Fire Rated Party Walls: Wall Tops – A Common Defect

It’s crucial that fire safe compliance be better executed across all systems including Party Walls, the walls that are shared between two or more dwellings, most common in class 1a apartments, terraces and town houses. Party walls creates a barrier between containment zones which limits the spread of smoke and fire.

Fire separation walls tops

  • Should be fully sealed to the roof with no penetrations, that is no cables.
  • Should have no timber penetrating the fire walls, except for roof battens which can't be greater than 75X50mm.
  • Larger timber framing should be wrapped
  • Roof fibreglass insulation can’t pass over fire wall
  • Non-combustible Rockwool should extend completely to the underside of the roof.
  • Mineral fibre should be in place between the wall and to the underside of the roof sheeting.

Some other major issues involving fire separation:

  • Trying for certification AFTER the wall is built
  • Boundary wall misconceptions – eg direction of fire, use of combustible material
  • Binders for trusses being carried through fire separating walls.
  • Numerous penetrations being made through separating walls that break down the fire rating.
  • Gaps not being packed between separating walls and external wall construction.
  • Open voids not treated in roof spaces of eaves and verandahs that are common to more than one unit/dwelling.
  • Valley gutters crossing fire separating walls (a separating wall must not be crossed by timber or any other combustible product with exception of roof battens with dimensions of 75X50mm or less or roof sarking).
  • Electrical power points/switches placed back to back in the separating wall.

To ensure firewalls are properly constructed:

  • Details on approved plans for construction should be followed
  • Proper materials should be employed & all manufacturer's recommendations adhered to
  • The designer and building certifier should be closely consulted.
  • All trades involved with work on separating walls should be licensed, informed and supervised.
  • Inspections during construction should be conducted by a 3rd party passive fire certifier or person responsible for providing Form 16 Certificates.

If you have any doubts about the best way to ensure compliant passive fire protection in your construction, you should seek the advice of a QBCC licenced certifier BEFORE works are started.

I’d suggest the use of a third-party passive fire certifier to provide understanding of the Fire Rating Level of the building, liaises with authorities and manufacturers to ensure the system you are installing is cost effective and installed correctly. This way you will not have costly re works to gain the required certification, saving valuable time, money on your site and peace of mind. This is what we do.

If you’d like more information, contact us call 1800 PASSIVE or via our website - www.pluspassivefire.com.au