Fire protection: Simple construction measures can save lives in an emergency

Fire protection: Simple construction measures can save lives in an emergency


When constructing one's own home, many builders forget the structural fire protection. In an emergency, this can have fatal consequences.

Statutory requirements for fire protection

Building regulations are a matter for the federal states. In general, the legislators prescribe a written fire protection certificate for private new buildings and conversions, which must be submitted together with the building application.

The proof consists only of a list of the materials used and their fire properties. There are hardly any requirements for freestanding buildings in which there is only one residential unit. Even houses in which there are two apartments need only fulfill low conditions.

For load-bearing walls, pillars and columns, non-load-bearing external walls, dividing walls and ceilings, the legislature makes only minor demands or no claims in the two-family house. You have to withstand a fire for 30 minutes. For the surfaces of exterior walls, exterior wall cladding and insulation in exterior walls, normal inflammable building materials are required as a minimum requirement.

If there are no legal requirements, builders do not have to switch on an expert. In view of around 200,000 fires per year with around 600 fatalities and more than 65,000 burn injuries (including 6,000 seriously injured), advice from the fire brigade or an expert in larger building projects is advisable.

Building material classes and fire resistance classes

All building materials are according to their requirements Fire behavior divided into building material classes. Classes A1 and A2 are non-flammable substances or those containing a small proportion of flammable material. These include stones and metals, including mineral wool and gypsum plasterboard.

The B-Class classifies materials that can burn. Highly flammable building materials such as thin wood or paper are classified in class B3. Normally flammable (B2) is for example thick wood. As a rule, it is a material that has been impregnated with fire protection against fire.

B1 are fire-resistant building materials. The building material burns, but contributes nothing to the preservation of a fire and extinguished as soon as the cause of the fire is no longer present. These include impregnated rigid foams, hardwoods and special chipboard.

The fire resistance classes indicate how long a component withstands a fire without losing its function. For load-bearing walls in basements of two-family houses, for example, the class F-30 AB is required. Such a wall must at least consist of a material that burns only to a small extent and only loses its load capacity after 30 minutes in the fire.

F-30 A means that the component is not flammable and F 30 B that it is burns, but still keeps its load capacity for 30 minutes.

Important construction measures to prevent fires

Saving on fire safety is certainly the wrong way to reduce the cost of a construction project. Although state subsidies can hardly be obtained, non-combustible building materials are usually hardly more expensive than flammable ones.

The fact is that fulfilling the legal requirements is not enough for sensible fire protection. Every client should generally refrain from using insulating materials that only reach class B2.

Building materials of class B1 are particularly useful in the area between floor and ceiling, ceiling coverings and floors. Fires in false ceilings quickly spread throughout the building, burning floors prevent people from escaping.

There are a number of regulations on escape routes in companies where there are workers. These are almost completely absent in the private sector. Every client should remember that in the event of a fire, a house must be cleared quickly.

Winding corridors, unnecessary doors or floors at different heights can become a deadly trap. Statutory smoke detectors are of no use if the escape is impossible even after a short burn time.

In the private sector, the choice of building materials that are flame retardant, usually in combination with easy-to-escape escape routes. The larger a complex is and the more people are endangered in case of fire, the more important is an overall concept. In addition to fire extinguishers and other extinguishing equipment, this also includes construction measures that can seal off burning areas or sprinkler systems. Such a concept can only be developed by a specialist in fire protection technology.

The use of material of higher fire resistance classes than F30 only makes sense if it concerns larger building complexes or to prevent the fire from spreading to neighboring buildings. 30 minutes are all it takes to evacuate people from a burning house when smoke detectors warn them in time.

What's also useful for fire safety

Common causes of fire are too hot grease in kitchens and appliances that stand in the air -by-run operation unattended for a long time. Central switches to disconnect such devices from the power grid and a fire blanket in the kitchen can prevent many fires or their spread.

Many homeowners think of the subject of security primarily to prevent burglars from entering. Locked windows made of unbreakable glass and locked entrance doors prevent residents from escaping in an emergency. It makes more sense to have systems that allow the opening of windows and doors from the inside at any time without any aids.

Further security is provided by smoke detectors with networked smoke detectors, which also alert people to a fire outside the home. The sooner the fire brigade learns of a fire, the greater the chances of curbing it.

The use of incombustible insulating materials in false ceilings is sufficient to slow down the spread of fires. In conjunction with flame retardant material for interior work, the structural fire protection for private homes can be implemented easily. For larger systems an expert should be consulted.

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