fire Compartmentation Building Regulations

Effective fire compartmentation is generally incorporated into building construction to ensure that they meet fire compartmentation building regulations. This ensures that they remain structurally sound and as safe as possible in the event of a fire. 

By dividing buildings into compartments, in the event of a fire it can more be effectively contained. Each compartment is separated using fire-resistant materials and passive fire protection measures such as fire doors. Almost all buildings in England, particularly high-rise and commercial premises, require compartmentation for compliance with building fire regulations. 

What is an Example of Fire Compartmentation?

An example of fire compartmentation is the installation of 30 minute fire rated doors separating compartments throughout a property. Fire doors in perfect working order slow the spread of fire through a building. However, fire doors must be used correctly for them to be effective. They should never be wedged or propped open. 

Fire compartmentation provides occupiers of the building time to evacuate in the event of a fire, before escape routes become compromised by the spread of flames and smoke. Fire doors together with their frame and furniture, are intended (when closed) to resist the spread of flames, smoke and toxic gases in line with current building regulations.

When is Fire Compartmentation Required?

Compartments in buildings vary depending on the type of building and the occupancy type. For example, a smaller block of flats would require lower levels of fire compartmentation resistance due to the ability of the occupants to evacuate quickly. In contrast, a hospital would have much higher levels due to the size and complexity of the building and need to safely evacuate large numbers of patients who may have greater needs.

All commercial buildings should have fire compartmentation at a structural level, including fire doors placed strategically throughout. These provide an escape route so occupants can safely exit the building when required. For new buildings, fire compartmentation building regulations stipulate this must be designed at the planning stage.

Dwellings in the form of high-rise flats over 11m (generally five storeys) or more also legally require proper fire compartmentation measures. This is to improve safety for residents as a result of the enquiry following the tragedy at Grenfell. For fire doors in high-rise apartment blocks, regulations now state all communal fire doors need checking quarterly and doors to flat entrances must be checked once a year. For more information on fire doors, read our conclusive handbook.

Who is in Charge of Fire Compartmentation Maintenance? 

Updates to legislation, which came into effect in October 2023, mean that accountability must now be assigned to a ‘responsible person’ who will ensure that fire safety surveys are conducted by a competent person at regular intervals. As the ‘responsible person’, maintaining your fire safety systems is a legislative requirement under the Fire Safety Order.

Fire Compartmentation Compliance

Fire compartmentation compliance isn’t just a legal requirement, it’s necessary for saving lives. To ensure effective fire compartmentation protection, the system (which includes fire doors), must be regularly monitored and maintained in order to remain effective. The 2005 Fire Safety Order states fire protection components in a building must be ‘subject to a suitable system of maintenance’.

To achieve this, the ‘responsible person’, such as property owners and landlords, must invest in regular fire compartmentation surveys. A fire compartmentation survey is an inspection completed by a competent person to ensure your passive fire protection is working effectively and remains legally compliant. Importantly, non-compliances can incur financial penalties, as well as exposing the building’s occupants to potential danger in the event of a fire.

Fire Compartmentation Services With Adaston

Suitably maintaining your fire compartmentation protection system is required by law, so a survey is necessary to identify any required remedial or maintenance works. At Adaston, our highly skilled team members are IFC accredited, ensuring they work to industry-leading standards. We ensure appropriate fire compartmentation exists and is suitable for its surroundings.

We recommend a full fire compartmentation survey to establish if the correct fire stopping measures are installed throughout a building in line with legislation. For new builds, we also specialise in new build fire regulations, in particular, compliance and oversight at the project’s construction stage. These fire compartmentation services are vital to ensure all fire compartmentation measures remain compliant with regulations, save lives and protect your property. 

Get in touch today to book your bespoke fire compartmentation survey.

Written by

Nic Bohanna Linkedin

Nic is the Key Client Manager at Adaston with a degree from the prestigious Durham University. With a background in management in the service industry, he now ensures all our passive fire protection services run smoothly. When he’s not at work, you’ll find him pursuing his favourite activities of hill walking, a game of golf, or enjoying a nice cold pint.

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