Cabling and fire safety electrical installations

The fire safety of electrical installations is integral to building security. Cabling plays a vital role in fire resistance. Flame retardant cables must self-extinguish within set parameters to resist fire spread. Fire-resistant (fire-rated cables) maintain circuit integrity and work for specified periods under pre-defined conditions.

Cabling manufacturers must make it easy for building designers, product specifiers, and building contractors to identify and install cables suitable for survival in real-life fire conditions. There is growing awareness of the need to follow the latest building regulations and product specifications and consider all stages of a building’s lifecycle and maintenance.

For cables to do their job, they need to have fire resistance tested rigorously. There are tests for fire with water. Fire-resistant cables are tested for direct impacts and water jets. A fire survival classification is available for cables which can continue to power critical circuits. In the event of a fire, these cables must withstand falling debris, wall collapse, fire hoses pressure, the activation of high-pressure sprinklers and smoke extraction ventilation and more.

A cable’s fire survival is essential for building safety. Accurately measuring tolerances and specifying cables starts at the building design stage. Changes to British Standards highlight that some existing fire-resistant cables might not survive direct impacts during a fire. For example, some older fire alarms and fire safety systems might not meet the current building control standards. There is an argument, therefore, to upgrade building cabling regularly.

Retardant cabling vs resistant cabling

Fire retardant and resistant cabling play a vital part in fire safety. Both might play essential roles in building integrity during a fire. Resisting the spread of fire into new areas is a very different requirement from maintaining circuit integrity for a specified time so that the critical safety system can continue to work. The ultimate goal is to improve the chances of escape and survival.

Electrical safety is our primary concern. The requirements for public buildings such as schools, hospitals, railway stations, retail outlets, leisure venues, apartment blocks, domestic settings and hazardous environments are all unique.

If you have special cabling requirements, please get in touch to talk to experts. Specialist teams understand the latest in health & safety legislation, have the right experience and electrical qualifications. Contact us to start the process of ensuring that your buildings electrical work is fire safe from design to completion. We want to make sure that the right solutions put safety first.