The term “fire protection” is actually insulation of the mezzanine floors Brisbane steelwork, to prevent it from rapidly heating during a fire. Steelwork that is unprotected heats up rapidly and may collapse suddenly. The protection against fire is defined for a specified amount of time, such as half hour, 1 hour’, 2 hours or ‘4 hours’. You can get more information from this blog, the duration of time refers to the period during which the elements protected remain safe in the situation of a fire. The required fire protection for different areas of buildings is defined in Part B. of the Building Regulations part B.

Building elements that are protected from fire according to these regulations constitutes a legal obligation, ensuring the safety of life and property as well as enabling the fire brigade to evaluate the amount of time they have to combat a fire without the risk of collapse.

Offering protection against fire to mezzanine floors can also be known as “fire rating” them, and a mezzanine floor that is fitted with protection against fire could be described as “fire rated”.

Are mezzanine floors ever have to be protected from fire?

The requirement to protect against fire is contingent on the purpose size, dimensions and size of mezzanine flooring. Mezzanine flooring less than 10m x10m in size and that occupies just less than 50 percent of the space of the building where it is situated and is not occupied continuously and is rarely accessed (used as storage) is not required to be rated for fire.

Mezzanine flooring less than 20m x20m in size and occupies under 50% of the surface of the building within which it is situated and that is not occupied continuously and is rarely accessed (used to store items) does not have to be rated for fire in the event that it is equipped with an adequate fire alarm and detection system.

All mezzanine floors continuously occupied, regardless of their size, must be protected , including office spaces manufacturing, assembly, packaging, canteen spaces or even retail spaces that have public access. Mezzanines that are larger than 10mx10m do not have a suitable fire detection and alarm systems, mezzanines bigger than 20mx20m and any mezzanines that exceed 50percent of the space in which they are situated. It is apparent that only within the smallest storage facilities is fire protection possible to be left out.

How is most mezzanine flooring fire protected?

The most popular method for mezzanine floors to be protected from fire is by using four essential elements of insulation: column casings, suspended ceiling as well as bulkheads/fascias, and cavity barriers. This method of securing fire-proofing mezzanine floors is employed due to its ease of installation and cost.

Column casings consist of two pieces of sheet metal case that is lined with ‘Promalit’, or similar board that is bonded to the interior of the casing. The sheet metal casing typically is white or galvanized with a “plastisol” finish that is suitable for the requirements, but it could be stainless steel or colored “plastisol”, and both parts feature an unobtrusive locking seam , allowing them to be swiftly and easily fitted using just a couple of taps with an instrument made of rubber.

Suspended ceilings consist of wires hanging vertically using clips that are attached to secondary beams of the mezzanine support lengths of ceiling runners. The runners attach to each other and are joined with the help of ceiling runners to form an enveloping ceiling. Minaboard tiles then are inserted to create the grid. The grid is typically and economically built around 1200mm x600mm ceiling tiles. However, by adding additional intermediary 600mm runners for ceilings 600mm by 600mm tiles could be utilized. The tiles used need to be certified to offer the required fire protection when placed in the grid underneath the mezzanine floor. This restricts the choice of finishes and tiles.

Fascias, also known as bulkheads, (vertical barriers that block off ceiling cavity walls to reveal edges at mezzanine floor edges, or gaps) can be constructed by making the framework using galvanized sections and then covering the framework with a plasterboard to achieve the required level of fire protection accordance with the specifications of the manufacturer.

Cavity barriers are horizontal barriers inside the ceiling void, constructed using mineral wool insulation to divide the void into compartments according to the Building Regulations in order to stop flames or smoke from traveling through the ceiling of the void.

Alternative methods of fire to protect mezzanine floors

Sometimes, aesthetic or other reasons like positive pressure fire extinguishing systems can hinder the installation of suspended ceilings. Alternatives are taped, joined and decorated plasterboard ceilings that are mounted on steel furring (MF) ceiling framework, and similarly boxed in columns , which provide smooth finishes or intumescent paint of beams and columns hot rolled.

Certification

Every component of fire protection needs to be certified to give the level of protection required in the context in which they are employed. For instance, it’s not permitted to install any existing suspended ceiling above mezzanine flooring ceiling tile; and also the grid system has to be certified specifically offering the necessary degree of protection for mezzanine type steel joist construction, which greatly limits the selection of manufacturers to supply the appropriate product.

By Amy

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