Following the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, the government changed UK fire safety regulations, including those that relate to suspended ceilings. At Granmore, we understand the importance of fire protection and offer a wide range of ceiling tiles that meet these stringent requirements.
Whether you’re looking to upgrade your office or refurbish a commercial property, our fire-rated options ensure peace of mind without compromising on style.
The UK fire safety regulations for suspended ceilings are as follows:
- They must be made of non-combustible materials or have a fire resistance rating of at least 30 minutes. This means that the ceiling must be able to withstand fire for at least 30 minutes before it fails.
- They must be installed in a way that does not create a void between the ceiling and the floor above. This is because voids can act as chimneys, allowing fire to spread quickly.
- They must not be used to conceal electrical wiring or other services that could be a fire hazard. This is because electrical wiring and other services can become hot and ignite combustible materials.
- Suspended ceilings in high-rise buildings must be tested and certified to meet the relevant British Standards.
Specific requirements for suspended ceilings in different types of buildings:
- High-rise buildings: In high-rise buildings, they must have a fire resistance rating of at least 60 minutes.
- Schools: In schools, they must have a fire resistance rating of at least 30 minutes and must be made of materials that do not produce smoke or toxic fumes in a fire.
- Hospitals: In hospitals, they must have a fire resistance rating of at least 60 minutes and must be made of materials that do not produce smoke or toxic fumes in a fire.
In addition to the above, the following fire safety regulations apply to suspended ceilings in all buildings:
- They must be maintained in good condition and any defects must be repaired immediately.
- They must be cleaned regularly to remove any build-up of dust or other debris that could be a fire hazard.
- They must not be overloaded.
- They must not be used to support any other structure.
The importance of fire ratings for suspended ceilings
Fire ratings determine how long a suspended ceiling can withstand the spread of flames and smoke in the event of a fire. A high fire rating means that the system has been tested and proven to resist fire for an extended period, giving occupants more time to escape safely. In addition to protecting lives, ensuring that suspended ceilings have proper fire ratings also helps mitigate property damage by slowing down or preventing the rapid spread of flames throughout a building.
It’s important to note that not all materials possess the same level of fire resistance. Each material has its own specific flame spread rating, smoke development rating, and heat release rate. One cannot simply assume that all ceiling tiles automatically provide fire protection, it is crucial to look for specific certifications and ratings that guarantee their fire resistance properties.
Fire ratings for suspended ceilings are measured based on factors such as flame spread index (FSI) and smoke-developed index (SDI). These ratings determine how quickly flames will spread across a surface or how much smoke will be produced in case of a fire. Therefore, it is imperative for architects, contractors, and building owners to work closely with suppliers like Granmore who can help them select proper materials that meet specific requirements depending on building codes and regulations.
Are all suspended ceilings required to be fire rated?
No, not all suspended ceilings in the UK are required to be fire rated. However, there are certain types of buildings where they are required, such as high-rise buildings, schools, and hospitals. Additionally, suspended ceilings in any building should be made of non-combustible materials or have a fire resistance rating of at least 30 minutes.
Here is a list of buildings where fire rated suspended ceilings are required in the UK:
- High-rise buildings (over 18 metres tall)
- Residential care homes
- Public buildings with a capacity of over 150 people
If you are unsure whether or not your suspended ceiling is required to be fire rated, you should consult with a qualified fire safety engineer.
Exceptions to fire rating requirements for suspended ceilings
There are a few exceptions to the fire rating requirements for suspended ceilings in the UK. These exceptions are as follows:
- In small, low-risk buildings such as sheds and garages, they are not required to be fire rated.
- In temporary buildings such as marquees and exhibition halls, they are not required to be fire rated.
- Historic buildings may be exempt from the fire rating requirements if they are part of the original design of the building or if they are necessary to protect the building’s historic fabric.
- Suspended ceilings that are not part of the building’s fire safety strategy such as suspended ceilings that are used to conceal electrical wiring or ventilation ducts, are not required to be fire rated.
However, it is important to note that even if a suspended ceiling is exempt from the fire rating requirements, it should still be made of non-combustible materials or have a fire resistance rating of at least 30 minutes. This is because even a small fire can spread quickly and non-combustible materials will help to slow the spread of the fire and give people more time to evacuate the building.
Are missing ceiling tiles a fire hazard?
Missing ceiling tiles may seem like a minor issue, but they can actually pose a serious fire hazard in buildings. The purpose of these tiles is not only to enhance the aesthetics of the ceiling, but also to act as a barrier between the room and the space above it. When there are missing tiles, it creates openings that allow heat and smoke from a fire to spread more rapidly throughout the building.
In addition to facilitating the spread of fire, missing ceiling tiles can also hinder emergency response efforts. Firefighters rely on compartmentalisation within structures to contain fires and prevent them from spreading further. With missing tiles, this containment becomes compromised as flames can easily leapfrog rooms through the open spaces in the ceiling.
Missing ceiling tiles can also increase the risk of sprinkler system malfunctions. Ideally, sprinklers are designed to activate when they detect high heat or smoke levels in their immediate vicinity. However, if there are gaps due to missing ceiling tiles, smoke or heat may not reach all areas equally and cause an uneven activation of sprinklers.
To ensure safety in any building, it is essential for property owners or managers to address and replace missing ceiling tiles promptly. This small attention to detail could make a significant difference in mitigating fire risks and protecting lives and property from potential disasters.
Benefits of using fire-rated suspended ceilings
Fire-rated suspended ceilings offer several benefits that make them worth considering for both residential and commercial spaces. One of the main advantages is their ability to provide enhanced fire safety. These ceilings are designed with materials and coatings that have been tested and certified to meet stringent fire safety standards. In the event of a fire, they can help contain the spread of flames and delay the collapse of the ceiling, providing occupants with crucial extra time to evacuate safely.
Ensuring fire safety with appropriate ceiling choices
Choosing the right ceiling tiles for fire safety is essential in any building. Granmore offers a wide range of fire-rated ceiling tiles that have been tested and proven to meet the necessary safety standards. By investing in these tiles, you can ensure the protection of your building and its occupants in the event of a fire.
Whether you are looking for acoustic properties, moisture resistance, or simply aesthetic appeal, Granmore has the perfect option for your specific needs. All products in our online store (excluding prismatic diffusers and egg crates) are fire resistant. Order online today or call us on 0800 074 5005 to find the right fire-rated ceiling tiles for your building and ensure peace of mind for years to come.