What is Passive Fire Protection?

Aug 17, 2022

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Passive fire protection is an integral part of structures and building designs. Passive fire protection includes applied coatings, materials, and assemblies used for structural fire resistance and fire containment.

Also, passive fire protection systems are required to meet strict fire safety standards before they can be installed. The three goals of passive fire protection systems are to contain a fire, prevent it from spreading, and delay its movement long enough for the area to be evacuated.

Fire is a very real threat in many workplaces and buildings. It can be hard to prevent fires from starting or spreading, but there are ways to minimise the risk of fire and keep people safe when they are exposed to it.

Here’s everything you need to know about passive fire protection. What it is, why it matters and how best to implement this crucial safety practice in your workplace or building.

passive fire protection

What Is Fire Protection?

Fire protection is a critical aspect of any building, especially one that houses people and other living things. There are many different components to the fire protection system that are designed to prevent fires from ever starting in the first place, as well as minimise the risk of loss due to fire.

Fire protection is a broad term that includes many different components. The first line of defence is typically passive fire protection, which is designed to prevent fires from ever starting in the first place. Passive fire protection includes features such as fire-resistant materials and fire detectors that are capable of detecting fires before they reach a dangerous size. Passive fire protection also includes things like sprinkler systems and firewalls that don’t require any electricity or other power source in order to operate effectively.

What is Passive Fire Protection?

Passive fire protection refers to the design and construction techniques used to limit the spread of fire and smoke through a building or structure. These techniques include the use of fire-resistant materials such as concrete, brick, and steel, as well as the installation of fire-resistant walls, floors, and ceilings.

Passive fire protection features are typically built into the structure of a building and do not require any active intervention to function. This distinguishes them from active fire protection features such as fire alarms, sprinkler systems, and fire extinguishers, which require human intervention or power to operate.

Passive fire protection is an important aspect of building safety, as it helps to prevent or slow the spread of fire and smoke, giving occupants more time to evacuate the building and allowing firefighters more time to contain and extinguish the fire.

Passive fire protection is a method of keeping people safe from fires while they are inside buildings. It involves installing the right types of fire protection into the building’s structure. This is so that fires can’t spread as easily and it forces smoke into single compartments of a building.

The main idea behind passive fire protection is to slow down the combustion process by removing heat, oxygen and fuel through various methods, such as using barriers, fire doors, windows, wall assemblies and fire-resistant coatings.

Passive fire protection can be used in conjunction with active systems. It can help to prevent fires from developing or spreading. In some cases, passive systems are used in place of active systems that may be at risk for failure during a fire event.  Passive fire protection is used to control the spread of fire in environments where active suppression systems are impractical.

Where is Passive Fire Protection Used?

Passive fire protection is part of almost every building’s construction. It can be found in homes, schools, churches and even high-rises. While it may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re thinking about fireproofing a building, it’s definitely something that should be in your thoughts.

Passive fire protection is required by many building codes throughout the world and it’s used everywhere from single-family homes to large commercial structures such as hospitals or hotels.

Passive fire protection is also used in industrial buildings, such as warehouses and factories. It’s important to remember that passive fire protection isn’t just used on the inside of a building. 

Examples Of Passive Fire Protection

Passive fire protection is a form of fire safety that uses building materials, design features, and other strategies to prevent the spread of fire and smoke. Some examples of passive fire protection measures include:

  • Fire-resistant walls and floors
  • Fire doors
  • Fire-rated glass
  • Fire dampers
  • Fireproof insulation
  • Structural fire protection
  • Firestops

Overall, passive fire protection measures work together to provide a safe environment in the event of a fire and can help minimize property damage, injury, and loss of life.

What Is Compartmentation?

Compartmentation is a fire protection strategy that involves dividing a building into smaller sections or compartments using fire-resistant walls, floors, and ceilings. The purpose of compartmentation is to prevent the spread of fire and smoke from one compartment to another, allowing occupants to evacuate safely and giving firefighters time to extinguish the fire.

Passive fire protection is a system of building components and materials designed to prevent or slow down the spread of fire without the need for any active intervention. Compartmentation is a key component of passive fire protection, as it provides a physical barrier to contain a fire and prevent it from spreading to other parts of the building.

Fire-resistant walls, floors, and ceilings used in compartmentation must meet certain fire resistance ratings and be tested and certified to ensure they are effective in preventing the spread of fire. Additionally, fire doors and fire-rated glazing can be used to prevent the spread of fire and smoke through openings in the compartment walls.

Effective compartmentation and passive fire protection can significantly reduce the damage and destruction caused by fires, making buildings safer for occupants and easier for firefighters to manage.

Utilising Fire Doors

In addition to barriers, we can use fire doors. Fire doors are a type of fire-rated door that can be used to prevent the spread of fire and smoke. Fire doors are a form of passive fire protection. They are installed at the opening of a building or room, where they protect against fire and smoke spreading.

Fire doors can be made from a combination of materials, including timber, gypsum, aluminium and steel. They may also have windows, which are often made from borosilicate or ceramic glass. These materials offer higher fire resistance than standard glass. In addition, these windows may contain anti-shattering wire mesh.

