Industry Leaders in Structural Fire Protection
All of our work is guided by a specialist knowledge of how steel is affected by fire damage. Depending on the severity of conditions, a structural fire can exceed temperatures of 800°C or higher. Temperatures of around 550°C will cause a decline in the load-bearing properties of structural steel. Unprotected steel frames can resist fire for approximately 15 minutes. Our team of installers offer a range of solutions to increase minimum periods of resistance, in line with industry fireproofing requirements for structural steel.
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Protecting Buildings from Fire Damage
CLM Fireproofing has years of experience in bespoke structural protection for residential and commercial buildings, helping clients navigate the complex requirements of multi-storey structures. This includes knowing the unique risks of various building materials and structural elements such as compartment walls, floor slabs or ceiling voids.
We also utilise an extensive network of suppliers, so we can procure the finest fireproofing materials and building products. We can recommend the best products for specific building elements, and advise on secondary requirements such as thermal insulation or soundproofing.
Intumescent Fireproofing Specialists
CLM Fireproofing offers various forms of intumescent fireproofing, including spray-applied paint, boards and thin film intumescent coatings. Intumescent paint contains thermodynamic compounds which will expand into a solid, carbonaceous layer when subjected to temperatures of around 250°, creating a protective coating around steel beams and other structural elements. This then increases the structure’s fire resistance rating, which is usually either between 30, 60 and 90 mins. By reinforcing steel structures with intumescent coatings, we maximise the time taken by emergency responders to extinguish flames and evacuate buildings safely. Visit our dedicated page to learn more about intumescent paint.
When embarking on a project, we consider a variety of factors such as timescales, environmental conditions and basic functionalities such as acoustic insulation. We are also able to recommend intumescent coatings for projects where aesthetics are a priority, especially when steel is exposed to the general public. Our team has an established track record for delivering fireproofing projects on time, within budget and to unrivalled standards of quality.
Experts in Spray Fireproofing for Steel
We specialise in the application of spray-applied fireproofing, helping buildings withstand fire damage in compliance with the latest structural fire safety standards. Our spray fireproofing contractors and project managers engage with clients as early as possible so they can gain an in-depth understanding of each project’s unique requirements. This allows them to implement additional measures to enhance service delivery. For instance, we provide grit blasting services so that steel surfaces are readily prepared for a decorative finish.
Drylining and Boarding for Steel Beams
In construction projects, practical constraints can lead to intumescent paint being less of a viable solution. These include project timescales, weather conditions, and potential accessibility issues. In these scenarios, we can install fireproof boards to protect steel columns for up to 240 minutes and steel beams for up to 180 minutes. These boards are made of rigid mineral-based wood and can be attached to metal beams, columns, and decking.
Fireproof boards offer a range of benefits for a passive fire protection project. As a ‘dry trade’, they can be installed quickly with minimal impact on other ongoing activities. For instance, in comparison to spray-applied fireproofing it is not necessary to have any tarping or ventilation around the construction areas. This can reduce costs and help streamline overall project delivery. Find out more about our fire boarding services here.
Fully Compliant and Consistently Innovative
As a FIRAS-certified provider of advanced fireproofing systems, all of our specialists operate with the strictest adherence to the latest regulations. This means that from the initial design to project completion and handover, you can be assured that your building is 100% compliant with fire safety legislation and building codes. Our CEO, Clive Miles, has an established reputation as an industry expert and is a member of the Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP).
All of our work will be tracked using BORIS, our compliance management technology platform. A clear and concise audit trail gives clients confidence that their project is being handled by highly experienced and trained professionals.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the regulations for protecting steel structures from fire damage?
Buildings must be designed so that their stability can be maintained for a reasonable period in the case of a fire. Structural steel is a load-bearing component in most buildings. Therefore, complying with guidelines for structural steel is crucial for maintaining a building’s overall stability. For England, Scotland and Wales the main legislation is Requirement B3 in Approved Document B Fire Safety whereas for Northern Ireland it is Technical Booklet E, 2012.
Should I use water-based or solvent-based intumescent coatings?
Applying water-based intumescent paint for steel beams can be time-consuming due to the number of required coats and the total dry film build needed to provide adequate fire protection. What’s more, water-based intumescent paints also suffer from poor water resistance, which limits their application in indoor spaces and areas that require a waterproof topcoat. Conversely, solvent-based coatings are generally used on semi-exposed steel due to their ability to withstand various weather conditions. They also offer the added benefit of drying faster and leaving a smoother finish.
What’s the difference between thin film and thick film coatings?
As their name suggests, what differentiates thick film and thin film coatings is that thick film coatings are much denser. They also have a lower expansion rate, a ratio of around 5:1 compared to thin film coatings which expand at a rate of approximately 50:1. Thin film coatings are usually the industry standard as they are suitable for buildings where fire resistance regulations (specified by Approved Document B) are either 30, 60 or 90 mins. Conversely, thick film coatings are mostly used in industries that require working with extreme temperatures such as the petroleum industry. Finally, in comparison to their thinner counterparts, thick film coatings are often used in projects that require intumescent coatings to have a decorative finish.
Should intumescent coatings be applied on-site or off-site?
There are various benefits associated with applying intumescent coatings both on-site and off-site. For example, with on-site applications there is no need for large or complex spray equipment, and all the steel that needs to be coated is already erected and in place. Finally, on-site application is not a ‘wet-trade’, so construction activities are not delayed while waiting for access to floors.
In comparison, the off-site application of intumescent paint can save time in the construction schedule, as it means that trades do not have to spend days moving through floors and applying paint on-site. After the steel has been erected, there is a shorter window in which applicators are required to be on-site to resolve any damages or spray steel connections. Additional benefits include a reduced number of on-site trades, fewer delays in accessing work sites due to extraneous circumstances, and improved application productivity as time is not spent on moving equipment, personnel or products.