Fire Penetration Seals BIM4Housing Roundtables 28-06-2023

RICHARD I think most of us know this is about updating the guidance we published 18 months ago about 12 fire critical assets. George’s introduction is more about putting into context what we’ve done in the past and the direction we’re heading in the future.

GEORGE (prerecorded, shared screen). Basically just to explain what BIM4Housing is, it’s not about 3M modelling, it’s about better information management. We’ve got 6 working groups that are interested in different aspects of the process and we try and identify what problems could be addressed if we had better information management. Each of those groups meets 6 times a year, so we’ve got 36 working group meetings each year and what we then do from those is identify particular tasks that workstreams get together and work on to come up with better data, standardised data templates, reusable libraries, the 12 critical components or asset types that we’re going through at the moment and then the information about procedures and the like.

And just to put it in context, one of the challenges is that you’ve got different people in different parts of the organisations who are interested from different perspectives. So depending on what you need to know, it’s a matter of everybody’s got slightly different information requirements. And also different levels of detail. What we’re also doing to navigate through all of this information what information is fixed and what’s likely to change. For example, for a cavity barrier there is information that is static because that’s come from the manufacturer, but there might be some specific information about that particular cavity barrier in that location. So, if we can differentiate between the two it would be good.

The other thing is that the safety case reports and the fire risk assessments, it’s great to know that you’ve got one, but it could be out of date the following day, so what we really need is a safety management system and a fire management system that is also live. So the report is an output that you need to track, but that in itself isn’t adequate as far as the building safety side of things is concerned, because when things change they risk assessments really should be rerun. It’s also the case that we find that we want to break out things like fire stopping inspections, for example, to be able to see what’s changed, if a problem’s been identified under a fire risk assessment, then works that have been carried out, has that actually been completed.

Importantly, finally it’s a matter of tying that inspection, for example, back to an individual asset record and not creating a new one, because we’ve discovered that when people are using applications often they’re creating a new record for a particular asset, and actually what they’re doing is they’re just creating the golden thread is just for the inspection, not for the asset, so we’re losing the track of the information. So, if we’ve got asset tags, for example, those are tied to a particular asset and we can then test the information to see if that particular asset has got the additional information that’s needed can then be tied back to manufacturers product data, but you also need to look at it in the context of where that door is. So, just looking at an inspection without understanding where it is and the spaces that it’s protecting isn’t really adequate.

And then if people are using applications like Plan Radar, Riskbase, Hilti, Keystone or Civica, to be able to identify the individual assets, it all needs to come back to the individual information. Because in part we’ve got so many golden threads now, the success of what we’ve been doing is good, but what we’re actually ending up with are the landlord is ending up having to deal with dozens or potentially hundreds of different golden threads, so we need to be able to bring together that information. Finally, the information on machine-readable information. Here we’ve got a data sheet where we’re showing fire rating and really to interpret the fire rating for this particular door, a human has to read that, or that, or that, you’ve got fire rating all described in different ways. So what we want to try and do, for example in this session here, is if there is a data sheet for a cavity barrier, what is the key information that we need to know about that cavity barrier and can we hold that as machine-readable information. Whereas, for example, the acoustic level, that might be just in a data sheet.

So the exercise of doing that, we’ve been on this journey for a couple of years now, and we’ve been working with HACT to create standardised data templates that can then be used either for existing buildings and new buildings, so that we can organise the information in a way that any software application can then read. This is the exercise that we went through with the BRE to create standardised data templates. The point about this is that then you’ve got a standard name for, for example, a balcony door. We’ve got a classification for it, we’ve also got the IFC classification which is the BIM standard, and but glueing these together it makes the job a lot easier to find things and keep them up to date.

Also, people use different terms, so it might be an Automatic Opening Vent is described in an asset management system as an AOV or a smoke vent or automatic air vent. We can do this in the database to be able to use different synonyms. So, overall we’ve identified 71 fire related assets and 152 that are safety related. Now that can change and depending on an interpretation, but at least we’re starting to get there. The other thing is about the asset data. Part of what we’re trying to do today is to understand what information is unique to cavity barriers that is different than it would be for a fire damper. This is standard COBie and this is generic for any type of asset, manufacturer, model number etc. The thing that makes it different is the information that you might have for different types of assets.

