Fire protection for insulated connections

Building Products Index Ltd Insulated connections Leave a Comment

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The tragic events at Grenfell Tower have understandably focused many minds on the complex issue of fire protection. The many different elements and products used in buildings will undoubtedly come under greater scrutiny and this includes the insulated connections for balconies and walkways.

Halfen 1In residential and commercial buildings, walkways can be used as a means of escape. It is therefore vital that the thermal connections continue to provide structural support during a fire.  All Halfen HIT insulated connections are suitable for use as a fire break and have a two hour (REI 120) fire rating.  It is important to note that this fire resistance is not an optional extra; you do not have to remember to include it in your order or specification. Fire protection comes as standard with every HIT unit, at no extra cost.

Halfen 2The significance of the REI 120 rating

R = The structural integrity of the connection is ensured for the specified duration
E  = The connection will act as a fire barrier for the specified period
I = The thermal insulating property of the connection is ensured for the specified duration
120 = The properties above are ensured for 120 minutes of fire exposure in compliance with the standard time/temperature curve.

Traditional forms of insulated connections used cementitious fire boards in order to achieve a fire rating. This method however has a number of draw backs as listed below :-

Halfen HIT

Halfen HIT

Traditional fire board

Traditional fire board

  • The fire rating would often be limited to only 90 minutes.
  • The boards compromise the thermal performance of the insulated connections.
  • The fire boards are fragile and easily damaged on site leading to the fire protection being compromised or the need to carry out difficult repairs
  • The fire boards were always treated as an optional extra, leading to the danger of installing unprotected insulated connections.

With Halfen HIT products there is no compromise on materials, therefore HIT units only uses A1 rated non-combustible mineral  wool (rated into accordance with DIN EN 13501). This not only ensures the HIT product has the REI 120 fire rating but it also overcomes all of the above problems associated with traditional thermal breaks.

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