Light Steel Forum
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Fire Safety

The benefits of light steel construction in relation to fire safety are:

  • Steel is non-combustible; it does not add to the fire load of the building.
  • Fire protection for light steel framing is typically provided by the boards used for internal lining, e.g. gypsum-based boards.
  • Fire resistance periods of up to 120 minutes are readily achievable.
  • The amount of combustible material in a light steel framed building is much lower than in some other forms of construction.
  • Modules and pre-boarded light steel panels are fire protected before delivery to site.
  • Light steel floors, walls and modules are easily repairable after small fires.
  • The fire risk during construction is much lower for light steel framing than for some forms of construction.

SCI publication (P424) 

SCI publication (P424) has been published (February 2021) which provides design guidance on the fire resistance of light steel framing. P424 contains guidance on how light steel framed buildings should be designed and detailed to provide fire resistance in accordance with the Building Regulations. The guidance addresses the criteria that need to be considered and explains how these can be achieved with light steel framing. It also includes information on fire testing and how to use the data obtained from fire tests in design.

Fire resistance is an important part of the design for any building and since the Grenfell fire disaster the question of fire safety has been heightened. SCI has been working with members of the Light Steel Forum and other industry experts to update design guidance on the fire resistance of light steel framing which is well established as a construction system for medium-rise residential and mixed-use buildings. Light steel framing has gained a market share partly because one of its benefits is that it is non-combustible and does not add to the fire load of the building. 

 

SCI publication P424 is available in hard copy from mid-March and is already available for SCI Members to download on Steelbiz.  P424 includes:

  • Detailed design information on the application of the Building Regulation requirements to light steel framing, including requirements for fire testing.
  • Construction practice and detailing of light steel frames and their interfaces with other materials.
  • A set of typical generic construction details for light steel framing in terms of design for fire resistance.
  • Calculation methods which may be used to extend the tested fire performance of a light steel wall or floor construction to a wider range of design parameters.

SCI would like to thank the members of the Light Steel Forum for their assistance with P424 and we look forward to working on our next area of technical development together. 

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