How to Become a Firestopper?

The role of a firestopper is crucial in ensuring building safety and preventing the spread of fires. This article will guide you through the steps for how to become a firestopper, highlighting the necessary skills, education, certifications, and career opportunities in this essential field.

How to Become a Firestopper
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    What Does A Firestopper Do?

    A firestopper is a professional who specialises in installing firestop systems to prevent the spread of fire, smoke, and heat through openings in walls, floors, and ceilings. They ensure that these systems are properly installed in various buildings, adhering to safety codes and regulations. The primary responsibilities include sealing gaps and penetrations, inspecting existing firestopping measures, and maintaining the integrity of fire-resistant barriers.

    How Does Firestopping Contribute To Safety?

    Firestopping plays a vital role in fire safety by containing fires to their point of origin. By sealing openings and penetrations, firestoppers help prevent the spread of flames and toxic smoke, giving occupants more time to evacuate and reducing the potential for property damage. This containment is crucial for the safety of both people and buildings, as it helps to minimise the impact of fires and improves overall fire safety measures.

    What Technical Skills Are Necessary For A Firestopper?

    Firestoppers need a robust set of technical skills to perform their duties effectively. These include:

    • Understanding Building Construction: Knowledge of how buildings are constructed and the materials used.
    • Reading Blueprints: Ability to interpret architectural and engineering drawings.
    • Firestopping Techniques: Proficiency in using fire-resistant materials and applying them correctly.
    • Compliance: Familiarity with fire safety codes and regulations to ensure all work meets legal standards.

    What Soft Skills Are Beneficial For A Firestopper?

    In addition to technical skills, firestoppers benefit from a range of soft skills, such as:

    • Attention to Detail: Ensuring that all gaps and penetrations are sealed properly.
    • Problem-Solving: Addressing and resolving issues that arise during installations.
    • Communication: Effectively communicating with team members, contractors, and inspectors.
    • Time Management: Completing tasks efficiently and within deadlines.

    What Education Is Needed To Become A Firestopper?

    To start a career as a firestopper, a high school diploma or equivalent is typically required. Relevant coursework in construction, mathematics, and physical sciences can be beneficial. Some positions may prefer candidates with post-secondary education in fire science, construction management, or related fields, which provide a deeper understanding of building safety and fire prevention.

    What Certifications Are Required For Firestoppers?

    Certifications are crucial for firestoppers to demonstrate their expertise and commitment to safety. Key certifications and qualifications include:

    • International Firestop Council (IFC) Certification: Recognised globally, this certification validates a firestopper’s knowledge and skills.
    • Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Certification: Ensures proficiency in firestop systems and compliance with safety standards.
    • NVQ Level 2 Diploma in Passive Fire Protection: A UK-specific qualification that covers the skills and knowledge needed for installing and maintaining passive fire protection systems.
    • NVQ Level 2 Diploma in Associated Industrial Services Occupations – Passive Fire Protection (QCF): Another UK qualification focusing on passive fire protection, providing a comprehensive understanding of the installation and maintenance processes.
    • Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) Card: Required for most construction sites in the UK, this card demonstrates that the holder has the necessary training and qualifications to work safely on site.
    • Additional UK Qualifications: There are various other certifications and courses available in the UK that focus on passive fire protection and firestopping, which can further enhance a firestopper’s qualifications and career prospects. These include specialised training programs offered by firestop product manufacturers and professional bodies.

    Where Can You Get Firestopper Training?

    Training programs for firestoppers are available through vocational schools, community colleges, and professional organisations. Many firestop manufacturers offer specialised training on their products. Apprenticeship programs, where trainees work under experienced professionals, provide hands-on experience and are highly beneficial for gaining practical skills.

    How Can You Gain Hands-On Experience As A Firestopper?

    Hands-on experience is essential for becoming a proficient firestopper. This experience can be gained through:

    • Apprenticeships: Working alongside experienced firestoppers to learn practical skills and techniques.
    • Internships: Participating in internships with construction companies or fire protection services.
    • Entry-Level Positions: Starting in entry-level roles and gradually taking on more complex tasks.

    How Much Do Firestoppers Earn Per Hour?

    Firestoppers in the UK typically earn approximately £15-£20 per hour. However, this rate can vary based on factors such as location, experience, and the specific employer.

