Fire safety is crucial in any building, and it’s vital that we take all necessary steps to prevent fires from starting. However, if a fire does break out, there is a lot that can be done to protect the occupants and give firefighters the best possible chance of containing and extinguishing the fire.
One of the most important aspects of fire safety is passive fire protection, which involves the use of building materials and design features that help prevent the spread of fire and smoke to other parts of the building. This can be achieved by using fire-resistant walls, doors and floors, as well as the installation of fire-rated glass and other building materials.
But there are other products available that can take passive fire protection a step further and are in many cases legally required. In this blog, we’re going to be looking at intumescent pipe collars, what they are, how they work and why they can make your building even safer in the event of a fire.
How Do Intumescent Pipe Collars Work?
Fire-rated walls and floors do a lot to stop the spread of fire in the event one occurs, but for a building to function properly there will be holes in these walls and floors to allow people and services to move about the structure. As essential as they are, these gaps can allow a fire to spread between different parts of a building if they aren’t properly sealed, which is why fire doors and fire-rated windows plug some of the more obvious gaps that are necessary in firewalls.
But what about those out-of-sight areas where cables, ducts and pipes pass through these vital walls? This is where intumescent pipe collars come in. An intumescent pipe collar is designed to prevent the spread of fire through plastic pipe penetrations in fire-rated walls and floors. When the heat of a fire intensifies, plastic pipes can lose their structure and fall away, leaving a gap behind for the fire to move through.
An intumescent pipe collar works by clamping around the plastic pipe at the point it enters a wall or floor and is anchored in place through its steel lugs. If a fire occurs and reaches the pipe, melting it away, the steel pipe collar remains in place and a flexible intumescent insert within the collar will react with the heat and expand rapidly, closing the gap in the wall with a fire-rated seal that can last up to 4 hours.
The Benefits of Using Intumescent Pipe Collars for Fire Protection
Intumescent pipe collars are easy to install both at the initial build stage and in retrofitting. Each collar is hinged and can be unclipped and placed over the pipe, so no work needs to be done to the pipes themselves to allow the collar to fit. They are available from FPC in sizes to fit most plastic pipes, with collar diameters ranging from 32 mm to 315 mm. Plastic pipes should be collared on both sides of the wall.
Any excess gaps between the pipe collar and the wall should be filled with intumescent mastic fireproofing sealant. The properties of fire mastics also allow it to swell under heat conditions, resulting in a fire and smoke-resistant seal. It is also suitable for the internal pointing of fire-rated doors and window frames and for sealing joints and irregular holes in fire-rated walls.
The greatest benefit of a robust and well-maintained passive fire system, including the use of fire mastics and intumescent pipe collars, is in creating more time for people to escape a burning building, and to give the fire and rescue service more time to find and fight the fire.
Understanding Fire Safety Regulations and Intumescent Pipe Collars
The government’s Fire Safety Approved Document B, Volume 2: Buildings Other than Dwellings, covers the acceptable ways to protect vulnerable piping when it passes through a fire-rated wall, one of which is the use of proprietary seals. Section 10 of the document begins with the quote:
“Every joint, imperfect fit and opening for services through a fire-separating element should be sealed with fire-stopping to ensure the fire resistance of the element is not impaired. Fire-stopping delays the spread of fire and, generally, the spread of smoke as well.”
The duty of fire safety and compliance is on the ‘responsible person’ who should carry out fire risk assessments, implement appropriate measures to minimise the risk of fire and ensure that all occupants are aware of the fire safety arrangements. The responsible person can be the owner, occupier, or employer of the premises, depending on the circumstances.
Common Applications for Intumescent Pipe Collars in Buildings and Structures
Compartmentalisation in fire safety refers to the practice of dividing a building into separate areas, or compartments, with fire-resistant walls and doors to prevent the spread of fire and smoke. This allows people to evacuate safely and gives firefighters more time to control the fire. It is an important strategy for limiting the damage and protecting both occupants and property in the event of a fire.
Intumescent pipe collars are used in a wide variety of buildings and structures to add an extra level of passive fire protection and safety to each compartment, as well as to keep them legally compliant. Here are just some common applications:
- Fire protection in commercial buildings: Intumescent pipe collars are widely used in commercial buildings such as offices, hospitals, schools and shopping centres to prevent the spread of fire between floors or compartments.
- Industrial facilities: In industrial facilities, intumescent pipe collars are commonly used to protect pipes carrying flammable or hazardous materials.
- Residential buildings: Intumescent pipe collars are also used in residential buildings to protect pipes passing through fire-rated walls and floors.
- Data centres: Data centres require high levels of fire protection, and intumescent pipe collars are used to protect pipes that pass through walls and floors.
- Hospitality industry: Hotels, resorts and other hospitality facilities often use intumescent pipe collars to meet building code requirements for fire safety.
- Transportation industry: Intumescent pipe collars are used in transportation facilities such as airports, train stations and bus depots to protect pipes that pass through fire-rated walls and floors.
- Energy industry: In power plants, refineries and other energy facilities, intumescent pipe collars are used to protect pipes carrying flammable or hazardous materials.
Overall, intumescent pipe collars are an essential component of passive fire safety systems in various types of buildings and structures.
The Future of Fire Protection: Innovations in Intumescent Pipe Collar Technology
At FPC, we understand just how important passive fire safety measures are. We supply a range of essential products to help ensure that your building is legally compliant with fire safety regulations and that your people, building and other business assets are as well protected as possible in the event of a fire.
From our range of intumescent pipe collars to our intumescent pipe sleeves, flexible duct sleeves and cable tray sleeves, we work to innovate in intumescent mastic fireproofing products and our fire protection experts are on hand to answer your questions and help you find the right solutions for your needs. Contact us today to discuss your requirements, on 01384 633 660 or firstname.lastname@example.org.