The most widely delivered at the moment is IFC data which is in the BIM world, but there’s also different information sets. CIBSE, for example, the Chartered Building Services Engineers, they’ve got a set of information that is needed and that’s what’s influenced FIREY (BS8644). You’ve also got cost information from RICS, you’ve got distribution, this is what wholesalers and builders merchants use, the ETIM classification. The point is when we’re looking for the right information it’s got to be for the right purpose. This is IFC for an Automatic Opening Vent and you’ll see a lot of these attributes here are probably only needed for design purposes. So my argument now is probably we have these just in a data sheet, but things like fire rating and height and width, that’s something that perhaps should be managed, going forward, as machine-readable data.

And if we do that it means it can be collected without having to put into BIM models, this can be generated in data templates or spreadsheets for contractors to find.

A big challenge that we’ve got is the only people that really know what you need for a cavity barrier are people that really understand both the manufacture, the installation and the maintenance and asset management of cavity barriers. So that’s the purpose of today and the big question that we’re trying to answer is what data do we need and in most cases we’re told ‘it depends’. In depends on what that cavity barrier is doing, what was its specification and what’s responsible for it. So, we’ve gone through this exercise now with AOVs on Monday, Fire Doors on Tuesday, we did smoke dampers yesterday, but what we’re doing is really reviewing the hard work that some of the people that are on this call put in 18 months ago.

We want to refresh that in the context of the Act and if we can do that it means that the information that we’re capturing can be used in any software application because we’re able to hold the data as a discrete auditable set of information that can then be connected to any software that’s got a door. And by doing that it means that we can add in the new BS8644 information, for example, into that same library and then populate any system so this makes it neutral and generic. So, that’s what we’re trying to achieve.

RICHARD We’ll move straight on to the document. This is actually a work in progress because Sharon McClure’s already done some input and made some comments on this, so we’er going to use her version as a start off. There’s an amount of preamble prior to these questions which obviously use need a revision, but you don’t need to worry about that now. The first question, what risks do fire penetration seals mitigate? Have a flick through there and see what you think, if there’s anything glaringly missing or needs amending, adding to or subtracting.

SCOTT FENTON There’s two items in there about the firefighter’s access, can they be combined into one?

RICHARD So risks of fire brigade not having access or enough time.

PAUL BRAY That might be two separate things though because it’s talking about it without the correct fire penetration seals in place access for firefighting could be compromised because of fire spread and crating a hazardous situation for the firefighters. The other bit is talking about the reduction in the time to prevent fire spread, so by the time the fire services get there the fire will be more developed than it would be if the penetrations were correct. So it might just be a rewording to ensure that’s what it’s trying to capture.

SCOTT FENTON If two are needed, that’s fine. I'd say put two things that are similar together in the text, so anything that's firefighter related grouped together.

BRETT HIBBITT I would also agree with that because there's a lot of doubling up in these sort of documents. You can look at the first two points, the risk of smoke spread and the risk of heat spread is basically the same as the risk of speed of fire and smoke spread, which is 5 or 6 down. And then you’ve got above the risk of spread of fire, smoke and heat between building compartmentation, those all four can be combined into one really, or two.

RICHARD We’re not going to go through all of those and do that now, we can do that afterwards. I take your point on that and we’ll get that done after the meeting. I understand what you mean about duplication.

BRETT HIBBITT Can I also ask for clarity on the 7th down, risk of number of uncontained areas. What does that mean?

RICHARD No idea, I’m not an expert in this. All of these points were put forward and discussed 18 months ago. This document went out to 4 or 5 experts for revision, it’s been on the website and had notes put on it. Did anyone have any idea what that might mean?

PAUL BRAY It might mean that you are going to have more…that's about the fire development being larger than it needs to be, and if you haven't put the appropriate seals within the penetration of each compartment, you'll get fire spread between all these ‘uncontained areas’. So the fire spread through a building where the compartments should have been sealed, will be uncontrolled, that’s what I would think it is. I think it is very difficult to understand what that means. So you could say the risk of the increase in the number of un-compartmented areas, perhaps. I wasn't involved in this at 18 months ago, maybe when they were doing this it was just a bit of brainstorming and all the notes from the brainstorming have been written down…

RICHARD No, absolutely not. i understand what you’re saying, but these have been checked and triple checked by people. It's surprising given that process how much has come out that has been missed or, like in this case, not clear, so we’ll need to check on that one.

