Passive Fire Barriers and LPS 1531 Accreditation

Today marks the one year anniversary of Yuanda Europe’s LPS 1531 accreditation. In this article, we will take a look at passive fire barriers, their role in the construction of high rise buildings and show why LPS 1531 is such an important part of our overall quality assurance process.

Passive Fire Barriers

Passive fire barriers are an integral part of high-rise construction. These barriers are embedded in the structure and are designed to prevent the fast spread of flames, smoke and hot gasses. They are designed to ensure occupants can evacuate safely which allows more time for firefighters to respond and extinguish the fire.

Today we’ll look in detail at the slab edge fire barrier which is used to compartmentalise each floor of the building. These barriers are generally constructed from Rockwool, a Steel Sheet (or self-levelling sealant) and Fire Stop Sealant to provide the final smoke seal. You can see a render of the slab edge fire barrier in the image below:

fire barrier

Image source Rockwool

Fire Barrier Testing

Over the past 5 years, Yuanda has been heavily invested in testing the performance of fire barriers (both slab edge and cavity barriers) to ensure they meet strict performance requirements. Testing is done according to two standards BS476 Part 20: 1987 and EN1366-4: 2006.

Fire barriers are installed above a gas furnace, situated within a concrete slab and are assessed according to two failure criteria (acc. BS 476 Part 20: 1987):

Integrity

A failure of the test construction to maintain integrity shall be deemed to have occurred when collapse or sustained flaming on the unexposed face occurs.

Insulation

Failure shall be deemed to have occurred when one of the following occurs:

  • If the mean unexposed face temperature increases by more than 140 °C above its initial value;
  • If the temperature recorded at any position on the unexposed face, either by a fixed thermocouple is in excess of 180 °C above the initial mean unexposed face temperature;
  • When integrity failures as defined above occur.

Note: EN1366-4: 2006 failure criteria are also very similar. To see the full standard you can click here to preview.

See the testing underway at BRE in the video above.

We can test fire barrier designs in a laboratory under controlled conditions in order to determine if the designs perform as required. However, on-site we are reliant on our installation teams to ensure that the fire barriers are installed correctly. This is where LPS 1531 accreditation comes in.

LPS 1531 Accreditation

LPS 1531 accreditation ensures that passive fire protection products are installed correctly. The LPS 1531 assessment (developed by the Loss Prevention Certification Board) specifically applies to companies installing or applying passive fire protection products.

By being selected as an LPS1531 approved company you can be sure that the installers have been trained appropriately in order to “install or apply the passive fire protection product or system to deliver the project’s fire protection requirements”.

You can see what is involved in the approval process in this LPS 1531 outline here.

Yuanda Europe LPS 1531 Journey

To dig a little deeper into Yuanda Europe’s LPS 1531 accreditation I sat down with Luis Goncalves who worked alongside our QA team and in conjunction BRE to ensure our on-site installation teams met the requirements.

Where the idea to get Yuanda Europe accredited came from?

In 2017 the Grenfell Tower disaster happened here in London. Afterwards, all industry and regulatory bodies tightened their control over the design & installation of cladding and in particular on fire stops and cavity barrier products.

Internally we put together a team to look at our processes in order to identify where improvements could be made. This team uncovered that in terms of design, testing and manufacture we were already providing products in compliance with the highest standards and regulations.

However, it is one thing to design the best system but we could see that we are totally reliant on the competence of the workmanship of the installers and the quality assurance checks on site. We needed to put a system in place to ensure only the highest quality installation of fire protection systems was acceptable on site.

We began by contacting BRE to better understand their accreditation process. In parallel, we put together a workgroup to streamline our information flow and quality assurance process.

What does this accreditation mean to Yuanda Europe and our clients?

This accreditation proves to our project sponsors and stakeholders, our commitment to the highest standards of Fire Safety for the products that we provide and install. It introduces a much more robust training regime for our management team and installation staff. This ensures that we reduce the risks associated with the workmanship as much as possible in order to ensure the products (and systems installed) perform as tested and specified.

I’m proud to say that Yuanda Europe is an approved installer under the LPS 1531 Scheme by LPCB for penetrations, cavity barriers and linear gap seals. It was a very rewarding exercise to work together with the team to officially secure the accreditation as approved installers.

Wrap Up

We hope that this brief introduction into fire barrier installation can shine some light on the processes we have put in place to ensure our systems perform to specification time and time again. Fire safety is one of our top priorities here at Yuanda and we are continuously working on ways to test and improve our design and installation process.

 

 

 

 

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