    For self-employed firestoppers, the current average day rate offered in forums and Facebook groups is around £200 per day. This can be an attractive option for those who prefer the flexibility of self-employment.

    Being employed as a firestopper might come with a different hourly rate but also includes additional benefits such as:

    • Annual Leave: Paid time off for holidays and personal days.
    • Sick Leave: Compensation during illness.
    • Pension Contributions: Employer contributions to a retirement savings plan.
    • Job Security: More stable employment with a regular income.
    • Training Opportunities: Access to employer-sponsored training and professional development.

    Why Is Knowledge Of Building Codes Important For Firestoppers?

    Knowledge of building codes is crucial for firestoppers to ensure that their work complies with safety regulations. Building codes specify the standards for construction and fire safety, and adherence to these codes is necessary to avoid legal issues and ensure the effectiveness of firestopping measures.

    What Are The Key Regulations A Firestopper Must Know?

    Firestoppers in the UK must be familiar with several key regulations, including:

    • Building Regulations Approved Document B: This document outlines the fire safety requirements for building work in England, including the use of fire-resistant materials and the implementation of firestopping measures to prevent the spread of fire and smoke.
    • BS 476 – Fire Tests on Building Materials and Structures: This British Standard provides methods for testing the fire resistance of various building materials and structures, ensuring they meet the necessary safety standards.
    • BS EN 1366 – Fire Resistance Tests for Service Installations: This European Standard specifies the testing methods for assessing the fire resistance of service installations, including ducts, pipes, and cable systems, which are critical for effective firestopping.
    • BS 9999 – Code of Practice for Fire Safety in the Design, Management and Use of Buildings: This standard offers comprehensive guidance on fire safety design and management, including the use of firestopping systems to enhance the overall fire protection strategy of buildings.
    • Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM) 2015: These regulations focus on health and safety in the construction industry, including the requirement for proper planning and implementation of fire safety measures, such as firestopping, during the design and construction phases.
    • The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005: This legislation requires that all fire safety precautions, including firestopping, are maintained to ensure the safety of building occupants. It places responsibility on building owners and operators to conduct regular fire risk assessments and maintain fire safety measures.

    What Tools Do You Need For Firestopping?

    Firestoppers use a variety of tools to ensure proper installation of firestopping materials. Essential tools include:

    • Caulking Guns: Used for applying sealants and firestopping caulks to gaps, joints, and penetrations. Caulking guns ensure a controlled and even application of the sealant.
    • Putty Knives: These tools are essential for spreading fire-resistant putties and ensuring they are properly applied to seal openings.
    • Measuring Devices: Accurate measurements are crucial for effective firestopping. Tools such as tape measures and laser distance measurers help ensure precise application of materials.
    • Drills and Saws: Used for preparing surfaces and creating openings in walls, floors, and ceilings for the installation of firestopping materials. These tools must be used with care to avoid damaging existing fire protection systems.
    • Inspection Mirrors and Cameras: These tools help inspect hard-to-reach areas to ensure that firestopping installations are complete and correctly applied.
    • Cleaning Tools: Brushes, vacuums, and other cleaning tools are necessary to prepare surfaces by removing dust, debris, and other contaminants before applying firestopping materials.

    Where Can You Find Job Opportunities As A Firestopper?

    Job opportunities for firestoppers can be found in various sectors, including:

    • Construction Companies: Working on new building projects.
    • Fire Protection Firms: Providing specialised firestopping services.
    • Building Maintenance Services: Ensuring existing buildings meet fire safety standards.
    • Online Job Boards: Websites like Indeed, LinkedIn, and industry-specific job boards.
    • Facebook Groups: There are a number of facebook groups with job opportunities being offered daily.

    What Are Potential Career Paths For Firestoppers?

    Career paths for firestoppers can lead to various specialised or advanced roles, such as:

    • Firestop Technician: Focusing on the installation and maintenance of firestop systems.
    • Firestop Inspector: Conducting inspections to ensure compliance with safety standards.
    • Fire Protection Engineer: Designing and implementing fire safety measures.
    • Supervisory Roles: Leading teams of firestoppers or managing fire safety projects.

    What Professional Associations Are Beneficial For Firestoppers?