STEVE OSBORNE Just below that, the risk of compromising security and the thermal efficiency and the acoustics, I don’t understand how fire barriers would interact with any of those three comments.

JOHN NEWMAN I think I might disagree. I’ve not great knowledge on this, but obviously if there’s a penetration that’s not being fire stopped it is going to effect the acoustics between one compartment and another as well. We see on properties where they’re doing  sound tests and all sorts of different tests and thermal efficiency, so although it’s not related directly, because it’s intended to be to stop the spread of fire and smoke, it will have an impact on these issues.

COLIN WHITE The crosstalk, attenuation, if you’ve got a situation where the penetration seals aren’t fitted around smoke ventilators or smoke control dampers into builders work shafts you can get crosstalk going up the shafts.

SHARON McCLURE The majority of the products that we install are multi-labelled in terms of acoustic, thermal and fire and smoke, so the acoustics is included in a lot of the fire-stopping elements. And thermal efficiency, a lot of the penetrations that pass through are usually insulated, so you’ve got to ensure that you don’t cut away the insulation when you’re doing the firestop. Even though the insulation may be combustible, you have to then adjust the fire-stopping measures to take account of that and leave that insulation product in situ.

STEVE OSBORNE OK, that makes sense then.

RICHARD So, we need to check through for duplication, we’ve got one added on at the bottom, and find out what this risk of uncompartmented areas means. Anything else?

BRETT HIBBITT Sorry, I still question whether thermal efficiency acoustic security needs to be in there. Although it’s a byproduct, an add-on, and it sounds a really good feature of products, it’s not necessarily on all products and what we’re talking about is what risks do specifically fire penetration seals mitigate. So the fire penetration seals aren’t designed to mitigate those risks, although they may do sometimes, is it necessary to have them in this list?

STEVE BUNCE I would say that the thermal efficiency could actually relate to any cavity barriers going around the window frames. It could actually put in cold spots if you haven't got any sort of insulated cavity barrier there, dependent on where the windows fitted in the wall area, so that's where the thermal park could come in.

BRETT HIBBITT It could do, absolutely right. But it’s design parameter, is that specifically what we’re talking about here, or are we talking about specifically fire penetration seals? You could argue that they’d mitigate the risk of rodent penetration as well, or insect infestation, damp migration through the building. Where do you end on this? Are we talking about fire or are we talking about a complete compliance system here?

SHARON McCLURE I agree you could take it out. I think the thermal efficiency just came as a byproduct of the fire stopping solutions and, as I say, affected the thermal and acoustics. But yeah, for the purposes of that specific question…

RICHARD Well, I don’t know, I remember last time that there was a big thing made of the acoustics. I can’t remember all the details, but on a number of meetings people said about the acoustics and about how it was often missed out but was actually relevant. But don't ask me why it was. Does that ring a bell to anyone?

SHARON McCLURE But should the question not say what fire risks do fire penetration seals mitigate and put these in brackets so that if the question changes then they can be brought back in rather than being deleted. There might just be italics at the bottom saying additional benefits or something.

RICHARD It says what risks do fire penetration seals mitigate, not what fire risks.

BRETT HIBBITT I think I might recall some conversations in the past about this and I think if you flip it on its head, if you take an acoustic seal, quite often they need to be fire rated. So that's a feature of those because they normally go between compartments, but a fire penetration seal doesn't necessarily have to be an acoustic barrier.

RICHARD OK, shall we do what Sharon suggests and put those two in brackets?

BRETT HIBBITT Yeah, that sounds like a good idea.

RICHARD Yeah, and we can take that under advisement then. Question 1b: What compromises fire penetration seals ability to perform as required? So what are the risks to the fire penetration seal itself?

SHARON McCLURE I’ve sent comments in, but they’re on the installation section so I don’t know if any of these have got something in the first two.

RICHARD The first one’s kind of general, then we’ve got materials, installation…any comments on materials and the general ones at the top? Scroll down to installation.

