Exclusive: Passive fire protection set in stone from ROCKWOOL

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IFSJ spoke to Paul Barrett, Head of Production Management at ROCKWOOL to find out how its line of passive protection products are slowing the spread of fire

A s the UK’s leading manufacturer of non-combustible stone wool insulation, ROCKWOOL has always supported the construction industry in creating buildings that actively contribute to passive fire protection by integrating its insulation into a building’s fabric.

Over the past 43 years, ROCKWOOL has extended its fire protection solutions with the FIREPRO range – products which provide firestopping and fire resistance throughout an entire building, from service penetrations to compartmentation. IFSJ spoke to Head of Product Management, Paul Barrett, to learn more about the ROCKWOOL business, and the solutions the company has developed to improve fire safety in buildings.

What is ROCKWOOL and when was the company established in the UK?

 ROCKWOOL Limited was established in 1979 and is part of the ROCKWOOL Group. With one factory based in South Wales and over 500 employees across the UK, we offer a full range of high-performing and sustainable insulation products for the construction industry and are the world leader in stone wool solutions.

Stone wool is the unique material that lays the foundation of our business. All of our stone wool insulation products possess fire, acoustic and thermal insulation properties, as well as a lifelong durability, making it a sustainable and cost-effective choice.

What is stone wool and how does it offer fire protection?

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 1000o C.

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.

Why did ROCKWOOL develop the FIREPRO range?

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 ROCKWOOL FIREPRO range. The FIREPRO range provides access to a comprehensive suite of passive fire protection products and certified solutions offering firestopping and fire resistance performance.

What is the FIREPRO range designed for?

Our comprehensive range of FIREPRO solutions can provide fire protection within a wide range of building applications, including: structural protection, penetration seals, linear joint seals, cavity barriers and building services.

The FIREPRO suite 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.

What is the latest FIREPRO innovation?

We recently launched a new, multi-application fire resistant sealant to the market – Silicone X – which enhances our existing range of fire rated sealants.

Silicone X is a new ‘Type X’ silicone sealant, which is suitable for linear joint seals in walls and floors and for external and internal applications across a range of substrates. As well as providing up to four hours fire integrity in accordance with BS EN 1366-4:2006, FIREPRO Silicone X has been categorised as Type X in accordance with the applicable European Assessment Document (EAD), meaning it is suitable for external applications including those exposed to weathering.

How do you support the fire industry?

For starters, we have a dedicated fire protection team which is on hand to support with solution specification and provide project guidance all the way through to installation. This team is backed up by ‘Technical Solutions’. The technical team provides telephone and email support to assist with technical queries, whether that’s access to relevant test reports and product certification, through to installation advice.

The product management team also has fire protection and HVAC specialists, who lead our testing and certification programme. In addition to bringing new and fully tested firestopping and fire protection solutions to market, this has helped us to create a comprehensive suite of standard details for firestopping.

Where standard details are not available for a specific project requirement, we are able to support with engineering judgments.

Where can people find the latest industry information?

We also have a suite of established passive fire protection resources available which are easily accessible through the FIREPRO Resource Hub. This Hub helps to make specification and compliance simpler by bringing all materials that might be needed into one place, with access to the latest information and guidance always available.

The latest edition of the ROCKWOOL FIREPRO Book can be accessed from the Resource Hub and is a comprehensive catalogue of tested and certified passive fire protection solutions. On the FIREPRO Resource Hub, users will also find the ROCKWOOL Firestopping Standard Details Pack. This guide provides in[1]depth guidance on the performance parameters of our passive fire stopping product solutions, according to certified installations and applications.

Users of the Resource Hub can also view the latest CPD modules as well as the FIREPRO Solutions Finder. Visit the ROCKWOOL FIREPRO Resource Hub now at rockwool.com/uk/firepro  

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