Fire standards & requirements – Confused?

30 minutes ?
Class O ?

60 minutes ?
Class B ?
Class 1 ?

People often ask us why they need to protect structural steel from fire,
after all it IS pretty hard to burn.

Interestingly, it is known that structural steel begins to soften around 425°C and can lose about half of its strength at 650°C  – These are temperatures are very easily reached in a fire and in fact are not much hotter than can be achieved in a modern self-clean domestic oven [many now reach about 500°C ]

So….  heat weakens steel
Weak steel leads to building collapse
and that why Building Control asks you to protect steel

Thermoguard  –  protecting buildings  – and saving lives.

Many people are confused by the different types of fire standards & requirements set by the authorities and the types of products needed to achieve the required standards. In general terms there are two types:

  • Fire RETARDANT Coatings

If your authority requests Class 1, Class O or the latest Class B they are asking for a level of protection which will reduce the risks associated with the spread of flame, as well as smoke production, toxic fumes, and flaming droplets.  This is achieved using a Fire RETARDANT coating.

  • Fire RESISTANT Coatings

If however, they ask you to provide protection for 20, 30 or 60 minutes, they are seeking fire RESISTANCE. This is usually supplied by using an intumescent coating that expands when subjected to fire protecting and insulating the substrate. Primarily fire resistance is intended to maintain the integrity of the structure, or maintain compartmentalisation, to allow time for safe escape and firefighting. In some cases a fire resistant coating may need to be overpainted with a fire retardant finish to increase protection and provide a decorative finish.

Thermoguard manufacture both Fire RETARDANT Coatings and Fire RESISTANT Coatings and are happy to give advice and assistance to help you comply with the regulations correctly. Certificates are available free of charge on completion of your project.

About “Passive Fire Protection”

In the case of Paints, Varnishes and Liquids, passive protection means the active elements remain dormant until activated by heat or flames,

The first aim of Passive Fire Protection is to limit the spread of fire and smoke as determined by the local building and fire code. This is done with a fire retardant product.

The outbreak of a fire triggers these special coatings to change from apparently normal decorative finishes into an active protection layer applied to a variety of materials and surfaces, including walls, doors, ceilings, flooring and more, They are designed to reduce the spread of flame and reduce dangerous smoke and toxic gasses.

The other Passive Fire Protection coating in common use is fire resistance usually in the form of an Intumescent coating.  In intumescent paint and coatings (for wood & timber, steel, structural steel and cast iron), the active ingredients swell and char to create a thermal barrier when exposed to heat and flame that keeps the substrate below critical temperatures. (Take a look at our amazing TV demo). In many cases intumescent coatings should be coated with a flame retardant finish that gives off gasses to inhibit the spread of fire and reduce the amounts of smoke and flaming droplets thus further protecting the building,  and importantly, the lives of those who may be inside it.

Thermoguard  –  protecting buildings  – and saving lives.