SHARON McCLURE …I was just asking for the FSDC to be expanded or at least noted somewhere in the document, cause it continues through, but it's not clear what it stands for. The next one, supports for building services, the sentence there should be independent supports within 500 mil of fire penetration sales. And I feel as if there generally should be independent support and maybe comma within 500 mil of the fire penetration seals or as tested because as soon as you put 500 down, somebody will say that doesn't apply to me. So there are variations. There generally should be independent support. Support for building services are sometimes installed too far from the fire penetration seals resulting in the fire penetration seals themselves acting as a support. That's a statement. That's fine.There should be independent support within 500 mil of the five penetration deals or as tested. Because you want to say there generally should be a support, but you don't want to be specific about the distance because it varies or change that to there generally should be independent support as tested.

RICHARD The e.g. is your change, got it.

SHARON McCLURE And the next one down, in situ welding is required. I’ve added on if any in-situ welding is required I’ve asked them to add at the bottom making them redundant because explaining that the heat transfers up the pipes doesn’t necessarily explain what the problem is. And the last one is there is no benchmark. We had, comma, so the door is open for substandard accreditation, and as much as we’re talking about building fabric I thought that should be changed to so there is an opportunity for substandard installation as opposed to a door, just change the language slightly. And substandard accreditation, I think that should be installation, so I’ve changed that. There is another duplication further down in fire-stopping damage by insufficient base material prep, its maybe just a consolidation of the descriptions.

And the 4th last one, fire-stopping damage after installation by the following services, I think that should probably be expanded to discuss handovers or inspection of areas before closing up for sealants. Because it just says fire damage after installation, but I think they have to expand on that to say that there’s got to be a hold point. You shouldn’t be going and doing a fire compartmentation survey a year after the building's been handed over and then determine that what you're looking at was damaged during the builds. There should be hold points, milestones, handovers, inspections before following work can begin, to try and at least capture the majority of the delay the damages.

RICHARD Is there anybody else who’s spotted something that needs to go in there?

SCOTT FENTON I saw one comment about supports being 500 mil and I think the minute anyone reads a specific dimension it goes into the head of that’s what it is, and some other company…It’s worth saying within a given distance, but then you could go to the brackets and say Company X, as an example, gives 500, Company Y gives 400, and then really make it bold, refer to each manufacturers install. If I was reading this it would be, ah, 500, fine, carry on. I’m working with Rockwool now, I know it’s 400 for them, so it really is a case of checking. It’s whether or not you put the 500 as a figure or within a specific dimension and it has to be checked, and then give examples in brackets.

RICHARD This is where Sharon’s changed it, for example within 500 mil of penetration seals refer to each manufacturers installation guidelines for their requirements.

CRAIG WELLS Just to jump in on that point, I think the wording that Sharon used then was ‘as tested’ which is a really crucial point that should be in there. So I think whether we could say that it's typically within 250 to 500 millimetres of the face of the seal, but as tested by the manufacturer, because as Scott has just referred to, it could be 250, it could be 400 and in fact you can't even say one manufacturer's 250 and one's 400. It very much depends on the specific service in this specific application.

SCOTT FENTON I think you putting a range has just hit the nail bang on the head, cause straight away it says there's not one answer.

CRAIG WELLS And the crucial thing is as tested, as tested by this specific manufacturer.

BRETT HIBBITT From looking at this from a not a manufacturer's or installers point but through a fire risk assessors point of view, would it make sense to take out any reference to distance and put to the manufacturer's installation guidelines? Because that’s what any  sort of product like this should be installed to, the manufacturers guidelines. And if you put a range in then they might bring up project tomorrow that a product that falls outside of that range, and they probably will.

SHARON McCLURE I agree, I think the specifications change wildly and I think you can have, if you put sizes in, that’s why I was saying really there generally should be independent supported services as tested by the manufacturer. What happens today if this document is printed, you want it to be useable for many years in the future. I might go to a project where the seal is supported within 100 mil or within 50 mil. And as someone just said a fire risk assessment referring back to it, so you want it to be as woolly as possible, but to give guidance so that it can be future proofed.


RICHARD OK, so this should read ‘there should be independent support as per manufacturers instructions, of fire penetration seals’. And then delete the rest, because that covers it.

