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Fire Stopping of services penetrations – getting compliance right – February, 2017

This CIBSE Technical Seminar highlighted that sometimes what we have been doing for years may not necessarily have been compliant.  David Robinson from Systems Solution Engineering discussed the issues with fire stopping of wet system sprinkler/hydrant pipework reticulation at the New Royal Adelaide Hospital (nRAH).  This project provided an interesting learning experience initially for the South Australian construction industry; but also applicable for the whole of Australia.

This initially challenged commonly accepted interpretations of compliance for fire stopping of services such piping through fire resistant walls together with the associated additional parameters for separation of services, penetration sizes and adjacent close proximity of combustible elements. To resolve requirements for a “tested system" for water filled piping, a fire furnace test was undertaken to resolve that specific problem, thus eliminating the problems that would eventually affect the industry Australia wide in the future.
Compliance for fire stopping requirements within the  National Construction Code under Clause C3.15 and/or Specification 3.15, as “deemed to satisfy” provisions and the restrictive limitations or lack of clarity imposed, are not necessarily well known to the uninitiated. It is for that reason that Industry installers are recommended not “go it alone” and engage fire stopping specialists at an early stage to complete and certify all penetrations in accordance with their tested prototypes which offer a wide range of options.
The seminar provided excellent insights into updates as to how best to utilise the options that these provide to project teams, which helped share project learnings within the Australian industry.

For those interested in Fire Safety Performance Engineering for completion of assessments to meet BCA performance requirements, CIBSE Guide E provides another comprehensive document for referral to assist in the development of various risk analyses which are normally practised through use of the International Fire Engineering Guidelines; as the commonly adopted resource within Australia.
Fire engineering design and its analysis process is universal and whilst the CIBSE Guide originates from UK; its document format follows that known to those users in Australia and as a result offers yet another perspective to the designer for comparative review and in support of those principles that are needed when formulating a fire safety submission.