What the heck is mezzanine floor fire protection and why is it necessary?
So called ‘fire protection’ is effectively insulation of the mezzanine floorboards steelwork to prevent it from heating up quickly in a hearth. Unprotected steelwork heats up quickly and can suddenly collapse. Flame protection is specified for a certain period of time such as ‘half hour’, ‘1 hour’, ‘2 hour’ or ‘4 hour’. The time period refers to the time that the protected elements remain conceptually sound in the event of a fire. The fire protection required for different parts of constructions is specified within the Building Regulations part B.
Flames protecting building elements in accordance with the regulations is a statutory requirement, protecting lives and property and enabling the fireplace brigade to assess how long they can safely fight a fire in advance of a risk of collapse.
Providing fire protection to panier floors is also referred to as ‘fire rating’ them, and a mezzanine floor fitted with fire protection may be referred to as ‘fire rated’.
Do mezzanine floors always need to be fire protected?
The advantages of fire protection depends upon the use, size and extent of your mezzanine floor. Mezzanine flooring that is less than 10m times 10m in size, and occupying less than 50% of the area of the building in which it is located and which is not permanently hectic and infrequently accessed (used for storage) does not need to be fire-rated.
Mezzanine flooring that is less than 20m x 20m sized, and occupying less than 50% of the area of the building the it is located and which is not permanently occupied and infrequently reached (used for storage) does not need to be fire rated as long as it is actually fitted with an appropriate fire detection and alarm system.
Any panier floors that are permanently occupied regardless of size will need to often be fire protected such as office areas, assembly and creation, packing, canteen space or areas such as retail room or space with public access. Also mezzanines larger than 10m a 10m without an appropriate fire detection and alarm system, most of mezzanines larger than 20m x 20m and all mezzanines whose size exceeds 50% of the area within which they live. It can be seen that only in the smallest storage applications might fire protection be omitted.
How is most mezzanine decking fire protected?
The most common means of fire protecting mezzanine floorings is through the use of four key elements of insulation, column terme conseillé, a suspended ceiling, bulkheads/fascias and cavity barriers. Consequently of fire protecting mezzanine floors is used because of its speed with installation and low cost.
Column casings comprise a not one but two part sheet metal case lined with ‘Promalit’ or simply similar board bonded to the inside of the casing. The bed sheet metal case usually has a galvanized or white ‘plastisol’ finish to suit the application, but can be stainless steel or woman ‘plastisol’, and the two parts have an unobtrusive locking joints enabling them to be quickly and neatly fitted with one or two taps from a rubber mallet.