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Fire Away...

Fire away...

Fire Away... 

.....at Jason

In the first of a regular series of articles on structural performance, Jason Hird, Gyproc’s technical guru, explains why it’s so important to take a system approach when planning fire protection.

There’s a common misconception that it is the lining board in drywall systems that dictates fire performance. 1 layer of board gives 30 minutes, 2 layers 60 minutes, and so on. Unfortunately it is just not as simple as that.

The fire performance of a non-loadbearing partition or ceiling is a measure of its ability to withstand exposure to a standard temperature, over a given period of time, without loss of fire separating function. It is divided into two elements: fire insulation, which refers to the ability of the structure to prevent temperature rise to the ‘cold’ face (the face not in direct contact with the flame), and fire integrity, which refers to the ability of the structure to remain intact and therefore prevent the passage of flame.

Whilst the board lining plays a major role in providing fire insulation, integrity is a system issue, reflecting how well the various components work together when exposed to flame/high temperature. As temperature rises, it is generally not the board itself that fails, but inadequate fixing strength, joint failure, deflection in the metal framing, or more commonly a combination of these factors, that leads to system failure.

It is therefore very important when planning fire protection to use systems with high quality components that have been designed to work together and that have been tested as a unit to provide the level of fire performance required.

In terms of fire insulation, systems incorporating gypsum-based board linings have a head start because of the inherent fire resistant qualities of gypsum. During processing of the gypsum into board, it is converted into CaSO4. 2H2O, or calcium sulphate dihydrate, by the addition of water, which becomes ‘locked’ into the crystals. When exposed to flame, this water is then gradually released, reducing the rate of temperature rise and increasing the fire insulation qualities of the structure. 

Gyproc systems achieve high levels of fire integrity, however, because all of the components have been developed and tested to achieve the required performance. The combination of high quality Gypframe metal, specially ‘rigidised’ to give additional strength/weight ratio, high performance Gyproc screws, engineered for optimum pull-out strength, Gyproc boards and Gyproc jointing materials, ensures that the structure provides integrated fire performance.

And we have the facility to fire test or assess each of our system constructions in a full scale fire test furnace, ensuring that all performance claims are based on actual fire test results – with test certificates to back this up.

It is because of our technical knowledge, high quality components and detailed attention to every element of performance in our systems that we have become the first company in the Middle East to offer a meaningful performance guarantee on all of our complete integrated systems. Please see www.gyproc.ae/specsure for more information.

You can be sure, therefore, when you specify Gyproc systems for fire protection in your building that you are getting the very best levels of fire insulation and fire integrity, as well as excellent performance in the other key areas – such as acoustics, thermal and moisture resistance.

Gyproc Customer Centre Toll free 800 497762