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So, I thought for this blog, I would do a little bit of research into how long passive fire protection has been used and I was very surprised. I guess I thought it would be something that had been around for the last 150 years maybe, but “The Act for rebuilding the City of London” was passed in 1667, some 356 years ago! This was to ensure that all new buildings were to be constructed from non-combustible materials such as brick and stone as a passive fire method, and that there should be a maximum of storeys per house to eliminate overcrowding, again, we learnt from a disaster.

It was after a great fire in Edinburgh in 1824 that they got strict urban planning laws for new build properties that meant passive fire protection had to be a lead consideration. This was an excellent start and thankfully, there have been many updates to worldwide legislation and testing that makes the fitting and inspection of passive fire protection materials compulsory.

In 1821 Joseph Louis Grey-Lussac discovered the ammonium phosphates and borax were capable of making textiles flame retardant and around that time discovery and invention in the fire proofing industry was gaining momentum. In 1904 in the USA Charles Dahlstrom invented the “Fireproof Door” and by the 1970’s sealants and wraps were being used after the need arose from the Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant disaster, when at that time urethane foams were used as a fire stop.

One of the most commonly known fire proof materials is Asbestos, Greek sources mention its use around 400BC it being used in pots to give better resistance to the fires they were used on. The technique of melting the rock and making it into a fibre was at its peak in the 1950’s but there is documentation of this being done by the American Indians from way back in 1724. Of course, we’re now very aware that this can cause huge health problems and by the 1970’s work was done on finding replacement materials.

Ceramic fibre had been invented in the early 1940’s in America and was known to be much safer for human use than Asbestos, and was seen as its replacement in many applications. This has now been superseded by the use of bio-dispersant fibres such as Superwool which are proven to be safer again.

The use of intumescents is one of the key materials in building protection, from pipe collars,to door seals it is such a versatile material that is constantly being developed, from its use in the composite industry to textiles and


Passive fire protection is an industry that is constantly evolving along side the companies it’s involved with, from construction, to marine, to aerospace, wherever there is a chance of fire, this innovative industry will be there, developing products to protect lives, quietly, efficiently and professionally.

So, I was wondering how much folks think about passive fire protection in their day-to-day lives. I guess if it’s doing its job, it’s something that we don’t need to worry about, knowing that the correct products have been used and installed correctly. I think I’m a bit of a geek, whenever I’m in a public building I always look at fire door seals and make sure they’re there and installed properly, it drives my daughter mad! The thing is, it’s so important that when I’ve seen issues in buildings, I’m compelled to inform someone as the thought of there being a fire and the people in the building aren’t properly protected haunts me. It’s easy to check things like intumescent door seals being installed and intact and looking at the intumescent paint on the beams on an underground car park, but in normal circumstances, things like intumescent collars and penetration seals are hidden away and so we rely on building inspectors checking them and making sure they’re compliant, not just when a building is being built but on a regular basis.

Also, there is the consideration that as with all industries, there can be differences in quality. Obviously, we can guarantee the products that we manufacture such as the ceramic glazing tape, intumescent tapes, and black fire-rated tapes, but we also make sure that any products that we distribute such as the Lorient seals and Superwool blankets are fully tested and compliant. We’re always on hand for advice as to which products are best to use and this will also give me the chance to be a geek and talk passive fire protection!

Stay safe – Niky.

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Updated: Jan 20, 2022

The answer to that question in short is obviously to save lives and property, and in recent times, fire protection has hit the headlines with all of the media coverage of the Grenfell disaster. When people asked what I did for a living and I explained that we manufacture and supply passive fire protection products, they looked at me a bit blank, not knowing how to carry on the conversation, but now people seem to understand more about what we do.

Passive fire protection is everywhere, silently doing its job, hoping that it will never have to come into use. From the intumescent strips hidden within doors and the collars around pipes that carry services and wires from one level of a building to another, to the fact that humble plasterboard is 30 minutes fire rated so that there is some level of protection.

I guess most people who go in and out of public buildings and workplaces if asked would expect that there would be fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems alarms, and smoke detectors all around them to keep them safe, but not as many would give thought to the passive fire protection that had been cleverly designed into a modern building or retrofitted into a historic building.

It’s there in your homes, the fire retardant materials used in your mattresses and sofas, your loft insulation is most likely to made from glass fibers and therefore is non-combustible and all three-story buildings must have fire doors installed by law.

Passive fire protection is used in all public transport, with testing methods unique to where the protection will be placed, there are many testing houses or centers with slightly different testing methods and standards that are recognized in different countries, which makes the subject a little more confusing for someone trying to decide which is the best materials to use, but whenever you are fitting passive fire protection, the most important thing is to refer to what has been specified by an architect or a fire officer.

When potential customers contact us, we always make sure that they are confident that they are installing the correct material for the application. If they’re unsure or need advice we’re very happy to help or provide them with the information required to install the correct products and in over 30 years we’ve helped many people, after all, the reason that passive fire protection is so important is that it saves lives.

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