Architects and contractors today have a focus of protecting a building from fire and smoke during the design and construction phases. The goal is to create a building that will reduce the spread of fire and smoke during an emergency so that those inside the building can reach safety. When it comes to high rise buildings, there are generally two types of protection from fire, active and passive. Each option works in its own way to provide protection for the building which in turn, protects that inside.
With active fire compartmentation for commercial buildings, the building will have fire extinguishers handy, sprinkler systems that turn on automatically, standpipes and other proactive measures. With passive protection, the construction of the building includes fire resistance so that the transfer of heat or smoke from one area to another is limited.
Several elements should be considered to provide an overall safer environment in a high rise building. With structural fire protection, the building will be defended most in the areas that provide the structural components. This can include joint system areas. Fireproofing materials are used along with the structural materials to ensure the building is better protected in the case of a fire.
Smoke barriers are installed via fire protected doors and windows. Not only can the special windows and doors protect the building from smoke transfer but it can also help to keep a fire at bay. Materials used for fire barriers will help to stop the fire from spreading.
Containing the Fire with Passive Protection
With passive fire protection, the goal is to contain the fire and smoke zone. Protective measures are in place to defend the structure by stopping the spread of fire and smoke. This type of protection will be invisible to those inside but is significant in saving lives during a fire. Vertical openings such as shafts are used to stop the spread of fire. Passive protection measures also work well to prevent the collapse of a building by protecting the structural components.
As part of commercial building design, passive four hour fire wall construction is a must. Wall assemblies are heavily considered when reviewing the design of a high-rise building. The assemblies must be tested and evaluated for fire resistance. This helps to ensure a building will be safe during an actual fire.
Whether you are planning a high-rise construction or have recently purchased a building, understanding the fire safety protocols and measures in place will not only ensure the integrity of your building but also save lives.