• Search for product or code

What is passive fire protection?

Passive fire protection (PFP) is built into the structure of a building – providing structure integrity and stability – to prevent the spread of fire and smoke and contain it in a single compartment. It plays a crucial role in any fire safety strategy, as it aims to safeguard lives and limit financial devastation in the event of a fire.
Here, we provide a simple guide to passive fire protection and take a look at who’s responsible for it and why it’s so vital to any building’s fire strategy.

How does passive fire protection work?

Passive fire safety limits the spread of fire and smoke in a number of ways. Fire-resistant walls and floors help to contain fire, heat and smoke in its area of origin and prevent further spread. It also protects escape routes (ensuring valuable escape time) and protects the building’s structure and assets. This protection is either provided by construction materials in the buildings make-up or added to increase its fire resistance. Active and passive fire protection work together to achieve the utmost efficiency in fire safety measures.

Who’s responsible for passive fire protection?

UK law dictates that passive fire protection meets building regulations that certify anyone in the building can escape safely in the event of a fire – and that the building will not collapse. That means that the responsibility lies in the first instance with designers and that building owners, managers and occupiers should then carry out fire risk assessments and incorporate review and assessment of passive fire protection. Following the Grenfell disaster in 2017, huge importance is now placed on the need for compliance in handing over fire safety information at completion of a project. In fact, announced in July, the government is bringing forward changes to the draft Building Safety Bill that will improve building and fire safety. The draft Bill will ensure someone is assigned responsibility for keeping residents safe in high-rise buildings and they’ll be named the ‘accountable person’. The new rules will mean that when residents move into a high-rise building, they can be confident it’s registered with the Building Safety Regulator and has a Building Assurance Certificate, while the accountable person will be responsible for carrying out a risk assessment for the building. At the moment, the proposed regulations only apply to England.

What’s the difference between active and passive fire protection?

For a fire strategy to be comprehensive and all encompassing, it must feature a myriad of measures and products. While passive fire components are almost the fabric of the building – measures built into the structure, active fire protection is considered to be the reactive element of fire safety and requires some sort of intervention to operate. Active fire protection refers to items including sprinkler and fire alarm systems, as well as fire extinguishers and fire door release mechanisms, for example. These two types of fire protection should work together to firstly, stop a fire from spreading, before helping those in the building to take the relevant and required action to put out the fire.

Find passive fire protection products, including transfer grilles for fire-resisting doors and walls, by heading over to our fire safety equipment. For active fire protection to complement passive fire protection, visit our fire extinguishers and other accessories. Alternatively, get in touch and we can advise the correct products for an effective and legally compliant fire safety strategy.

The content of the CheckFire blog is for general information purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure accuracy at the time of publication, under no circumstances should it be considered professional advice. Any reliance you place on the information is at your own risk. Always seek the advice of a fire professional for your particular circumstances and requirements.
  • by Toria Jones

Become a Trade Customer

If you’re in the trade and want to learn more about how to become a CheckFire customer, visit our dedicated Trade Customer page for more information.