There were a total of 6491 residential fires in New Zealand in 2013. That’s more than 120 fires every week ! Real estate owners and employers would look at these figures and contemplate ways to increase fire safety of their buildings. Along comes fire retardant paint. In short: fireproof paint or fire retardant paint is a type of coating that can be applied on surfaces to prevent fire accidents. As the name implies, the paint creates fire retardant structures by a process which involves the release of a flame dampening gas, preventing heat transfer to the underlying substrate.
Fire retardant paint slows down the fire spreading, and the slower a substrate burns the more time there is to evacuate
Fire retardant paints have a number of uses:
They can be used on steel structures to reduce the risk of a fire and they can be applied on walls of buildings.
In this article we look at the different applications of fire retardant paint and products for wood, concrete and steel. Furthermore, you can find information on fire safety standards and regulations in New Zealand.
Get your fire retardant paint job certified
Whether you do your fireproofing yourself or get a professional to apply fire retardant paint to your building it is important to get certification. Make sure you keep receipts and any proof of the application. Ask your applicator or coating supplier for a certificate. If they do not provide a certificate, you should at least keep a record of the used products.
Certification can be used to negotiate insurance policies or claim damage from insurance
New Zealand standards & regulations
With relation to the legislation in New Zealand, fire protection comes under C3 of the Building Code. This clause states the need to protect persons from injury or illness resulting from the spread of fire in a building.
Failure to meet the code’s requirements puts the health and safety of occupants at risk and as a result, the Building Act enforces a warrant of fitness (BWoF) renewal policy. A BWoF is confirmation that the building’s life safety systems have been inspected and maintained as required in the building’s compliance schedule.
Fines for offences related to Building Act offences can reach up to NZ$200,000
Reinforce modern buildings and factories with intumescent paint for steel
Fire Retardant can be an intumescent as well. Intumescent is simply a substance that stops fire from spreading by a process called “charring.” It is usually applied on structural steel as an added protection to fire retardant systems. Steel rods can be made more robust and efficient if they are applied with intumescent paint.
Steel rods are very common in modern building and factories. Intumescent coating insulates the steel surface and in the event of fire, significantly reduces the rate at which the steel loses form and ultimately enhances the fire protection for everyone inside the building. Furthermore, it is not only buildings and industries that can be protected, but also other items made out of steel that we use every day.
This is again an example of meeting the safety standard criteria set by professional bodies.