SCOTT FENTON At Mace we have internal standards, there’s obviously a lot of text and then at the back page we have what we call 10 golden rules and I think this is something, given the amount of people that talked about this point, its quite an important one that a) people probably get wrong and b) people want guidance on. So I don’t know if you’re going to have any sections in this document that kind of says this is a really important fact or put something in bold, but this is a good one to really spell out to people.

RICHARD We certainly can because we have an appendix, so I suggest for this one, and perhaps you’ll all help me with this outside of the meeting because I agree it’s an important one, Jiss, put in brackets expand in appendix.

CRAIG WELL If it helps I can drop a link to an article on our website about this topic because as others have said it’s very important but it’s also a very topical point.

SCOTT FENTON Where you’ve got the comma, should it be ‘set away from the fire penetration seals’? The last bit doesn’t read right.

RICHARD There should be independent support as per manufacturers instructions for fire penetration seals.

BRETT HIBBITT Obviously then you need to take any reference to that 500 mil out of the other bullet points.

CRAIG WELLS I think that’s a separate issue to the service support, that’s Sharon’s point about if there’s any welding carried out that the heat transfer up the metal pipe, or whatever's being welded, could activate the fire stop seal.

RICHARD Right, so is this a different prescription, the 500 mil there?

CRAIG WELLS Very much so.

SHARON McCLURE The services need to be independently supported, full stop. So that’s a subject on it’s own…supported is subject to the manufacturers, and they've obviously got to have the appropriate fixings on to appropriate substrate. Separate from that, the fire stopping is tested another predetermined distance based on the test laboratory that it went to. So you've got the fire stopping manufacturers guidelines and you've got the services support guidelines. The two don't necessarily match, but you've got to be aware of both of them to install a firestop.

RICHARD Right, so where we’ve just taken the 500 mm out on change of location, does that mean it needs to go back in?

SHARON McCLURE No, because you don't want to specify a distance because we are not privy to that.

RICHARD And what about the one above where it says should not be carried out within 500 mm, that’s something different, isn’t it?

SHARON McCLURE That’s an ASFP technical guidance note in terms of such as has just been mentioned, welding.

RICHARD Question 2: What information is needed about fire penetration seals to ensure they perform as required?

SHARON McCLURE The document you’re looking at now has been changed slightly from the one that Jiss had submitted as a PDF, I made a couple of changes. The item ‘what has been installed by whom and when’, I’ve put after that the CPVC sprinkler pipe because those are an issue just now in terms of compatibility of mastics. And a recommendation for the ASFP for sprinklers to be steel pipes, different types of plastic, so not all mastics or all products are tested with all types of plastics. And then obviously you’ve got your thermal impact of steel copper etc. So the different types of what has been installed can affect the different solutions available, so I haven’t gone into great detail there, but I’ve just added those types of plastics, steel, copper and CPVC.

SCOTT FENTON That thing about doubling up again, though, you’ve got there on the acoustics and lower down it says what is it there for, acoustic fire integrity, installation of both. You could combine that but again catch that as a remove duplication.

RICHARD Yeah, we’re gonna go through this for duplication. Sometimes you're in a meeting and somebody will say the same thing but slightly different and it’s got a different implication. But then when it’s simplified and written out it comes out as the same.

IAN SMITH Just a very small point, but I think from the operational point of view it’s very important. We’ll be handed over a fine schedule of fire-stopping, locations and other data and information, but my practical experience tells me perhaps anything up to 80% of these will not actually be visible to me now that the building has been finished and handed over, they’re behind ceilings and other areas that are not directly accessible. I think this point will sort of spill over into the next section on design and so I’ll maybe come back when we go onto the next point on design.

SHARON McCLURE Sorry Richard, I meant to put on, you see the levels of protection 30/60/90/120, it really should have integrity and insulation, so EI after that. There’s two requirements, you can have 30 EI, 60 EI etc, or 30 I, so if you just put EI at that point, that’s integrity and insulation and I can expand that.

RICHARD Question 3, this is about actions. What tasks are required to ensure fire penetration seals are installed, commissioned, inspected and maintained properly?

SHARON McCLURE The paragraph that’s in brackets underneath it, I don’t know how much of this has been shown to someone, but it says it should be a given that any work on fire safety critical assets should always be undertaken by competent people, probably third-party. In Scottish regs it says recommended and I think probably considering the whole push for fire safety, ‘probably’ is a bit too wooly. I think we should change that to recommended… I think the language should be consistent.

