Fire Protection Design in Commercial Buildings

A building’s fire protection system is a set of technical tools designed to detect fire, identify its source, prevent it from spreading, and extinguish it. Incorporating a fire protection system in a building’s design prevents injury and minimizes financial loss in case of fire.

One type of building fire safety system is passive fire protection. It is included in construction and stops fire from moving through different areas of the building. Fire doors, thermal insulation, non-combustible cable, coating, fireproof cladding, and fire-resistant walls are some components of passive fire protection.

Each system element has its own fire rating, which measures the number of hours it can withstand fire exposure. A fire-rated wall with a one-hour fire resistance rating can endure fire for one hour before collapsing. The fire rating of firewalls, non-bearing exterior walls, fire barrier walls, shaft enclosures, and openings in walls, roofs, and floors are provided by different regulations.

Strategically designing the building’s walls, floors, and ceilings can help prevent smoke and fire from quickly moving through them. A typical compartmentation system uses connected fire-rated doors and walls to contain a fire. These barriers divide a building into sections and minimize the size and spread of a typical fire.

Fire-rated ceiling assembly can prevent fire from spreading vertically. Meanwhile, walls and doors can help prevent the horizontal passage of fire to another area in a building. The fire rating for doors is often lower than the wall’s fire rating. This is because the building’s furnishings and other fixtures are situated close to walls and may act as fuel.

Building laws and standards require property owners to conduct a fire risk assessment and commercial building inspection NJ [SL1] to secure assets and occupants against the risk of fire. A building owner must have their fire protection systems routinely inspected as various activities can compromise components. Plumbing or electric modifications can leave open penetrations in fire-rated walls and compromise their integrity.

A commercial building engineer NJ can help identify structures that might prevent the efficient operation of the building’s fire protection system.

For more information about fire construction design in commercial buildings, here is an infographic by Lockatong Engineering.

commercial building engineer NJ