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Building Products April 2017

SECURITY AND FIRE PROTECTION GET IT RIGHT FIRST TIME Fire resistance is a basic requirement of building regulations and while it Is common knowledge, there remain many misconceptions and misunderstandings in the marketplace leading to the mis-specification of drylining products. Mandeep Bansal discusses the common mistakes being made, and the best ways to avoid them. Correct specification of gypsum plasterboard can be one of the most important aspects of the design process, one that if not managed to current building standards can lead to non-conformance which in turn can lead to extreme risk from fire. Several materials have an important role in increasing the fire resistance of buildings; plasterboard can play one of the key roles in reducing fire spread and saving lives in the event of a fire. The main area of misconception comes in the specification of wall and ceiling elements. It is important to understand that due to the inherent nature of fire spread, fire compartmentation is delivered through system design and understanding the various associated testing methods applied for the given type of construction, namely wall or ceilings and floors. This of course can have a bearing on the type and the number of layers of gypsum plasterboards required. 60 BUILDING PRODUCTS | APRIL 2017 Section two in the Approved Document B of the Building Regulations states that provisions must be made during the selection of building materials to account for fire spreading at the wall and ceiling elements. In circulation spaces, internal linings may in fact be the point at which fire spread can be at its most rapid and can prevent occupants from escaping. The upper surfaces of floors and stairs are exempt from the same provisions because of the less significant role flooring and stairs play in the spread of fire, as too are items of furniture and fittings. Where fire spread is the most prevalent is at the junctions between the wall partition and the ceiling due to the inherent nature of fire rising. To be specific, a ceiling is a surface which slopes at an angle of more than 70deg. to the horizontal, anything less is considered a wall element. Also included are the underside of a gallery and the underside of a roof that is exposed to the room below. Building Regulations are clear that in the event of a fire, a building must be designed to fulfil three objectives; to provide a means of escape, to inhibit fire spread over the internal linings and to prevent the spread of fire between separating dwellings. Building systems incorporating plasterboard can help designers meet these requirements by providing surfaces that minimise fire spread. This is done by the creation of compartments that limit the progress of smoke and flames, and by helping to maintain the structural integrity of the structure as a whole. Compartmentation – the dividing of a building into individual sectors – is one of the most common techniques for building fire resistance. This means the specification of internal drylining plays a significant role in reducing the rate at which materials ignite and spread the fire spreads. For residential developments, the minimum period of fire resistance is 30min. for the


Building Products April 2017
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