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Satisfying fire regulations for walls and ceilings in communal areas

Are you ready to upgrade your walls and ceilings? Or are you starting a new job completely? Either way, it’s time to think about fire safety. If you are undertaking a project that involves communal areas, there are certain regulations you need to adhere to, to ensure fire safety. It’s important that you protect yourself as well as any visitors, residents or employees.

In order to satisfy building regulations, you must take certain measures to subdue the spread of fire to other parts of the building. This also includes any adjoining buildings. In a building such as a block of flats, it’s important to keep fire contained as the damage can be incredibly severe.

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Satisfying fire regulations for walls and ceilings in communal areas

As well as using methods such as installing fire doors, you can look to the paints and coatings you are using on your walls and ceilings. This is one more step towards fire safety and combined with other preventative methods, can help you to meet building regulations for your property.

British Standard Class 0 & Class 1

These two classifications you may have seen on the tins of various paints and coatings. One is part of a classification system which can be found in Fire Safety, Approved Document B. This document contains many other regulations, so be sure that you meet all regulations, not just your walls and ceilings. The other is a test classification found in BS476, part 7.

Explaining Class 1

To achieve Class 1 on your walls and ceilings, you must use a paint or coating that is designed to prevent the spread of flames on the surface. Class 1 is actually a test, which looks at the distance and time it takes for flames to spread across a surface. Therefore, you could achieve a Class 4 finish, which would be the lowest and least desirable classification. To achieve Class 1, you need a protective paint or coating which allows the least spread of fire in the shortest amount of time.

Explaining Class 0

Class 0 can be found in Approved Document B. This classification means you must first achieve a Class 1 finish on your walls and ceilings, as well as the appropriate results on a fire propagation test. A fire propagation test is used to test the level of heat given off a surface during a fire. This is to make sure the amount of heat given off during a fire is substantially reduced by a paint or coating.

Meeting classification

By using a system with a fire retardant coating and a flame retardant topcoat, you can achieve both classifications. Your Building Regulations Officer can help you to understand if you need to achieve a Class 0 or 1 finish, or both. Remember, this is only a step in meeting fire regulations, but not one that should be missed.

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  1. Hi i have just fitted a mf ceiling with 2no layers of 15mm fireline board under a mezzanine floor
    but i need to fire rated to a 2hr rating
    please advise what paint

  2. i need to convince a local authority to use a class b fire and smoke retardant (thermagard ) and not a class 0 paint specification could you explain the difference please.

    • Hello Dominic,

      The new fire standard BS EN test lasts 20mins with airflow and replaces the old BS 476 tests which lasted for 10mins and with restricted airflow. The new standard for flamespread and heat release which is Euro Class B, replaces UK Class 0. The new BS EN tests also monitor smoke production, toxic fumes/gas release levels as well as flaming droplets.

  3. Hi, If i paint my doors etc with thermoguard timbercoat (i am assuming it is like a topcoat of paint) how do i demonstrate to the LA that i have complied with building regs, do i just retain the tin and receipt?

  4. Hi,
    I have to find a treatment to apply to wood cladding (exterior walls of a garden room). The wood cladding is 18mm thick Thermowood. I have been told that it is not possible to obtain the required level of protection ( Class B-s3, d2(2) or better and be tested to BS 8414) on Thermowood. Could you please advise if that is true?
    Many, many thanks in advance.

    • Hi Wendy,

      Thank you very much for for your question. It is possible to achieve Euro Class B-s2-d0 on Thermowood using Zeroflame Fire Retardant Treatment providing this can be applied to bare Thermowood that has had no form of stain, varnish or paint applied beforehand.

      I hope this helps, and please feel free to get in touch if you have any further questions.

      Many thanks

  5. How can i convince Building Control in NI that this is suffice to provide adequate protection – can you provide specifics against the timber ceiling specifications?

    • Good afternoon,

      Thank you very much for your question. In this instance we would advise contacting the manufacturer for assistance. We would recommend speaking to Thermoguard in this case.

      I hope this helps, and please feel free to get in touch if you have any further questions.

      Many thanks

  6. Do I need to finish with fire retardant paint to 60 min plasterboard partition and LDF skirting to escape route in non-domestic building to satisfy the requirement Class B-s3, d2 surface spread of flame ?
    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Claire,

      Thank you for taking the time to read our blog and for your question. Our Technical Department have advised that 60 minutes would be a higher/different level of fire protection.

      The Thermoguard Wallcoat BS Class 1/0 & EN Class B System should be sufficient subject to approval from building control.

      I hope this helps and please feel free to get in touch if you have any further questions.

      Many thanks

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