Installation and Fixing Methods
Since the suitability of materials to contribute to compartmentation or fire separation is measured under testing, the installation of such elements would be specific of the tested system. Therefore, installation methods may differ upon the element being installed. For this reason it is important that competent people undertake the installation of any form of passive fire protection. A way to assure competency of installers is to use third party certificated installers.
Fixings for Fire Resistant Ductwork
The ability of any fire resistant system to perform its intended function is governed by its ability to maintain integrity for the required fire rated period. A factor often overlooked by many suppliers and installers of fire resistant systems, is the reliability of the fixing which supports their installation.
All fixings employed should be supported by manufacturers recommended load data in the relevant fire condition, for the substrate and fire exposure period in question. It should be noted that each type of substrate can have various properties which also need to be considered. For example, concrete can be poured in various densities, be at different stages of curing, and be either 'cracked' or 'un-cracked'. Similarly, blockwork can be supplied in many different types, materials, and densities. The manufacturer's published recommended load should be equal to, or greater than, the load imposed on the anchor in fire condition.
Installers should be able to demonstrate that the load imposed on the fixing has been considered during the anchor selection process, along with the bearing capability of every other element of the support system.
Suitability of fixings should ideally be demonstrated by an ETA (European Technical Assessment) for the substrate encountered. If this is not possible then the fixing manufacturers should be consulted, and on-site testing of the fixings should be considered to demonstrate suitability. Proof testing is not a requirement for anchors with a suitable ETA.
After selection of a suitable fixing, it is imperative that the manufacturer's installation instructions are followed and that the fixings are installed by suitably trained and competent operatives, using the correct tools.