This blog was commissioned by Onetrace App ↗️

In September 2020, five of the leading not-for-profit organisations in the fire protection industry pooled their resources and knowledge to develop the ‘Firestopping of Service Penetrations’ guide. The goal is to key stakeholders in construction to think about fire stopping at the design stages, rather than an afterthought, to avoid the typical problems that arise later on in a construction project’s life cycle regarding fire protection. Hopefully in time, architects, consultants, manufacturers, installers, contractors, site managers, inspectors, insurers, and even clients will automatically think of fire stopping in their processes, from design to completion. 

The Firestopping of Service Penetrations guide is not a manual but a best practice guideline, developed through the collaborative work of the Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP), Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA), Finishes and Interiors Sector (FIS) and the Gypsum Products Development Association (GPDA). This information-packed guide can enable the delivery of proper installation of service penetrations in buildings to eliminate the spread of a fire because of inappropriate or poorly installed service penetrations. 

These ideas and methods are not unknown to the construction industry, but are rarely involved in the initial stages of a project, which can lead to setbacks and cost overruns long term. To eliminate the stress while ensuring more fire safe buildings, the guide follows the seven-stage framework defined by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Plan of Work, which is “the definitive model for the design and construction process of buildings” as stated on their website

On 12th February 2021, ASFP reported RIBA has approved the Firestopping of Service Penetrations best practice guide, and essentially rubber stamped it for use throughout the construction industry. This approval gives the construction industry the confidence that the information in this guide is reliable and trustworthy. Having fire protection strategies at the initial planning and project strategy phases is massively beneficial and results in the highest satisfaction level for the contractors, architects, installers and the client. 

What are the Golden Rules and why are they important? 

Here are the nine golden rules laid out in the Firestopping of Service Penetrations best practice guide, setting out the process from engagement with the manufacturers to the inspection of penetration seals. Always remember to refer to the Firestopping of Service Penetrations guide to ensure you have the most recent edition. Onetrace is not obligated to update the following if the original collaborators have changed it. 

GOLDEN RULE 1: Ensure an early engagement with firestopping manufacturers and specialist installers

GOLDEN RULE 2: Review the fire strategy documents and fire strategy plans in conjunction with the M&E specifications

GOLDEN RULE 3: Identify all of the service types passing through the compartment floor or wall including any insulation products. Establish the space required to install and firestop the services.

GOLDEN RULE 4: Follow the ‘Design process for penetration seals’.

GOLDEN RULE 5: Only select firestopping products which are third party certified by a UKAS accredited organisation. Firestopping products should be certified or CE marked and tested using the relevant standards.

GOLDEN RULE 6: Ideally select one firestopping manufacturer throughout the project. Products from different manufacturers should not be mixed in the same opening unless there is clear test evidence to substantiate their use.

GOLDEN RULE 7: Request copies of the third party certification from the manufacturers. These should be reviewed by a suitably qualified person to ensure the certification and field of application is relevant for the situation.

GOLDEN RULE 8: Ensure the installers of ALL service penetration seals are third party certified by an organisation such as FIRAS, LPCB, IFC, BM TRADA etc.

GOLDEN RULE 9: Implement a structured inspection plan to include photographic evidence as the work proceeds.

How does Onetrace fire protection app tie into this guide? 

The most interesting facet of Onetrace is that it covers all the seven stages of the RIBA Plan of Work. From inception to completion, and in the maintenance post-completion, Onetrace is there, helping your team along the way. We designed the fire protection app with compliance in mind, so when used effectively, the work completed is to the standards set by accreditations such as FIRAS and BMTRADA. Onetrace was not just designed to help contractors and fire protection operatives remain complaint… We also designed it to support the RIBA Plan of Work, with each of the stages being supported by the framework in the fire protection app. 

Onetrace is unlike any other app available in the market for this reason, with its internal framework built upon the methodology of both the RIBA Plan of Work and accreditation compliance. This ensures contractors who use Onetrace directly or hire subcontractors or installers who use Onetrace can rest assured that these frameworks are supported with the effective use of the fire stopping app. With this in mind, we always recommend looking for contractors or fire protection installers who use Onetrace. 

Ready to learn more about our fire protection app? 

When you’re ready to learn how Onetrace can support your organisation, simply get in touch or request a demo. If you’re not ready to commit, that’s okay – you can try Onetrace completely free for 14 days with zero obligation or commitment.