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FIRE RATED CEILING PENETRATIONS NEED TO KEEP PACE WITH CHANGING DESIGNS AND YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE.
I am sure that everyone has noticed how fire protection and the need to “do it right” is a major focus of current and future legislation.
What you may be less aware of is that electricians fit, and often take “full responsibility” for some of the most common fire protection products in the market - the fitting of fire rated downlights, ceiling fans and air valves into fire rated ceilings.
Building regulations are very clear in that “the product used should be shown to have the required fire test data to reinstate the fire rating of the construction in which it is being fitted”.
Over the past 20 years the design of fire rated ceilings has changed dramatically, particularly in 30 minute ceiling constructions. It is now unlikely that you will find a solid timber joist system in a 30 minute ceiling and much more likely to be an I-beam or metal web joist system which perform very differently in a fire situation, and require a much higher performance level of protection where any penetration takes place.
Both I-beam and metal web joists have very little “sacrificial” material compared to a solid timber joist and can fail much more quickly in a fire.
There are very few products which have been tested on full scale loaded metal web joist to protect the penetrations, especially to the latest BS EN 1365-2 standards, and most products on the market, claiming to be “fire rated”, have been tested with solid timber joists which do not meet the required level of fire protection. It is very easy to assume that you are fitting the correct product, but if not correctly tested then you could be putting lives at risk.
1) Is the ceiling fire rated?
2) What is the fire rating- typically 30,60 or 90 minutes.
3) What is the ceiling construction- typically solid timber, I-beam or metal web joists.
4) Check the fire rating of the product which you are using matches the fire rating and construction type.
5) DO NOT TRUST A SIMPLE STATEMENT THAT SAY “FIRE RATED” IT IS MEANINGLESS.
If you are at all unsure then contact the manufacturer and ask for a test report or assessment report, you may be shocked by the number of manufacturers who cannot provide this.
Contact Tenmat Limited for further information and the latest tested products.
Tel- 0161 9552 494 or www.tenmat.com