What Is Fire Stopping?

Fire stopping refers to the practice of sealing openings and joints in building construction to impede the spread of fire and smoke. Properly installed fire-stopping acts as a firebreak, limiting flames, deadly gases, and high temperatures from penetrating walls and floors. This vital fire protection method saves lives and property by containing fires and preventing them from spreading from one section of a structure to another.

Fire-stopping methods and products

There are various materials and techniques used for effective fire-stopping:


Firestop sealants are specialized caulks designed to remain resilient under extreme heat. Popular types include silicone, acrylic, and latex formulations. When exposed to high temperatures from a fire, these intumescent products rapidly expand to seal openings.

Firestop mortar

Specially formulated mortars stay in place and resist fire for prescribed time periods. Easy to apply, they work well for large gaps and joints.

Firestop putty

Moldable, flexible putties offer quick-fire stopping for penetrations and small openings. They are often integrated into other firestop systems.

Firestop blocks/pillows

Shaped mineral fibre blocks fit into openings to impede flames and smoke. The high-density material insulates and fireproofs conduits, pipes, wiring, ductwork, and gaps between walls.

Intumescent wraps

These malleable strips or sheets expand when exposed to fire, sealing cables and conduits passing through firewalls. The wraps protect the integrity of the fire break.

Firestop collars

Wrap-around metal collars contain fire-stopping materials within. They are easily retrofitted around existing pipe penetrations. The collar design allows movement while still maintaining the fire seal.

Common examples of fire-stopping non-compliance

Improper or missing fire stops are unfortunately very common. Some typical violations include:

  • Penetrations for electrical, plumbing, or communications wiring that lack proper seals
  • Gaps between floors, walls, and staircases that allow flames and smoke to pass through
  • Unsealed vertical shafts like pipe chases or ventilation ducts that act as chimneys in a fire
  • Openings around chimneys, fireplaces, and furnace flues that compromise firewall integrity
  • Missing firestop systems for ceiling fixtures like lighting, sprinklers, or speakers
  • Unstopped joints where non-fire-rated walls and floors meet fire-rated walls
  • Damaged, deteriorated, or poorly installed firestops that fail to function as intended

These overlooked areas can greatly contribute to fire spread and danger to occupants. They demonstrate the importance of skilled firestop installation and maintenance.

The importance of fire-stopping

Firestopping otherwise known as active or passive fire protection is of paramount importance both ethically but also legally. Well-designed fire stops save lives by 

  • Slowing the spread of flames from one compartment to the next, providing extra evacuation time.
  • Reducing smoke migration through the structure to maintain tenable conditions.
  • Preventing collapse by reinforcing floors and walls even when exposed to extreme heat.
  • Protecting escape routes and allowing safe egress from the building.
  • Containing fires before they become large conflagrations involving the entire building.
  • Allowing effective firefighting by limiting the size of fires to small sections.
  • Reducing property damage by preventing fires from engulfing entire structures.

In essence, fire stops contain fires, maintain safe exit paths, and buy time for evacuation and firefighting. Proper installation, maintenance, and compliance verification ensure these systems work as intended when needed most.

Who’s Responsible for Fire Stopping?

Installing compliant firestop systems is a shared responsibility:

  • Architects & engineers must include adequate designs, specifications, and plans showing proper fire-stopping.
  • Builders & contractors are responsible for correctly installing firestop products based on the architect’s plans and the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • Building owners & facility managers must maintain and periodically inspect installed firestops over the life of the building.
  • Authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) like local fire departments enforce fire stop compliance when approving plans and inspecting buildings.
  • Manufacturers test and certify that their fire-stopping products meet rigorous standards when installed properly.

Every individual in the chain must uphold their duties to ensure the required fire protection is in place. Using certified products and skilled professionals is key. Finally always use a fully accredited fire-stopping expert, to carry out a fire safety audit and any install

What Irish Laws and Regulations Need to Be Followed in Regard to Fire Stopping?

There are a number of regulations relating to fire-stopping requirements in Ireland:

  • Building Regulations Part B – Fire Safety mandates proper fire stopping under Sections B3 and B4. All fire compartment walls and floors must be fire-stopped at junctions.
  • Technical Guidance Documents B provides additional details for acceptable fire stop materials, installation methods, and inspection regimes under Parts B3 and B4.
  • BS EN Standards like BS EN 1366-3 and BS EN 13501 set testing protocols and rating requirements for certified fire-stopping products.
  • The Irish Agreement Board (IAB) certifies and audits fire-stopping products to ensure compliance with European standards.
  • Local council laws often stipulate additional fire safety requirements for buildings under their jurisdiction.

Adhering to the applicable fire-stopping laws, standards, and best practices ensures buildings meet minimum legal requirements. But more importantly, proper fire-stopping helps protect occupants and properties from tragic fire events.

Is fire stopping a legal requirement?

Yes, fire-stopping is a legal requirement for buildings in Ireland.


The Building Regulations Part B – Fire Safety mandates proper fire stopping in sections B3 (Internal Fire Spread – Linings) and B4 (External Fire Spread).
Technical Guidance Document B provides additional statutory guidance, requiring fire stopping at junctions between the fire-rated wall and floor elements. Proper fire stopping must be installed to validated standards.

The Fire Services Act 1981 gives legal powers to authorities to enforce fire-stopping compliance, including prosecuting building owners.

Individual county and local councils also have legal authority to compel fire-stopping upgrades in buildings under their jurisdiction through fire safety certificates.

Failure to install proper fire stopping according to current regulations is a violation of Irish building law. Authorised officers like members of the fire brigade can legally require non-compliant buildings to be retrofitted with approved fire stopping. Building owners and occupiers have a legal duty to comply.

Passive Fire Protection 

At Firestoppers, we are dedicated experts in passive fire protection. Our experienced technicians stay current on all Irish regulations and best practices for fire stopping. We carry only certified products installed to manufacturer specifications. Contact us today to inspect your building or learn more about protecting what matters most with proper fire stopping. Stay firesafe with the Firestoppers team.

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