Fire Barriers and Partitions, Types of fire barriers and partitions

Fire barriers and partitions speak to types of fire barriers and partitions and what are fire barriers and partitions.

The fact that fire rated walls are also used to restrict the spread of fire and smoke within a single building. Depending on the type of separation, the International Building Code requires such walls to be constructed as either fire barriers or partitions.

Firewalls can be used to subdivide a building into separate fire areas and are located in accordance with the locally applicable building code. Firewalls are a portion of a building's passive fire protection systems.

Firewalls can be used to separate high value transformers at an electrical substation   in the event of a mineral oil tank rupture and ignition. The firewall serves as a fire containment wall between one oil-filled transformer and other neighboring transformers, building structures, and site equipment.

There are three main classifications of fire wall: firewalls, fire barrier walls, and high challenge firewalls. To the layperson, the common use of language typically includes all three when referring to a firewall unless distinguishing between them is necessary.

A firewall is a wall separating transformers, structures, or buildings or a wall subdividing a building to prevent the spread of fire and having a fire resistance rating and independent structural stability.

A fire barrier wall, also referred to as a fire partition, is a fire rated wall assembly which is not a fire wall. Typically, the main difference is that a fire barrier wall is not structurally self-sufficient, and does not extend through the roof, or necessarily to the underside of the floor above.

Unlike fire walls, these wall types do not necessarily extend from the foundation to the roof. A fire barrier must extend from foundation to roof. A fir barrier must extend vertically from the top of one floor slab to the underside of the next.

Requirements for a fire partition are even less stringent. In some cases, a fire partition may terminate at the underside of a suspended ceiling. Fire barriers are used to protect exit stair enclosures, to separate different occupancies, and to limit the extent of fire areas which are areas bounded by fire resistant construction, the size and location within the building of which are related to automatic sprinkler requirements.

Fire partitions are used to enclose corridors and to separate tenant spaces in mall buildings or dwelling units in hotels, dormitories and other multi dwelling unit buildings.

Openings in fire barriers and fire partitions are restricted in size and must be closed with fire doors or fire rated glass. Required fire resistance ratings for the various types of fire barriers and partitions according to the International Building Code are available and may be located online.

The structural elements that support fire barriers and fire partitions must have a fire resistance rating at least as great as that of the wall being supported. For example, in a building of Type IIB construction, the structure is normally permitted to be unprotected.

However, columns, bearing walls and portion of the floor structure that support a one hour rated corridor wall must themselves also be protected also be protected with at least one hour fire resistant rating.

 


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