    Joining professional associations offers numerous benefits, including access to resources, training, and networking opportunities. In the UK, key associations for firestoppers include:

    • British Approvals for Fire Equipment (BAFE): BAFE is an independent registration body for third-party certified fire protection companies across the UK. They provide schemes that cover the competency of fire protection services, including fire extinguishers and fire alarms, ensuring high standards and professional development.
    • Fire Industry Association (FIA): The FIA is the UK’s largest fire protection trade association. It provides extensive training programs, technical support, and networking opportunities. The FIA is instrumental in shaping fire safety policies and standards, making it a valuable resource for firestoppers.
    • Firestop Contractors International Association (FCIA): While primarily an international body, the FCIA offers resources and support for UK-based firestop contractors. It focuses on quality firestopping and the importance of properly installed and maintained firestop systems.
    • FIRAS Certification (Warringtonfire): FIRAS is a third-party certification scheme for installation contractors of both passive and active fire protection systems. It assures that installers are competent and have been regularly audited for compliance with industry standards.
    • The Institute of Fire Safety Managers (IFSM): The IFSM is a professional body for individuals involved in all aspects of fire safety management. Membership offers access to professional development, training opportunities, and a platform to stay updated with the latest fire safety practices.
    • Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP): The ASFP is dedicated to the protection of life, property, and the environment through promoting and advocating the use of effective passive fire protection. It offers training, technical guidance, and networking opportunities to its members.
    • International Fire Consultants Certification (IFCC): IFCC provides third-party certification for products, systems, and installers within the fire protection industry. They offer certification services for firestopping systems and installers, ensuring compliance with UK and international fire safety standards.

    What Are Common Challenges Firestoppers Encounter?

    Firestoppers face several challenges, such as:

    • Working in Confined Spaces: Many firestopping tasks require working in tight, uncomfortable areas.
    • Handling Hazardous Materials: Firestopping materials can be hazardous if not handled correctly.
    • Keeping Up with Regulations: Building codes and regulations frequently change, requiring ongoing education.

    What Technological Advancements Are Impacting Firestopping?

    Technological advancements are continuously improving firestopping practices. Key innovations include:

    • Fire-Resistant Materials: The development of new, more effective firestopping materials has significantly enhanced the safety and durability of firestop systems. Innovations include intumescent sealants, fire-resistant boards, and advanced putties that provide superior performance in preventing the spread of fire and smoke.
    • Automated Inspection Tools: The use of drones and other automated systems for inspecting firestop installations is becoming increasingly common. These tools allow for thorough and efficient inspections, even in hard-to-reach areas, ensuring that all firestopping measures are correctly installed and maintained.
    • Digital Modelling Software: Software like Building Information Modelling (BIM) is revolutionising the way firestop systems are planned and managed. BIM enables detailed digital representations of buildings, allowing for precise planning and coordination of firestopping measures throughout the construction process. This leads to improved accuracy, efficiency, and compliance with fire safety regulations.
    • FireArrest Software: FireArrest is an innovative firestopping software that provides a comprehensive digital recording solution for firestopping works. This app allows firestoppers to record, photograph, and log all firestopping activities in real time. It ensures that all firestop installations are documented with precise details and visual evidence, enhancing accountability and compliance. FireArrest also offers features for scheduling inspections, generating reports, and maintaining an organised record of all firestopping tasks, making it a valuable tool for both installers and inspectors.


    Becoming a firestopper is a rewarding career that offers stability, growth opportunities, and the chance to make a significant impact on public safety. By acquiring the necessary skills, education, and certifications, and staying informed about industry advancements, you can excel in this vital profession.


    The typical salary for a firestopper varies by location, experience, and employer, but generally ranges from £25,000 to £40,000 per year.

    Becoming a firestopper typically takes a few months to a few years, depending on the required education, certifications, and practical experience.

    Yes, firestopping can be physically demanding, particularly at the point of installation as it will involve tasks such as lifting, bending, and working in confined spaces. Inspecting is less physically demanding but will still consist of a lot of walking and the use of ladders. 

    Yes, firestoppers can work internationally, especially if they have certifications recognised in other countries.

    Industries that employ firestoppers include construction, fire protection services, and building maintenance.

    Firestoppers often work in teams, especially on large projects, but may also work independently on smaller tasks.

    Firestoppers stay updated by attending training programs, joining professional associations, and keeping up with industry publications.

    Yes, ongoing education is important to stay current with new materials, technologies, and regulations.

    Firestoppers can advance by gaining additional certifications, taking on supervisory roles, and pursuing further education in fire protection and building safety.