RICHARD OK, so what tasks are required, what needs to be done? Installation, commissioning, inspections.

IAN SMITH There's a bit of a disconnect, and it's seen from the operational point of view, often certainly between the design and the installation in a particular building. In the past, and hopefully we’re moving in the right direction with better education and understanding, the designer (particularly service designers) would often pay little attention to fire compartmentation thinking that was the architect’s issue, and equally on site the installer M&E engineer, they would again pay little regard to fire compartmentation and generally would be designing or installing in the easiest and quickest possible route for them which would be perhaps a kind of straight line brining many more fire compartments that would be perhaps ideal.

The move in recent years, and under current legislation, is towards the designer looking for the most appropriate route for the services, bearing in mind fire compartmentation and to minimise the number of breaks in these compartments and hopefully, as an aside to that, where they are breaking them, to make inspection much more readable and accessible. So hopefully going forward we’ll see much better installations that will allow the inspection of these by the operational team when they take over the site.

RICHARD Absolutely, this is what we’re all hoping for.

SCOTT FENTON I can’t see anything in this section about having a drawing from an architect with the correct specified products and then the installer having that drawing and assuming they’ve got the product they install it, but if they wanted to change the products having that item that hasn’t been approved. A lot of the stuff that’s in there is about the person doing the work, or the materials are checked etc, but the actual have they got the right drawing and the right spec that’s on the drawing.

SHARON McCLURE Yeah, that's not referred to in that document at all. So as a passive fire contractor, that's critical. I should have picked that one up, that we need to know what’s to go where.

SCOTT FENTON I’m a design manager and we’re installing XYZ, so I’d get my architect to do a drawing and specify it so he would have spoken to a structural engineer and got the deflection, spoke to a fire engineer and got the wall rating, specify the door and then he’s now specifying the fire-stopping around the door, let’s say. So, I want the installer to have that drawing and that drawing should say specification XYZ product and they should be installing XYZ product. if they were installing ABC products there should be a tech sub process. So, having the information on the drawing.

CRAIG WELLS I definitely support that point and I think the points here are very focused on the installation, which I understand the question is what tasks are required to ensure the penetration seal is installed, commissioned, inspected and maintained, but prior to the installation there has to be good design work. I’ve used an analogy before and it’s a little bit, I suppose, despising the pacifier penetration seal market, but specialist installers of penetration seals in effect are no different to a decorator. They should be installing the product as it says on the tin, in accordance with the tested scope. I think historically there’s been a problem with we build the buildings, we let trades come in and run services through and then we call the fire-stopper in, so we call Sharon and her team in and say ‘put some penetration seals in, give me a certificate, we’ve got handover next week’.

But Sharon and her team are only installers of tested systems, so before they can come and install and commission and inspect and maintain, we’ve got to be facilitating the installation of the products in accordance with that tested scope of application. So I think Scott’s point about the design and actually specifying what should be installed, doing that due diligence on what can be installed, making sure the services are put in the right place, the apertures are big enough, there’s enough access etc is actually what facilitates the correct installation and ongoing inspection and maintenance. I’ll drop a link into a post on our website about early engagement.

RICHARD Yeah, do that. We are very aware of that. This has come up that we haven’t always included this and I think George’s point on it is we’re very focused on the asset, it’s very granular on the asset. It’s quite interesting because we’ve got a design working group, but none of them ever come to these. I don’t know if it’s an intentional feeling that this is after design, if that makes sense, but I don’t know if that’s necessarily a good idea.

TOM SPENCER I suppose it’s building on what’s already been said now, but after that design has taken place and the installation has happened, the comment there I can see at the bottom ‘check installation of the product’, I don’t know if we need to be a bit more specific on who should do that or give some criteria for the right person to do that.

RICHARD We get into competence on the next section. Perfectly correct, but it’s a big enough issue to warrant its own section. OK, question 4: What level of competency and training needs to be in place? This will be for installation, inspection and maintenance.

SHARON McCLURE There’s another element of this that I couldn’t contribute. The ASFP have got a competency pathway coming out and I think there could be quite a bit of information that would help for this element, but the person I need to speak to wasn’t able to get the information in time for this meeting, but I’ll send it on to Jiss as soon as I have it.

