Barrier for a Fire Solution
An increasing client focus on fire protection and a growing demand for a fire barrier solution that’s certified for use on timber has been addressed head-on by British manufacturer TBA FIREFLY™, with a new product addition to its specialist range of flexible fire barriers.
FIERFLY™ ATHENA 60:60 is an intelligent two-layer solution that provides 60 minutes Integrity and 60 minutes Insulation from both sides, compartmentalising areas to provide improved fire protection. ATHENA 60:60 is specifically tested and independently certified for use on timber, meeting BS476 Parts 20&22 and BS476 Parts 6&7 for propagation and surface flame spread. The system exceeds requirements of Building Regulations Part B and is independently certified – IFCC 1578.
Manufactured using layers of woven and non-woven glass fibre specially treated with a proprietary coating to greatly increase fire resistance, combined with aluminium foil, ATHENA 60:60 is only 10mm thick and 2.4kg/m2, as well as being non-toxic and inert.
The unique construction of FIREFLY ATHENA 60:60 also brings big installer benefits – offering a system that is flexible and easier to fit in complex areas such as roof voids, but it also makes getting product into space-restricted areas much easier than with some rigid board or heavier, wire-reinforced options.
The independently certified 60-minute performance has been achieved by fitting FIREFLY™ barrier either side of the timber, utilising a 100mm void to help enhance fire protection. This is supported with the use of other FIREFLY™ ancillary products such as Penowrap, which is used to additionally wrap timber at critical points. Providing a system-based solution has been central to Firefly’s approach, covering all elements used within the installation process such as the high temperature adhesive, stainless steel staples and galvanised angles.
The fire protection solution may be unique but is has been achieved by a mix of newly developed barriers, as well as utilising the fixing materials and methods already familiar to specialist installers. TBA estimate that as well as being more installer-friendly, the ATHENA system can achieve savings of around 30% compared to a triple-layer system that may have been used.
FIREFLY™ flexible fire barriers are used extensively in newbuild, refurbishment and retrofit applications. With the clarity of independent certification for use on timber, FIREFLY is also seeing great interest for ATHENA 60:60 in sectors such as care homes, social housing, and student accommodation, where the flexible system is used to compartmentalise roof voids and lofts.
As well as a general increase in professional and client awareness of using higher standards of fire protection in these applications, there is also a noticeable trend of inspectors, assessors and local authorities rigorously addressing the fire protection needs in these buildings, with a barrier system certified for use with timber being an expectation.
Product performance, meeting British Standards and third-party certification are of course all critical in fire protection, but so too is the standard of installation. Passive fire protection products such as flexible barriers are not checked regularly in the same way as active protection, so getting it right from the start is even more critical. This reinforces the approach taken by FIREFLY™ in building a solution on the platform of known and commonly used installation methods and materials, but also the importance of the provision of installer training.
FIREFLY™ provides practical installer training courses at its Rochdale manufacturing HQ and in Northampton, as well as onsite training. Indeed, in 2021 the company passed the milestone of providing training to over 1,000 fire protection installers and has now broadened the offer to include training for assessors to enable them to help maintain the highest standards onsite.