Fire Protection Design in Commercial Buildings

A building’s fire protection system is a collection of technical tools that detect fire and prevent its spread throughout the structure. It seeks to minimize the effects of fires by avoiding injury and financial loss for occupants and building owners.

One type of fire safety system is passive fire protection. This system focuses on preventing the spread of fire through strategic compartmentalization and proactive installation of fireproof components in the building’s design. Passive fire protection is achieved through a process that lessens the rate of heat increase. This ultimately allows the impact of a fire to be mitigated for a certain duration. Some components of passive fire protection include fire doors, thermal insulation, non-combustible cable coating, fire-resistant walls, and fireproof cladding.

A passive fire protection system works by containing a fire to its point of origin and stopping the flames from spreading into other areas. A typical compartmentation system uses connected fire-rated assemblies that prevent fire from spreading. 

A fire-rated wall and door assemblyis designed to stop the fire from spreading horizontally. A wall and a door’s fire rating can be calculated for fire resistance on either or both sides.This can range from 20 minutes to four hours.

Fire ratings for doors are typically lower than a wall’s fire rating as the building’s furnishings and fixtures that can fuel the fire are usually near the wall. As a result, doors can be less vulnerable to fires than walls. 

Building codes in New Jersey provide the ideal design, installation, and maintenance of fire protection systems. Requesting a fire assessment, in conjunction with a commercial building inspection NJ, can verify if the building’s fire-rated assemblies are appropriately constructed in compliance with these regulations. 

Despite its name, passive fire protection does not imply that a building owner can forget about it. Inspection and regular maintenance are still equally important for passive fire protection systems.A fire protection system is critical to secure the occupants’ and structure’s safety. Working with a licensed building inspection engineer NJ can help determine dangerous structures which obstruct the efficient operation of a building’s fire protection system. 

To learn more about fire protection design in commercial buildings, here is an infographic by Lockatong Engineering.