RICHARD That’s brilliant. That’s obviously part of the purpose of this meeting because there’s a lot that’s happened in the last 18 months, so we want to keep it as up to date as possible. Ok, have a flick through that, anything glaringly missing?

SHARON McCLURE The service supports are obviously mentioned here, but it might be worthwhile expanding it based on the comments from the previous discussion. It just says service supports, but I think the conversation we had earlier was around the fact that there’s a specific requirement for service supports and it can effect the installation of fire-stopping products.

RICHARD Jiss, next to service supports put in brackets ‘expand’

CRAIG WELS Just on that point, Sharon, I guess the responsibility of the service supports normally falls on the M&E contractor, and yet it directly affects the performance of a firestop seal. And whether it’s this bullet point or whether it’s a new one or not, the coordination of the trades, I believe, is critical. I’m not sure if we’ve got anything in there specifically, you tend to leave the fire-stopping to the firestop contractor, but in actual fact your dryliner, your plumber, your electrician, your sprinkler installer, they directly affect the performance of the overall seal. So I do think there needs to be a competency, an awareness with all the trades which affects it.

SHARON McCLURE Yeah, I think there is something about spacings above, but it doesn’t go into the detail of the impact where you have one aperture and everyone’s decided to use it, when it’s actually not tested for mixed service penetration. So that’s a very good point.

TOM SPENCER I think it’s just reinforcing what Craig and Sharon just said, we’ve had that problem before where there’s no ownership on site. I think if different M&E contractors, everyone’s working in their own little silo and it results in problems towards the end of the job when things are trying to be finished off and there’s issues. I think it’s going back on that and I don’t know how we pick that out within this, but there needs to be a bit more emphasis on that ownership throughout the projects and not just right up until the fire-stopping contractor is on site.

RICHARD Yeah, that again comes into what we said earlier about specification in the design process. But that’s something that keeps coming up through all of our meetings, that all the stakeholders further down the supply chain need to be involved 1 or 2 stages earlier than they actually are at the moment, and legislation addresses that to some extent, but possibly not enough.

SHARON McCLURE Just on that, the competency of other trades. The two things I would say is, one being obviously a follow-on from plumbers and electricians etc where they’ve not installed it and been aware of the specifications and the limitations of passive fire measures or tested solutions. So they might do what suits them, but there doesn’t seem to be any awareness of the limitations that we’re restricted by. And the other thing was going back to my comment about the ASFP competency pathway, the plan for the training that they are incorporating other trades, so there will be an awareness module that can actually be taken on by anyone, whether it’s the designer at the start, whether it’s the electrician, the plumber, whether it’s data cabling, and it’s to do with the awareness of the compartmentation and fire in its most basic form. Almost like the asbestos awareness, you don’t need to be dealing with asbestos, but you still have to get asbestos awareness training.

So things like that with interface of mixed services and the silos, it’s a huge problem and when we turn up it’s how can you fix what’s left, whereas really it should really be incorporated in the same way as where does the door go in. It should be what size is the door and who’s fire-stopping it and what are they fire-stopping it with and then signed-off, not the doors going in, bring somebody to fix what’s left over. Hopefully a lot of these different elements, changes will start being seen in the near future.

RICHARD Yeah, that’s great that that’s underway, I’m looking forward to seeing that. OK, anything else that needs adding or subtracting or amending on this question 4 on competency? I think that’s the first time in any of the meetings going back in the last 18 months that somebody has actually had something to say that is good news. Now, on competency for maintenance. Just look at the n.b. above maintenance, ‘there’s no statutory requirement for fire penetration seal installers to be qualified’. This is 198 months ago, has that changed?

SHARON McCLURE It hasn’t changed. As I say the Scottish government have a recommendation about third-party accreditation, but there’s no specifics. And I’d also note that if you do have a third-party certified contractor, they still are permitted a ratio, it varies between 1 and 5, but you can have one competent person supervising 5 non-competent operatives. So it’s very wooly at this point and I think that the ASFP competency pathway, once you see that document it should be able to have an impact across the board here, but it will only have an impact on those who are willing to take that step and that’s the only concern.

