What is Compartmentation?
Compartmentation involves the division of a larger space into smaller spaces.
In the event of a fire, the spread of fire and smoke can be restricted and even controlled by subdividing areas up into fire compartments.
Official building regulations define a fire compartment as:
“A building or part of a building comprising one or more rooms, spaces or storeys constructed to prevent the spread of fire to or from another part of the same building or an adjoining building.”
Fire compartments can be created via the installation of firewalls, fire curtains or smoke curtains which all work to slow the spread of a fire.
Why Compartmentation in Buildings Matters?
Compartmentation unsurprisingly brings with it many safety benefits. In fact, these benefits have today become necessities. For instance, the prevention of the spread of fire, the reduction in the chance of fires growing and creating a danger to people and lastly compartmentation in buildings serves to limit the amount of damage caused to a building and its contents.
Clearly, compartmentation is a crucially important aspect of any effective fire safety strategy.
Fire Curtains and Compartmentation
In today’s modern world, where open-space design is often integral to the functioning of many buildings, designers and architects face real challenges trying to reconcile open plan designs with fire safety regulations.
This is because open plan designs involve the removal of fire barriers leaving the building open to fire damage and without a means of controlling a fire’s spread. Fire curtains in these buildings are proving to be a perfect solution. They allow for aesthetics, safety and functionally to all coexist.
Unlike a firewall a fire curtain remains hidden in a ceiling or door frame until activated by a building’s alarm system. This means that they allow for seamless open plan designs to be fully integrated with the most stringent fire safety regulations. This is because of their temporary compartmentation ability. i.e. they are hidden until needed.
Compartmentation: The theory put into practice with Coopers Fire Fire Curtains
As a result, we are able to develop curtains with a variety of physical properties to suit any situation. This means that Coopers Fire fire curtains are highly adaptable and can be used to suit a range of situations. To view the most common uses for our off the shelf or custom made fire curtains, please visit our website.
A Coopers Fire Fire Curtain Case Study: Topshop retail store, Oxford
Coopers Fire have been lucky enough to provide fire protective barriers in many iconic buildings, both here in the UK and on a more global scale.
One project in particular that perfectly demonstrates how fire curtains can be used to replace more traditional static fire safety methods to achieve effective compartmentation is our work with Stoneforce contractors in Oxfords Topshop & Topman stores.
Large open spaces are essential for the functioning of clothes stores and without them, many would not work. As a result, Stoneforce appointed Coopers Fire to design and install a fire curtain solution for the new Oxford Topshop & Topman store. What was required was a fire curtain to offer a fire break around the escalator and between the basement and ground floor.
Coopers Fire installed a FireMaster Concertina fire curtain. This particular product provides the building with an approved, non-invasive means of fire protection. One that satisfies the fire regulations as well as ensuring that the open plan design is uncompromised.
Coopers Fire’s fire curtains are the modern alternative to more traditional static compartmentation methods. Fire curtains offer designers the freedom to design modern, open plan spaces without compromising fire safety.
Please note, we are happy to provide all CAD drawings to help designers in the design phase.
Coopers Fire’s wide range of BS EN certified fire curtains and smoke curtains work with every building and in every possible application. Our systems are also tested to UL standards and listed through Intertek.