They are often used in conjunction with compartmentation systems and allow employees 30 minutes of evacuation time at a minimum.

Fire doors are installed flush with the frame to prevent smoke from seeping through cracks. They also feature an intumescent strip, which expands when exposed to heat and fills any gaps between a door and its frame. Fire doors are often accompanied by a silicone-based fire-resistant sealant.

A fire door is designed to include a closing mechanism, which can be either spring-loaded or hydraulic. The purpose of this mechanism is to force the door closed and prevent fire and smoke from passing through it into another area.

Fire Door Ratings

There are different levels of fire protection provided by a fire door, depending on its grade. The FD30 (30-minute) and FD60 (60-minute) grades provide the least protection, while the more advanced FD90 and FD120 ranges offer better resistance to burning temperatures for longer periods.

The main difference between the different grades of doors is the thickness of their core layers. This material is often covered by another aesthetic layer on top.

FD30 and FD60 are primarily for the internal protection of buildings where people live or work. Any grades over FD60 are more likely to be used on properties that hold highly valued materials or infrastructure (like server centres).

What is Fire Resistant Glass?

Fire-resistant glass is a type of glass that is specifically designed and tested to provide passive fire protection in buildings. It is made by combining multiple layers of glass and a transparent interlayer, typically made of a flame-resistant material like PVB (polyvinyl butyral) or EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate), which prevents the glass from shattering and falling out of the frame during a fire.

The glass is then tested to determine its fire resistance rating, which is the amount of time it can withstand exposure to fire and maintain its integrity. Fire-resistant glass is typically rated in minutes, with common ratings including 30, 60, 90, and 120 minutes.

Fire-resistant glass can be used in a variety of applications where building codes and safety regulations require passive fire protection. It is commonly used in fire doors, windows, curtain walls, and partitions, and can help prevent the spread of fire and smoke between different areas of a building.

In addition to its fire resistance properties, fire-resistant glass can also offer other benefits such as improved energy efficiency and sound insulation, making it a versatile solution for many different types of buildings.

What is a Fire Damper?

Fire dampers are devices used in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to prevent the spread of fire and smoke through ductwork. They are typically installed within the ducts where they can detect increases in temperature, and in the event of a fire, they automatically close to prevent the spread of flames and smoke through the ducts.

Fire dampers can be passive or active. Passive fire dampers are always in place and are designed to close automatically when exposed to high temperatures. Active fire dampers can be triggered manually or by fire detection systems and can be designed to close in stages to prevent the spread of smoke and fire.

Fire dampers are an important safety feature in buildings, as they can help to contain fires and prevent them from spreading through the ductwork and into other areas of the building. They are often required by building codes and regulations and should be inspected regularly to ensure that they are in good working order.

What is a Fireproof Insulation?

Fireproof insulation is a type of passive fire protection that is designed to help prevent the spread of fire within a building. Fireproof insulation is typically made from materials that are non-combustible, meaning that they do not burn when exposed to high temperatures. Examples of non-combustible materials used in fireproof insulation include mineral wool, fibreglass, and rock wool. These materials are often used to insulate structural elements of a building, such as walls, floors, and ceilings, to help prevent the spread of fire.

In addition to providing thermal insulation, fireproof insulation can also help to limit the spread of smoke and toxic gases that can be produced by a fire. This is because the insulation can act as a barrier to the flow of air and can help to contain the fire and smoke within a specific area of the building.

Overall, the use of fireproof insulation as part of a passive fire protection strategy can help to increase the safety of a building and its occupants, by slowing the spread of fire and providing additional time for evacuation and firefighting efforts.

Fire Resistant Flooring

A lot of fire-resistant flooring is excellent for use in both interior and exterior applications. It also resists oil and grease, making it suitable for kitchens as well as entryways. Flooring that is fire resistant can be used in areas where there is a higher risk of fire. This type of flooring can help minimise damage to your building, which could result in lower insurance premiums.

Fire-resistant flooring is a great choice for many different applications. It can be used in commercial and industrial settings as well as residential ones. It is also suitable for use in areas that are prone to fires, such as kitchens and entryways. This type of flooring offers many benefits, including reduced risk of property damage and increased safety levels.

Fire Resistant Coating

Fire resistant protective coatings are typically sprayed onto a surface after the required components have been mixed. A reinforcing glass fibre scrim or steel wire gauze is applied to prevent cracking and peeling of the coating under fire conditions. This adds strength to resist impact including high-pressure water jets. The fire-resistant performance of the coating is dependent on its thickness.

Fibre matting systems consist of mineral fibre mats, clad in steel to protect them from heat. Because this system is poor at conducting heat, it provides a good protective layer for fire prevention purposes.


Passive fire protection systems are designed to work in conjunction with other building materials, such as insulation and drywall. This creates a more effective fire-resistant structure as well as a safer one for occupants. Passive fire protection systems have been proven effective at preventing fires from spreading through an entire building, but they should not be relied upon entirely to prevent loss of life or property damage.

The best way to ensure safety in a building is to install both passive and active fire protection systems. Active fire protection systems are designed to fight fires as they occur, while passive systems prevent fires from starting or spreading.

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