RICHARD Number 5, how are the changes from one product to another recorded? So basically change management. These are generally not specific to fire penetration seals, what we’ve got in this section are general subject requirements where there is a requirement and a suggestion where there isn’t. Is there anything specific to fire penetration seals that would be required in terms of product change?

SHARON McCLURE The only thing I would mention is sometimes what it says on the tin, I think will ring a bell to a lot of people. There’s products that at first glance may be similar and at a high level the documents might make the products look the same, but the changing from one product to another and those responsible for the changes will be critical, because there’s a lot of people advertising high level, that the product does X, Y and Z, but when you actually drill down it’s very limited. So it’s whether or not people are actually aware of the specifics and then you’ve got compatibility and you might have a product that suits but it’s only available from certain manufacturers and can’t interface that with the one that’s already on site.

It’s a system, so when you buy Quelfire you want the Quelfire system, you can’t just borrow a Hilti solution and pop it into the Quelfire model. So people that are making adjustments need to understand that when they change a product it may have an impact on multiple things, again the sprinklers, you’ve got incompatible mastics and you’ve got compatible, so there’s a huge…the RFITQ? 1hr 13mins 55secs responsible, that element of it, is a huge headache for everybody.

RICHARD Yeah, absolutely. Paul is busy typing, he’s usually very vocal in our meetings, but he’s taken to typing for an hour and a half.

PAUL BRAY I'm deferring to the experts in the room, they’re definitely the subject matter experts. But I've just been doing some stuff on referencing the codes of practice such as approved documents, the DCLG guides for existing buildings and also BS9999. So I’m gonna send the document I’ve produced with some needs in there to Jiss so he can then disseminate anything pertinent to the document.

RICHARD Brilliant, thank you very much. OK, so has anyone got anything more they want to say about the document that we’ve been through? Now, George touched upon it in his introduction that we are looking at the information element, which is question 2, in a slightly different way than we were before, and that is drilling down into that information, that data, We’re setting up 3 little groups, one on data as in for people who are interested in the actual information. One on process for those interested in the process of getting that information and utilising it and then one on application, which is how that information is actually applied in practice or in theory or in an ideal world. So, that’s the information itself, process, or application.

Now, if anybody has got an interest in sparing an hour and a half for a meeting on any of those with some likeminded individuals that would be great. Put your name in the chat with which you’d like to get yourself involved in and we’ll get something set up (probably from September). I’ll be getting in touch with people who we said a little bit earlier on that we’d dig a little bit deeper into a couple of the areas. Thank you very much indeed for your work and your time and for a very good productive meeting.



Allan Harrison

Travel through building components ie hollow core floors

Sharon McClure

Fire stopping damaged after installation by follow on services - plan to handover : inspect before follow on trades/ closing oveR

I will scan the pdf over Jiss Philip Mukkadan

Craig Wells

Sharon McClure

Key statements:

Services should be independently supported, as per manufacturers’ guidelines.

The firestopping specific requirements shall be provided by the firestop manufacturer data sheets and refer to the tested solutions.

Allan Harrison

Fitted in accordance with manufacturers tested installation requirements, particularly to respect of the distance of the independent support and tolerances from the penetration seal

Paul Bray

Should this document contain reference to the Building Regulation requirements and what is said in Approved Document B, BS 9999:2017 and in the DCLG Guides (for example Fire Risk Assessments in Factories and Warehouses), each of these have something to say on this topic.

Allan Harrison

Identify who has the definitive responsibility for interface detailing.

Craig Wells

Scott Fenton

The installer should have the correct design information available to them (drawings and specifications with product references identified etc.) and install to that information.

Should the selected product not be available, and an alternative be proposed, then an approval process for the new product should be agreed and in place and signed off prior to the installation to ensure the right product gets installed.

Craig Wells

Coordination of all trades that directly affect the performance of the fire stop seals including dryliners, M&E contractors and the fire stop contractor. On project training about the project specific design and the use of benchmarking and sample installs are recommended too.

Allan Harrison

Compatibility of different products

Paul Bray

A responsible person (owner etc.) should always endeavour to have all penetrations and fire stopping work completed by competent 3rd party accredited person. This would support their FRA and fire strategy for the building. In HRBs this will be critical to the Safety Case. Where a system cannot be certificated an agreed process must be designed, with records of all conversations, design detail materials used, and photographs taken and kept for building records. and audits