We were recently approached by a facility manager at the FAMNZ Summit about their ongoing frustration with fire wall penetration systems not being maintained. The problem is that where there are large cavities in fire walls to allow for multiple cable bundles and/or cable trays (and often other services) to pass through, the passive fire stopping method traditionally has been the use of fire pillows. These installations are often dismantled to accommodate additional cables being added after the Building Warrant of Fitness (B-WOF) has been issued, and are not reassembled in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications by the trade involved.
The Underlying Issue
Maintaining the integrity of fire pillow stopping installations is low on the list of priorities, and because it is not the core business of the trade involved, is often ignored altogether.
The Independent Qualified Person (IQP) attending to the B-WOF inspection and checking off the compliance schedule (Form 12A) may sometimes find pillows discarded on the floor next to the fire wall (or missing altogether) with gaping holes evident in the fire seal. The cost to fix this fire stopping system is borne by the owner and is seldom budgeted for.
The Long-term Solution
The Potters Cable-Transit system was proposed as part of a combination of compatible products to be retrofitted as a semi-permanent fire wall. The Cable-Transits can be installed in multiple configurations to accommodate the number of cables. By designing a fire wall to support these transits using a combination of BOSS Bulkhead Batts, Ablative Coating and FireMastic 300 sealant or with a timber stud frame with Gib FyreLine plaster board (or similar), to comply with the appropriate FRR requirement, the fire wall penetration is now more semi-permanent in nature.
The incorporation of the Cable-Transits in the design allows not only for the existing cables to penetrate the fire wall in a compliant manner, but also provides for future cables to be passed through where spare capacity has been provided for in the design. By future-proofing the installation, the ongoing costs are significantly reduced as is the element of human error.
In consultation with the passive fire installation company, the facility manager and the IQP (B-WOF) inspector, we were able to agree on a design based on a combination of compliant compatible products that would form part of a system solution.