Compartmentation in Apartment Blocks
Last week we looked at the fire alarm system within the apartment block and now we will look at compartmentation within an apartment complex. Safety in Apartments
Starting with the apartment door, this must be a fire door set, which includes the door, frame and ironmongery, the condition of the door itself is very important. It must be free from damage and capable of opening and closing quiet freely. The door must have a self-closure unit fitted and adjusted properly. The door frame must have an intumescent and smoke seal fitted within the grove that has been cut out for it. You must not paint over the seal or hold it in place with pins. The door must be fitted evenly within the frame, a gap of approximately 3mm is recommended. The reason for having a fire door as an entrance door to the apartment is, in the event of a fire breaking out within the apartment the fire needs to be contained within the apartment for a given period of time. This will prevent the stairway becoming unusable or smoke logged.
Within the apartment there are waste pipes and ventilation pipes penetrating the apartment wall, ceiling and floor. These pipes must have fire collars fitted and sealed around all openings where services pass through. The reason for this is to prevent smoke or fire passing through the openings to another area. Each ceiling must have a fire rating of either sixty minutes fire resistance or thirty minutes fire resistance.
Each individual apartment must be capable of being its own compartment, this is achieved by means of compartment walls, floors and ceiling. The reason for this is so that in the event of a fire, the fire will be contained until the fire service arrive.
The common area within each apartment block is another compartment. The stairway enclosure must be a protected stairway enclosure. This is normally achieved by solid block walls enclosing the stairway with a concrete ceiling overhead.
Within the attic area there should be a wall separating each attic space over the top floor apartment. This wall must also be a compartment wall taken up to meet the underneath of the roof covering. In this type of wall there must be what is known as a fire curtain installed up the wall and across the underneath of the roof for 1.5meters. In some cases there will be a different type of system used, this wall will penetrate the roof which you will see from the outside. These compartment walls are designed to prevent fire passing from one apartment block to another.
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