An event that occurred recently said more about Flamebar BW11, manufactured by Fire Protection Ltd (FPL), than any amount of technical data, test results and literature that could possibly be produced in evidence of the quality of this long-established fire-resistant ductwork system.

A fire inside the kitchen ductwork of the Watford's exclusive 5-star rated Grove Hotel in Hempstead Road spread no further than that, thanks to the aptitude of Flamebar BW11. The fire-resistant system completely contained the blaze in precisely the manner it is designed to do, a fact that will come as little surprise to many.

Flamebar fire-resistant ductwork system is constructed from galvanised sheet steel, sprayed with a specially formulated water-based fire protective compound. The unique BW11 coating has a number of distinct benefits that include the provision of in excess of 2 hours insulation when handling internal gas temperatures of 400°C. Such situations are typically applicable where a fire engineering approach has been adopted and the cooling effect of sprinklers will have been considered for smoke extract applications. BW11 provides full integrity ratings in such circumstances. The composite nature of the system also facilitates a reduction in base duct construction thickness or gauge and a reduction in duct reinforcement.

The Flamebar BW11 system has been successfully tested for international use, under cellulosic fire conditions, to give in excess of four hours fire resistance in the event of a fire. It can confidently be specified and installed for smoke extract, car park extract, kitchen extract, and stair pressurisation systems.

Subsequent pictures (taken on the hotel roof) of the kitchen extract ductwork that actually contained the fire, show no sign of deterioration compared with ductwork not subject to the fire, despite the fact that the standard ventilation ductwork was completely destroyed. A Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue representative reported "We were concerned it was a fire in the roof but when we arrived we realised that the fire was actually within the ducting above the kitchen area". The Fire & Rescue team extinguished the flames, before high pressure fans were employed to clear the resulting smoke. Subsequent thermal imaging confirmed that the blaze had not spread. 300 people were led to safety during the emergency with none being injured as a result.

A representative from the Grove Hotel stated that the fire started as a result of an electrical fault in the restaurant, that very little damage was caused and the hotel was operating as normal, very quickly after the event.

Flamebar BW11's coating appearance makes it immediately identifiable as a fire rated duct, thus lessening the possibility of unauthorised post-handover modifications. The compound contains selected mineral filters in a low permeability elastomeric binder and is applied at a thickness of approximately 1mm. Its unique design of low density and high durability allows it to accommodate induced stress arising from extreme conditions including climatic moisture, structural loading and the effect of thermal-shock during a fire.

  • 05 January 2011

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