Blog Article

Anyone can do firestopping, right?

Firestopping | Trident Fire Compliance
Published: 21st November 2023

One question that is often raised is the assumption that anyone can do firestopping. “It can’t be that difficult, it’s just filling up a hole”, or “it’s fine as long as it’s fire rated”.

There are so many things wrong with that assumption it is difficult to know where to start. For me, the easiest way to dispel that assumption is by saying,“if anyone can do firestopping, then anyone can do electrics or plumbing. It’s just cables and pipes.”

Would you trust anyone to carry out electric or plumbing works? Of course not. You would want them to demonstrate competence, or (even better) you would want them to issue you some sort of certification for the works they do. That way, if anything goes wrong, you can go to the installer and tell them that their work is wrong and they need to fix it. So why should firestopping be any different?

In fact, firestopping should be handled with an even greater degree of care. Firestopping is built into the fabric of the building. It is quite literally everywhere. From your walls and floors, down to your electrical sockets, windows and doors. Most elements of a building that you witness (or can’t witness) day-to-day play a role in firestopping (or compartmentation). If you have faulty firestopping it can often be difficult to see or find, and then potentially even more difficult to put right without doing significant intrusive works.

Moreover, a lot of other systems have ‘fail safes’ as a standard. Your electrics will have circuit breakers which will shut down when a fault occurs. With your plumbing, you can limit the damage by switching on the stop cock. A bit of water damage is a nuisance. If a fire starts in your building, where is your fail safe? Firestopping is your fail safe.

And when these other systems do fail, most of the time, the damage is very limited. Some electronic equipment and cabling may be damaged and need replacing. Faulty pipework needs to be replaced and you might need to replace that drenched carpet. But, most of the time, no-one gets hurt. The same cannot be said for fire. Fire is a real, life threatening event and faulty fire protection can result in catastrophic damage. People can die. That fact became all too real in recent events in the UK.

Our philosophy at Trident Fire Compliant is‘get it right first time’. When you build passive fire protection correctly, generally you never need to touch it again. Because it is built into the fabric of the building, and it’s ‘passive’, these systems don’t require any maintenance or routine inspection (other than occasional checks to ensure the system is not damaged). Fire doors are slightly different because of their regular use in day-to-day life so they are subject to wear and tear, but these are generally easier to access and easier to maintain.

However, if the system is installed faulty and is later identified to be faulty, you can expect extensive remedial works to put it right which incurs a lot of costs. This could include; moving tenants/residents to allow works to take place, removing ceilings or walls to be able to access the faulty systems, removing and replacing the existing with a new compliant system, all the reinstating works and decorating.

The cost to correct a faulty installation will always be more than installing the system right in the first place.

This is where Trident Fire Compliance come in to help ensure your project is being completed correctly with no failures or defects. Acting as your independent eyes and ears on the ground, Trident are able to carry out compliance inspections of completed firestopping works and identify where issues or defects may have occurred. This could be as simple as a missed opening or service which hasn’t been firestopped, or it could be that a detail has not been fully installed correctly and needs finishing.

Our surveyors are trained to the highest standard and have in depth knowledge of all the firestopping systems on the market which allows them to identify problems and offer practical solutions.

Find out how Trident Fire Compliance can help you on your project today.

About the author

Ben Duggan

Managing Director Ben is passionate about helping clients achieve the highest standards possible with fire protection and ensuring they deliver safe and compliant projects every time.

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