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You are currently viewing What is Fire Compartmentation and Why Should You Care?

What is Fire Compartmentation and Why Should You Care?

Passive or Active Fire Protection?

Compartmentation is a passive fire protection system used to prevent the spread of flame and smoke from one compartment to another
Fire Compartmentation has been a fundamental part of how we build structures for centuries but it has come under scrutiny in recent years thanks to some high profile building collapses.

Why is compartmentation important?

In a fire, every second counts. That’s why compartmentalization is so important.

In the event of a fire, you need to ensure that the blaze stays contained in one spot. Compartmentalization helps you do just that by dividing your building into smaller spaces that are easier to control if a fire starts. It also gives your employees more time to evacuate safely, and it helps maintain the structural integrity of your building.

While sprinklers and fire alarms are great for warning people about a fire, compartmentalization is what actually protects them. When a fire alarm goes off, people have time to evacuate the building before they’re at risk of being harmed by the flames or smoke. Compartmentalization will also prevent a fire from spreading by containing it in one particular part of your building.

Compartmentalization is one of several strategies you can use to protect the occupants and your business from fires—but it’s arguably the most important.

Types of Fire Compartmentation

Compartmentalisation is critical to the success of any fire prevention strategy. There are several different types:

Fire Separation – is the creation of fire compartments by the use of walls, floors, and ceilings. The purpose of separating a building into compartments is to reduce the spread of fire between them. A compartment may be an entire building or just one floor or part of a floor. A compartment should be no larger than necessary for its intended use, but at the same time it should be no smaller than necessary to allow adequate evacuation and access for firefighters. To achieve this each compartment should have only one exit.

fire separation walls

Fire Resistance Rating:

A fire resistance rating is a number that indicates a material’s ability to withstand flames. The higher the number, the longer the material will resist fire.

For example, if a wall has a fire resistance rating of 2 hours, it means that it can withstand fire for at least 2 hours before it begins to burn through. Fire resistance ratings are an important part of building codes and regulations that ensure buildings are safe during fires.

fire testing materials


A fire stopping is a physical barrier within a building that prevents the spread of fire from one area to another. There are several different types of fire stops, but in general, they all work by creating a thermal insulation barrier that keeps the flame from spreading to other areas.

The logic behind using a fire stop is simple: you want to be able to use your time and money on putting out the existing fire rather than spending precious resources trying to put out other fires that have spread. To do this, you have to have an effective partitioning system in place at all times.

fire stopping

This kind of system can be installed into any type of building, provided that it complies with local building codes and is approved by your local authority.

Also read >> “Passive Fire Protection, Back To Basics” 

Fire Isolation – is achieved by using fire doors that prevent the spread of flames from a fire in one compartment to other compartments.

This is an important part of a fire safety system, as it prevents the spread of flames and smoke, which allows more time for occupants to evacuate safely. Doors in the walls and ceilings between different compartments may be identified on plans as ‘fire doors’, or may be marked with a sign above the door identifying their function as a ‘fire door’.

The doors will help hinder the growth of the fire, thus preventing further damage to buildings, property and persons. When you are in a building that has had a fire start, once the alarm sounds, you are to evacuate immediately via the nearest exit.

fire door restoration Sydney

Fire Containment is an essential element of fire protection. Fire containment prevents the spread of smoke and fire by using barriers such as walls and floors that resist the passage of smoke and flame for a specified amount of time. Fire containment creates “safe zones” in which people can escape or be rescued from a burning building, and it also protects property from fire damage.

Containment products are required by law in most buildings, but they’re often overlooked during construction. Without proper containment systems, buildings can become dangerous death traps for occupants during a fire. When you consider the amount of time, money, and effort that goes into protecting your property from theft with locks, alarm systems, and surveillance cameras, it’s startling to think that so many people neglect to protect their property against fire damage.

It’s easy to forget how devastating a fire can be—until you’re directly affected. Once the flames are extinguished and the cleanup begins, it becomes painfully clear just how much was lost.

Containment systems don’t have to be expensive; they can be as simple as steel doors or drywall partitions. And even if your business is already protected by containment systems, there’s no such thing as too much precaution when it comes to creating a safe environment for your employees and clients.

