Passive versus Active

Fire Rating

The BCA at the best of times can be somewhat complex and the laws around fire safety often more-so. In fact, we are aware many facility engineers, building managers and construction managers find themselves a bit confused when trying to ensure compliance with the BCA. At the heart of it, there are two different type of fire protection systems. Active fire protection and passive fire protection.

Active fire protection systems

The fundamental purpose of an active fire protection system is to prevent the passage and spread of smoke and fire from one area of the building to another, and in doing so allow for the safe escape of the building occupants. By definition, these solutions seek to extinguish the fire through:

  • Detecting the fire early and evacuating the building.
  • Alerting emergency services at an early stage.
  • Controlling the movement of smoke and fire.
  • Suppress and/or starve the fire of oxygen and fuel.

Active systems include suppression, fire alarms, extinguishers, water sprinkler systems and extractor ventilation.

Passive fire protection systems

By comparison, passive fire rating systems aim to reduce the amount of damage the flames and heat of a fire cause to a structure and neighbouring structures, allowing emergency crews to more safely enter the building and successfully fight the fire.

Passive fire protection systems:

  • Delay the growth of the fire.
  • Make use of fire rated partitions and doors to prevent the fire and smoke from moving from one compartment to another.
  • Delay (or ideally prevent) the collapse of building structures via the protection of structural elements of the building.

Passive fire protection systems include fire sprays and thin film intumescents, fire rated doors, fire collars and barriers.

Which system is right for you?

Ultimately, both systems are engineered to preserve life and protect the structure and depending on your requirements, one system may be more appropriate for your needs.

If you are unsure which system is right for you, need more assistance, or just require further information please contact us as one of our Nullifire Consultants will be more than willing to help you.

Key projects

Nullifire products have been proudly used as the intumescent of choice on a number of recent constructions including:

Brisbane International Airport - Air New Zealand lounge

Brisbane International Airport is mid-way through planned upgrade works. Null...

Carrara Gardens Golf & Tennis Academy

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Ikea North Lakes - onsite application

Nullifire SC902 was the think film intumescent of choice for the 28,300m2 Str...

One One One Eagle Street Brisbane

Fire Rating of Structural Steel Columns