A fire safety worker completing a passive fire protection survey

What’s the Difference Between a Fire Risk Assessment and a Passive Fire Protection Survey?


The difference between a fire risk assessment and a passive fire protection survey may not seem important at the surface level. But it is vital to understand the distinction to protect your building and employees. 

There are two subcategories of protective measures, Active and Passive

  • Active Fire Protection

Active Fire Protection is implemented so a fire can be detected and stopped while people escape the building. Fire alarms, fire suppression, sprinkler systems and disabled refuge areas are all examples of methods of Active fire protection. Active fire protection is often reviewed under a standard FRA.

  • Passive Fire Protection

Passive Fire Protection is designed to halt or reduce the spread of fire and smoke through fire compartmentation measures, dividing a building up into individual protected compartments. Some examples of passive fire protection are internal fire doors, curtains, smoke dampers, and compartmentation. Passive fire protection will not be reviewed in sufficient detail during an FRA, hence often a fire risk assessment will recommend a further compartmentation survey to be carried out.

Fire Risk Assessment

A Fire Risk Assessment is a comprehensive test that assesses the fire risk of the building by considering the construction, layout, and purpose to recommend alterations. Rather than evaluating the subsurface protection measures, a fire risk assessment investigates the number of fire hazards, including electrical equipment that could ignite unexpectedly. It also considers the positioning of smoking areas, portable heating devices, combustible materials, and objects blocking fire doors. 

A Fire Risk Assessment will also reveal how many fire doors, signs, smoke detectors, and sprinklers are in the building. Essentially, a fire risk assessment covers everything you can see. These assessments will need official documentation if your building contains more than five people. Crucially, fire risk assessments will often not include an inspection of a buildings fire compartmentation, for this you will need a passive fire protection Survey.


Compartmentation is essential to a building’s compliance and Passive Fire Protection measures. Each fire compartment is designed and built to contain the spread of fire and smoke for a set amount of time, this is known as the compartments Fire-Rating. Fire compartmentation is often pre-built into a structure but can become more effective with additional measures.

Compartmentation protects lives, guarantees escape should a fire occur and ensures the emergency services have the time to perform their duties. Additionally, it limits the financial impact of the damage. It is a mandatory part of a building’s construction in order to comply with all relevant legislation and most building insurance.

Fire doors, penetration seals, building materials, insulation, cavity barriers, and fire and smoke dampers aid in compartmentation and effectively detach a room from the rest of the building. 

It is vital to note that the fire compartmentation methods used in each room must have equal fire resistance. This ensures that all elements of the building’s compartment will perform to the same standard in the event of a fire and that the compartment will achieve its fire rating.

At Adaston we can provide a complete fire compartmentation survey. Our expert and accredited surveyors will inspect each and every compartment line to ensure that all penetrations are adequately sealed and will perform correctly in the event of a fire. Our bespoke reports make clear any required remedial works to ensure a building is legislatively compliant.

Passive Fire Protection Survey

A Passive Fire Protection Survey may be instructed following risks highlighted during an FRA in order to better review a building’s compartmentation.

We recommend that you have 3rd Party Accredited fire protection consultants conduct this survey in your building annually to ensure the efficiency of installed products and identify problems that may need addressing. 


At Adaston, we specialise in Passive Fire Protection and Compartmentation. Our highly skilled and experienced team members are all IFC accredited and have extensive knowledge of industry standards and regulations. We cover surveying, consultancy, remediation, and installation. So regardless of the size or purpose of your building, we can provide a bespoke plan tailored to your requirements, ensuring quality and efficient installation and total legislative compliance. 

Contact us today to get in touch with our team.

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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