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Composite Panels – The Future of Firewalls

Installing composite panels in a food factory

Firewalls. A crucial part of a building’s internal safety structure and often now a compulsory factor in insurance compliance. This form of passive fire protection enables a potential fire outbreak to be contained to one area until it is discovered or tended to, therefore preventing its spread and causing further damage. This structure complements active fire protection such as alarms and detection systems, which you can read about in a previous blog post.

Traditional firestopping partitions include jumbo stud work, a structure using metal stud and plasterboard, generally offering fire ratings of up to two hours.

What Are Composite Panels?

Composite panels are a construction material consisting of an insulated core sandwiched between two metal or plastic facings. They are now a more favourable choice for construction projects as they can be easily installed, are lightweight and cost less than alternative materials. They also encompass a number of key capabilities including insulation, noise suppression, contamination control and firestopping.

How Are Composite Panels Used in Firewalls?

Composite panels with non-combustible cores such as mineral fibre or mineral wool are capable of containing the spread of fire, for intervals of up to four hours. The fire ratings (30 mins – 4 hours), can be applied to different environment specifications, including high-risk and food-safe spaces, where it is the material in the make-up of the wall that has the ability to withstand fire exposure for a certain period of time.

How Do They Compare to Traditional Firestopping Partitions?

The use of Mineral Fibre composite panelling bears many advantages in comparison to the more traditional firestopping alternatives:

  • A Quicker Installation Time

Unlike other solutions, there is no requirement for wet trades during construction, leading to minimal onsite handling, a more efficient construction time and less disruption to other activities on site.

  • Increased Fire Ratings

Jumbo stud partitioning can traditionally only withstand up to two hours of fire resistance while composite panels can achieve double this.

  • Environmentally Sustainable

With the market-leading brands boasting fully recyclable panels, their sustainability is positively recognised in BREEAM performance assessments.

  • Lightweight and Durable

Easily transported and handled, complete with a clean maintenance-free finish that requires no further modification.

  • Coatings For Different Applications

From a white food-safe to stainless steel for protection against highly corrosive chemicals, their versatility always ensures a safe environment.

  • Futureproofing the Environment

With an efficient construction comes an equally efficient deconstruction should the partition be required in a different area of the premises, therefore still holding value in the future.

  • Highly Certified For Fire Integrity

Rigorous testing has been undertaken on market-leading composite panel systems to ensure guaranteed fire integrity, supported by the achievement of the LPS 1208: Issue 2 certification for materials. However, an assumption can only be made for jumbo stud and block work alternatives. While individual components of this type of structure have been assessed for their firestopping capabilities, once integrated into a complete solution this is often not retested and therefore maximum fire integrity cannot be confirmed.

Stancold have been specialists in installing fire-rated composite panels since 1946, successfully constructing fully fire-rated partitions for a range of industries and applications. We offer a variety of ancillaries that can be seamlessly integrated into the structure, including fire-rated doors and vision panels alongside firestopping products to ensure fire protection against the spread of fire.

For more information on our composite panel systems, give us a call on 0117 316 7000 or send us an enquiry.


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