Firestop passive fire protection with CLC Group

What is firestop and how are CLC overcoming the challenges?

firestop challenges with CLC

Privately owned maintenance company, CLC Group, have shared their insights about the ongoing challenges in the Firestop industry, the impact that past incidents have had, and where we can go from here.

Firstly, what is firestop?

Firestop or fire-stopping is a form of passive fire protection that is used to seal around openings and between joints in a fire-resistance-rated wall or floor assembly. Essentially, this prevents the passage of fire, smoke and toxic gases from one part of the building to another. It also reduces the damage from fire, and maintains the expected level of safety for the building occupants and first responders who may enter a building to fight a fire or rescue people. Bear in mind that many fire-rated joints are designed to handle the natural movement anticipated in a building, but they must be installed properly for them to be expected to function in this way.

Let’s not forget that fire doors also play an important role in maintaining compartmentalised zones within a building. Fire safety is significantly compromised when inappropriate fire sealing materials are specified, or the correctly specified materials are installed poorly. It’s needless to say that the effective use of fire-stopping products is critical in containing fire and smoke. This then reduces the impact on the building structure and helps to save lives by maximising the time available to fully evacuate the building and allowing time for fire fighters to combat the fire.

current firestop challenges

With an influx of fire-stopping work following the Grenfell fire tragedy, competent fire stoppers are in short supply which has impacted the fire industry as a whole. It is crucial to provide adequate training, knowledge and experience to ensure systems are suitably specified and correctly installed by those working for CLC. On top of this, clients also need to be educated to understand the potential ramifications of their decisions when procuring works and the pros and cons of full door set replacements compared to part repairs only.

At CLC, in addition to FIRAs and ASFP accreditations, they work closely with partners at Hilti to ensure their teams are up to speed with products and installation training. They also have access to Hilti’s technical staff who provide engineering judgments where bespoke non-standard solutions are required.

The impact of not correctly specifying, installing and using fire-stopping products is quite clear to see. A significant compromise in the effectiveness of any work done in the building results in a higher likelihood of fire spreading more quickly from section to section. This, in turn, puts more lives at risk and heightens the potential of the building being more badly damaged, subsequently increasing the loss to the property owner. 

where can we go from here?

Accurate specifications for fire resistant construction and firestop solutions are essential to meet the life-protecting regulations which ultimately save lives. However due to the significant growth in the firestop market, companies are suffering a firestop skills shortage and it’s essential that as an industry, we address this.

Would you like to speak to a fire engineer or arrange a site visit? Or find out more about Hilti fire protection and selecting the correct ETA firestop product for your application, see below.