Fire compartments

Fire compartments represent one of the oldest measures in fire protection. Learn more now.

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16 June 2023 Fire Safety

Fire compartments represent one of the oldest and most effective measures in preventive fire protection. Learn more about them in the following article:

  • Definition & size
  • Fire vs. smoke compartment
  • Types

Fire compartments: Definition

Fire compartments are intended to prevent the spread of fire and smoke to adjacent building parts or buildings. A fire compartment is formed by space-enclosing building elements with fire or smoke resistance within a storey. Furthermore, the limitation of a fire by fire and smoke compartments enables the extinguishing work.

Examples of smoke-sealing building elements:

  • Outer fire walls
  • Internal fire walls
  • Ceilings
  • Doors
  • Partitions
  • Outdoor spacing
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Fire compartments: Size

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The required size of fire compartments can be found in the state building regulations and the special building regulations. In addition, DIN standards, the industrial building guideline and model building regulations (e.g. for sales premises) - depending on the area of application - must be taken into account.

In practice, fire compartments must always be formed in larger buildings. The basis for this is formed by internal fire walls with a defined distance between them, which varies depending on the federal state. Larger fire compartments are possible depending on the applicable special building regulations, e.g. by installing fire alarm systems or extinguishing systems. In addition, the evacuation flows from neighbouring fire compartments must be taken into account when calculating the size, especially in the case of special buildings.

Important: The fire resistance class of a fire compartment applies to all fire compartment-forming elements, i.e. walls, ceilings, doors, gates or glazing, etc.

Difference: fire and smoke section

Toxic smoke gases pose the greater danger to people in the event of a fire. Therefore, smoke compartments must be formed to prevent the spread of smoke for a certain period of time and to enable the safe evacuation of people. The smoke compartments must be subdivided with the help of smoke barriers (e.g. doors with smoke protection).

Important: A smoke compartment is particularly relevant for buildings with a high number of people. These include e.g. hotels, office buildings, event and assembly venues and public buildings.

Specific requirements for smoke compartments for a building can also be found in the state building regulations and special building regulations.

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Types at a glance

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Basically, a distinction is made between external and internal fire walls to form fire compartments. External fire walls function as the building's boundary wall to neighbouring buildings. Internal fire walls form the fire compartments within a building. They must be fire-resistant and made of non-combustible materials. In addition, openings in internal fire walls must be kept as small as possible.

If openings are required, these fire compartment forming elements must be installed with the same fire resistance class. One possibility for this are, among others:

All-round service from CWS

CWS Fire Safety is active as a full-service provider in preventive fire protection. We support you both in structural fire protection with fire barriers, fire ducts or flaps and in technical fire protection with doors, gates and much more. We are your experts for the implementation of fire compartmentation and the professional closure of openings in fire protection walls according to LBO requirements (such as cables or pipes).

Do you need support for the formation of fire compartments in one of the following building types?

Industrial buildingsTimber buildingsOffices
Special constructionsHospitalApartment Building

Contact us. We support you in the implementation of fire compartments and permissible openings by means of approved bulkheads, doors, fire dampers, fire protection ducts, fire protection cladding and much more.

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