Fire Compartmentalisation in the Workplace 

Fire compartmentalisation is the practice of dividing a building into smaller sections using fire-resistant walls, floors, and doors. The objective is to prevent the spread of fire and smoke throughout the building, and to give occupants more time to evacuate safely.

Fire compartmentalisation is particularly important in workplace buildings, where there are often large numbers of people present. It can also help to protect valuable equipment and inventory from damage. 

Reasons why fire compartmentalisation is important in workplace buildings 

  • To protect people: Fire compartmentalisation can give people more time to evacuate safely from a burning building. This is especially important in large buildings with complex floor plans, where it can be difficult to find the way out. 
  • To protect property: Fire compartmentalisation can help to prevent the spread of fire to other parts of the building, and to protect valuable equipment and inventory from damage. This can help to reduce the financial impact of a fire on the business. 
  • To comply with regulations: In most countries, there are regulations in place that require workplace buildings to be compartmentalised to a certain standard. 


How fire compartmentalisation is achieved 

Fire compartmentalisation is achieved using fire-resistant materials and construction methods. Fire-resistant walls and floors are typically made from concrete, masonry, or steel. Fire doors are made from specially designed materials that can withstand high temperatures for a prolonged period. 

In addition to fire-resistant materials, it is important to seal any gaps or openings in fire compartment boundaries. This can be done using a variety of methods, such as fire-resistant mastics, sealants, and collars. 

Common fire compartmentation elements 

  • Fire walls: Fire walls are vertical walls that extend from the foundation to the roof of a building. They are designed to prevent the spread of fire from one part of the building to another. 
  • Fire doors: Fire doors are specially designed doors that can withstand high temperatures for a prolonged period. They are typically used to close off openings in fire walls. 
  • Fire dampers: Fire dampers are devices that automatically close off ductwork and other openings in the event of a fire. This helps to prevent the spread of fire and smoke. 
  • Cavity barriers: Cavity barriers are materials that are used to block the spread of fire and smoke through concealed spaces, such as wall cavities and roof cavities. 


Maintaining fire compartmentation 

It is important to maintain fire compartmentation to ensure its effectiveness. This includes regularly inspecting fire doors, fire dampers, and cavity barriers to make sure that they are in good condition and operating properly. 

It is imperative to keep fire compartment boundaries free from obstructions. This means that doors and other openings should not be propped open, and that furniture and other items should not be placed in front of fire walls or fire doors. 

The iProtectU health and safety software provides: 

  • An inspection and Audit App which allows for safety inspection of the workplace and associated report 
  • eLearning on a wide range of EHS topics which include fire safety 
  • Scheduling functionality for managers to send eLearning, risk assessments and documents out to all staff via the software with tracks completion and compliance 
  • Fire risk assessment templates 
  • Management system to document control the policy on fire safety 
  • Method Statement module for the creation of working instructions 
  • Legal register that provides legislation guidance on fire safety 
  • Incident investigation module that tracks incidents involving fire hazards both with an app and via desktop 
  • Hazard observation app where staff can report and record any concerns regarding fire safety management to the organisation 
  • Asset management App ensuring assets are recorded in the software 


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