Fire Barriers

Firewalls are essential to protecting structures from fire, and they are installed in places where fire is most likely to occur. The benefits are obvious, as they can save a structure, people, products and companies in the building. Essentially, they extend the survival time of the facility by 3-4 hours, allowing the facility’s occupants more time to evacuate and allowing the firefighting team on site more time to successfully extinguish the flames.

Fire partitions are a type of passive fire protection and are generally required by building codes in high-risk areas within a given building. They can be made of concrete, gypsum, cinder block, or even wood. Fire partitions act as a divider between areas that have the potential to cause a fire, designated as “high hazards”, and areas that are less likely to start a fire, known as “low hazards”. A common misconception is that fire partitions will actually contain the fire. What they really do is slow down the spread of flames by containing it initially to the area of compromise. Now, there are other types of fire barriers available to contain the spread without compromising specific parts of the building on a case-by-case basis.

Smoke barriers are intended to be made from a fire resistant material such as plaster, concrete, steel panels or even a plaster lined ceiling. A smoke barrier is commonly used in an office building where it separates an area where the offices are located from the area where people sleep. By doing this, we prevent the spread of smoke as a result of a fire into the living areas and make it safer for us to escape in case of such an emergency.

Fire barrier

With fire enclosures in place throughout your building, you can rest assured that your business is prepared for the worst. After all, there’s nothing worse than thinking you’re safe… only to discover that the fire has spread to other parts of the building.

fire rated enclosures

Fire safety zones: Fire safety zones are the divisions of a building based on the fire resistance rating of the walls, floors, and ceilings. The main purpose of fire safety zones is to delay the spread of fire in order to allow building occupants enough time to evacuate the structure safely.

Fire safety zones are established by your local governing agencies such as the Department of Buildings or Fire Department. It is their responsibility to ensure that buildings meet their specific requirements for fire safety. These requirements include using materials with appropriate fire resistance ratings for each zone as well as other factors such as sprinkler systems and smoke detectors.

So What’s the Cost?

Costs vary depending on the size of the building and whether or not it currently has fire compartments. For example, if you already have fire compartments but they need to be upgraded, then the cost will be less than if you’re starting from scratch. The installation of fire compartments in buildings is a necessity for safety, which can sometimes cause a financial burden for owners.

The cost to install fire compartments in an Australian building can vary depending on the size of the building. The factors that determine the cost include:

-The type of compartmentalization you desire.

-The materials with which you choose to cover your compartments.

-The dimensions of your building.

-How much space you wish to allocate for the installation of your compartments.

Fire compartments are an essential part of a building in Australia. They are required by the National Construction Code and Building Code of Australia.

In addition to being required by law, fire compartments has many benefits. They reduce the spread of fire in a building, which can help save lives.

Your Legal Responsibilities

Fire compartmentation is a building method that helps contain or reduce the spread of fire by compartmentalizing each level of a building into smaller spaces. By isolating these spaces, they prevent fires from spreading as quickly as they would otherwise.

In Australia, building owners are required to comply with the National Construction Code (NCC) when installing fire compartmentation in their business premises. The NCC is a uniform set of technical provisions for the design and construction of buildings throughout Australia. It sets out minimum standards for fire safety, as well as other health and amenity requirements such as acoustics, access and egress.

The NCC is jointly administered by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) and State and Territory governments. The ABCB oversees national consistency in the development and implementation of the NCC while State and Territory governments are responsible for adopting, administering and enforcing the NCC within their jurisdiction.

Australian fire standards and codes mandating fire compartmentation:

AS 4072.1-2005Components for the protection of openings in fire-resistant separating elements, Part 1: Service penetrations and control joints
AS 1668.1-1998 – “The use of ventilation and air conditioning in buildings” (AS 1668.1)
AS 1851-2005 “Routine service of fire protection systems and equipment” (AS 1851)
BCA Volume One Part C – “Fire Hazard Properties of Building Materials”
AS ISO 15287:2003 Building construction – Fire resistance tests – Full-scale room test
AS 1530.4-2005 Methods for fire tests on building materials, components and structures – Fire resistance tests of elements of construction (other than those associated with glazing)

Fire compartmentation is an important requirement by law. In addition to legal regulations, fire compartmentation has many benefits. It reduces the spread of fire in a building and can save lives, which should be incentive enough for property owners to comply with the Australian regulations.

Got any questions, regarding this article? Please contact our passive fire protection specialists at Complete Fire and Pumps.

Yours In Fire Safety


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