Fire separation systems are vital in all buildings to protect inhabitants from potential harm. Typical systems include fire doors, wall construction, dampers, garbage chutes and also glass partitions — all of which need to be fire-rated, says Tom Bell-Wright, founder, CEO and Chief Technical Officer of Dubai-based engineering firm Thomas Bell-Wright International Consultants (TBWIC).
"It is vital," he says, "because your office or flat needs to be protected from any kind of carelessness or activity that some other tenant may engage in.
"Different fire ratings apply to different areas in the building, but there has to be fire separation protecting electrical rooms, stairwells, lift shafts, and especially the walls between tenants.
"These days people like to have glass interior partitions in offices, and where these occur on the path to an exit, they have to be fire-rated to contain the fire and heat and allow people to evacuate safely," he says.
TBWIC also tests materials and finishes used in construction, such as insulation, ceiling tiles, upholstery, floor coverings, paint and wallpaper, none of which should contribute to the spread of fire nor generate excessive smoke.
"We are in fact the only fire-testing laboratory in the entire region, and I am personally very proud of our contribution to the safety of our society and also because local testing stimulates local manufacturing and thus the local economy," says Bell-Wright.
There a number of testing and calibration laboratories here.
Independent laboratories are regulated by the Dubai Central Laboratory and are required to meet an international quality management system. TBWIC carries out tests for building construction including facades on high-rise buildings.