Sheida Esfandiari | Marketing Assistant
A Guide To Cavity Barriers In Buildings
By Sheida Esfandiari
What are cavity barriers?
They’re intumescent substances that are used to seal voids and cavities inside of buildings. This is a very important process, as it helps prevent the movement of fire within the cavity. If there were no barriers, than the fire would be able to spread much more easily. As it stands, the cavity barriers will help slow the spread of both fire and smoke, making the building more secure. They should be mechanically installed into position during construction, ideally at a joint between itself and a piece of assembly; sheeting, tiles, slates, or even cement.
With the barrier in place, the fire is blocked and has a much more difficult time spreading through the building. Unfortunately, many buildings have not been constructed with up to standard fire protection. A lot of timber frame properties are completely missing cavity barriers. These barriers are most often found in spacing around structural beams, in voids located in the ceiling, or directly beneath the tiling of the floor space.
They function by closing up spaces in a cavity. This process occurs because the materials that are used in a cavity barrier expand when they’re exposed to high volumes of heat. The material used is also fire retardant, helping prevent more fuel from being added to the blaze. The expansion of these barriers are sometimes enough to slow down a fire and prevent it from spreading in enough time that those inside the building can evacuate.
Installing cavity barriers inside of a wall, floor, ceiling, and even the roof is integral to preventing flames from traveling. Cavity barriers are made from fire resistant materials, which allows for the fire compartmentalization during a blaze. Cavity barriers must have a 15 minimum insulation and a 30 minimum integrity to meet the standards of most companies. Even ceiling voids should have cavity barriers within them to help curb the spread of smoke.
The installation of a cavity barrier must take into account the fact that buildings shift as they age, or else the barrier won’t be effective. Both horizontal and vertical cavity barriers are needed. These barriers are meant to be placed during the original construction of the building. If an older building is being evaluated and it’s found to have an absence of cavity barriers, these barriers must be installed before it’s safe for humans to be inside of the closed space.
Before trying to install a cavity barrier into an older home, you must make certain that you’re in compliance with the Building Regulations, and with other guidelines associated with the work. Hiring a professional company for the job is an absolute must. Once it’s installed, the cavity barrier choices must be assessed and approved by a certified fire engineer.
When it comes to preventing the spread of fires, professional help is an absolute requirement. The installation of cavity barriers, both during construction of new homes or after purchasing old homes, is an absolute must.
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