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We all know that fire is an incredibly unpredictable foe.  One of the biggest dangers in a fire is the spread of smoke and poisonous gases. People need to be able to exit a building through areas that can hold back the spread of smoke and fire. A compartment is constructed so that it mitigates and controls the spread of smoke and fire for a prescribed length of time. Picture your building as a box with small boxes placed inside it and each small box is a compartment.

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Karntek offer void property surveys – These are carried out in void flats, houses & apartments. Properties are inspected to ensure that the integrity of the fire compartment walls have not been breached by cable penetrations and pipe penetrations such as waste pipes etc. The inspection also includes fire doors for properties where the internal measurement is over 9 metres to the front door from the furthest point of the flat/apartments, and/or, above 4.5 meters high. Inspections within the roof voids of party walls will also be included.

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Often you are asked prior to having a fire risk assessment or fire compartmentation survey carried out if you have CAD plans with the fire compartment walls labelled. Karntek provide a service to carry out site visits and to analyse the details on fire strategy and plans to provide a fire compartment plan. This is marked on a CAD plan along with other relevant fire safety information.

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Fire dampers are installed within your duct system as part of the passive fire protection to prevent the spread of fire and smoke.  If a fire breaks out and gets into your ventilation system this could spread easily to other parts of the building in a hidden way, if the fire dampers are not installed or working correctly. They should be tested on a regular basis and kept maintained.

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After a new building has been built or refurbished, often deadlines are running tight and the signing off of the building may be done under pressure from the principal contractor. As a result, in-depth preoccupation checks are often missed. However, it is important to have the building checked before the signing off of the building, as to get contractors or principal contractors back on site to adjust works that have been poorly done is a very difficult task and can sometimes take months to achieve, thus delaying the building from being opened on time.

Karntek offer a service of post-construction auditing. What this involves is a survey of the building especially concentrating on the fire safety and integrity of the building. What our surveyors look for when carrying out a post-construction survey are any issues that may have arisen throughout the construction process, such as accidental penetrations of compartmentation, or areas which have been overlooked during construction. The appropriate remedial action is then recommended.

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Frequently asked questions


Simple answer: yes, you do. The idea of Passive Fire Protection has been around since the Great Fire of London in 1666, when it was recognised that the timber framed buildings joined to each other was what caused the catastrophic fire spread. It has of course been enhanced since then, with new laws and guidance introduced. Unless your building is not joined to any other and is all one room/compartment you will have fire compartmentation.


Yes it has to be, right from design through to the final stages of the build. However, with the combination of trades and services interlocked throughout a building it is important that any the penetrations through fire resisting walls and floors are correctly firestopped.

Why is passive fire protection important?

Passive Fire Protection is essential in stopping the spread of smoke and fire through a building. It is needed to protect the escape routes and the building’s structure to prevent it from collapsing. If the passive fire protection is correct then it is unlikely any significant damage will arise from a fire.

What is the difference between active and passive fire protection?

Active Fire protection takes action in order to put out a fire. Passive Fire Protection will help prevent a fire from spreading. They work together by alerting people inside the building of a fire and safely containing the fire so that people may evacuate and/or try to suppress the fire.

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