Exclusive: Dedicated passive protection with ROCKWOOL

Share this content

Paul Barrett, Head of Product Management at ROCKWOOL® UK, discusses the FIREPRO® RANGE and how it was used at London’s digital campus, Here East

Since it was established in 1979, ROCKWOOL has served as the UK’s leading manufacturer of non-combustible stone wool insulation, supporting the creation of buildings that feature high levels of passive fire protection by integrating its insulation into the fabric of a building.

Stone wool is manufactured from naturally occurring volcanic rock which is a vastly abundant material.  Being made from volcanic rock means that stone wool is naturally non-combustible and is capable of withstanding temperatures in excess of 1000oC.

Over the years, the fire protection properties of stone wool have helped to protect many lives and its unique thermal properties have improved the indoor climate of many buildings and homes. Our products have been installed in domestic, commercial and industrial buildings of all types, from prestige projects including London’s O2 Arena and Hong Kong Airport to family homes, local hospitals and schools in many countries

However, for the past 43 years, ROCKWOOL has expanded its fire protection solutions with the FIREPRO range – products which provide firestopping and fire resistance throughout an entire building, from service penetrations to compartmentation.  

We wanted to extend our passive fire protection range beyond core stone wool products to offer a complete solution. Our aim was to help architects, contractors and developers conform to current fire regulations, making buildings and their inhabitants safer in the event of fire.

The result was the FIREPRO range. The FIREPRO range provides access to a comprehensive suite of passive fire protection products and certified solutions. Today, the FIREPROsuite of solutions includes over 25 product ranges designed for a variety of applications.

For example, ROCKWOOL Fire Barrier and Fire Barrier Slab were developed to offer easy to install solutions that effectively help to prevent the spread of fire and smoke within unseen roof and ceiling voids. The ROCKWOOL BEAMCLAD System provides a complete ‘tool-box’ of fire protection options for the diversity of modern steel construction. To effectively reinstate compartmentation within fire rated walls and floors, we developed the FIREPRO Ablative Coated Batt which offers a property critical fire stopping protection.

ROCKWOOL in action – Here East Digital Campus, UK

The former Olympic Broadcast and Press Centres on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – a space that captured and lived many of the most memorable moments of the 2012 London Olympic games – is now a world-class digital campus, Here East.

The dynamic redevelopment of Here East involved the transformation of the former Media Campus and more specifically, the Main Press Centre, Main Media Conference Room and International Broadcasting Centre, to provide a first of its kind location, complete with state-of-the-art infrastructure, for creative and digital industries.

The development is home to BT Sport’s headquarters, incorporating offices, restaurants, studio space and a data centre alongside new facilities for UCL, Loughborough University and Hackney Community College. Main contractor, Laing O’Rourke led the transformation of Here East into this all-round multi-use campus which will deliver a lasting educational and commercial legacy in East London. 

The challenge

With an innovative design which has created a modern, multi-purpose campus, Here East was built to the highest performance and fire safety specifications. The team at Laing O’Rourke were tasked with designing the building’s fire protection scheme that also accommodates building movements such as movement between floors and in services. 

This proved a major challenge, as the fire safety design needed to use air sealing and fire stopping systems that were compatible with the structures of the various buildings on the development. 

The ROCKWOOL solution

The ROCKWOOL FIREPRO SoftSeal System in combination with FIREPRO® SoftSeal Coated Strips was selected and installed by fire protection contractor Roseville to meet the project design specification.

ROCKWOOL FIREPRO SoftSeal System is a flexible, firestopping solution particularly suited to service penetrations and linear joints, where a high degree of movement needs to be accommodated, making it ideal for use in this type of application. The system can accommodate movement of +/- 25% and can be used for both vertical and horizontal applications to reinstate the fire resistance and acoustic performance in the re-purposing of the buildings where voids have been created for the passage of services.

At Here East, approximately 1300 linear metres of FIREPRO SoftSeal System were installed. The area between the slab and exterior cladding was filled with SoftSeal Linear Joint Strips, which are designed and tested to meet the fire resistance standard BS EN 1366-3. The SoftSeal system was also incorporated into the service penetrations, in the form of SoftSeal Coated Strips, which are classified to EN 13501-2 and have been tested to the dedicated fire resistance standard BS EN1366-4.

FIREPRO SoftSeal strips coated on both the top and bottom edges were used in this project to provide a clean, white coated finish. These strips help to extend the fire stopping and acoustic performance of the building where voids have been created for passage of services. 

Speaking about the project, Arthur Nelmes, Divisional Director – Passive Fire Protection, Roseville, said: “Fire protection was a major performance criterion for this project. ROCKWOOL was able to deliver products with the long-lasting firestopping performance we needed to achieve on this type of development whilst also being reliable and easy to install. ROCKWOOL FIREPRO SoftSeal system also simplified the application by providing proven fire and acoustic insulation performance all in one solution.” 

The ROCKWOOL solution has played a major role in meeting the performance standards required for the delivery of Here East. The structural fire protection and firestopping solution will effectively minimise the risk of fire spread and protect the people and property within the buildings.

Receive the latest breaking news straight to your inbox