The Compartment Factor

// fire, security and safety

Buildings generally comprise of a series of rooms, in fire terms these rooms are known as compartments. If ever a fire was to occur the compartment should keep the fire and smoke inside for a set amount of time, allowing occupants to evacuate safely without the fire spreading to the escape route. These compartments contain various elements that are required to maintain the fire rating integrity of the room; pipes, wiring, glazing panels, doors, lights, air vent systems etc. These elements must have special fire seals fitted at the point that they enter the surface of the floor, wall or ceiling of the compartment, and items like doors and glazing must also be installed to the correct specification, meeting the relevant building regulations. Checking these elements is a critical part of your risk assessment and the implementation of a continual management process through the facility department is vital as services are always being maintained and updated.

The bottom line is very simple; if a fire were to occur resulting in injury or fatalities, and an inquiry found that sufficient measures had not been in place, and the injury/fatalities could have been prevented, prosecution of the owners/managers will proceed.

Compartment rooms should contain fire rated doors, if there is any doubt concerning the quality and rating of doors within your building they should be checked. All door furniture, hinges, locks, closers must also have an appropriate fire rating. Glazing within a door must be fitted correctly comprising of intumescent. Intumescent seals in the door set is mandatory.

Glazing is a common part of the design in many buildings today. However if incorrectly fitted, it will become one of the first elements to collapse in a fire. The surrounding structure must be built according to building regulations and the correct glass type must be installed. Details such as beading systems should also be thoroughly checked, ensuring intumescent material is included.

The modern work environment requires a multiservice network like never before. Cables and wires for computer networking, as well as the usual support services for electrical and water supply, often means that regular work is happening in buildings. These types of services must be correctly sealed at the point of entry to a compartment room. These should be checked and a work permit issued insisting on the installation of fire seals for all future work.

Many modern offices have high-tech lighting including downlighters and recessed fluorescent lights. Where holes have been cut in compartment ceilings for light fittings, special fire rated covers should be installed. Without these covers, these types of lights pose a real danger to the integrity of the room and the overall building.
Envirograf Technical Team are always happy to help with specification. We are a one-stop-shop for passive fire protection needs. If we don’t do it, nobody does.

Call us on 01304 842 555, email or visit

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