Interact Announcement

Revolution in Tension Rod Fire Protection

Interact Structural Fire protection – Easy-Over Solutions: In order to mitigate some of the costs of manufacture and installation, Interact have designed a system of manufacture which does not require the casting to be split. The casting can be installed onto the rod without any adhesive and no further fitting.

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  1. Introduction:

Historically, fire protection to suspension and tension rods has been treated casually on the grounds that data already exists, i.e. CHS data. The ASFP (Association of Specialist Fire Protection) has published guidance notes to this effect.

In 2008 Interact Fire Protection questioned the “assessment of validity” on the basis of physical behaviour of small diameter bars with a coating. Subsequently, International Paint, Akzo Nobel, confirmed that “fire protection to circular rods” did not perform in the same way as circular hollow sections, resulting in premature failure of the qualifying temperature.

On July 19th, 2020 the ASFP and EU released the much awaited, revised testing regime for rods in tension, up to 299mm diameter. While BS EN 13381-10 is an extremely challenging standard it will, however, be accompanying the existing standard BS476 part 20 & 21 for the foreseeable future (ref: UKAS and BSI). In the meantime, new loading tables have been agreed for conventional applications, spray and hand painting under BS476 Part 20 & 21

  1. Interact Structural Fire Protection – Retrofit Solution:

Using its substantial experience with casting technology, Interact Fire Protection has manufactured castings for fitting directly to tension rods. The process produces a superb finish to match anything the industry has to offer.

However, the installation of the “Retrofit” system is based on two halves being attached (adhered) to the rod using the same material as that for casting, i.e. epoxy intumescent. As this is described by industry as a coating it is possible to use the data provided by the manufacturer to establish compliance with the required standard.

Fixing and decorating two half shells, approximately 1m long is time consuming in manufacture and installation. Architects have to make a judgment call on the cost benefits. One of the main benefits is in achieving the required architectural finish and another, when the fire protection has been “inadvertently” overlooked or subject to a late revision.

  1. Interact Structural Fire protection – Easy-Over Solutions:

In order to mitigate some of the costs of manufacture and installation, Interact have designed a system of manufacture which does not require the casting to be split. The casting can be installed onto the rod without any adhesive and no further fitting.

The reduced manufacturing costs benefits pro-active decision making on the type of fire protection required, whether highly decorative or fire protection only.

The installation requires nothing more that the castings being slipped onto the rod with a hinge fork in situ. The second fork is then attached to capture the castings in position ready for packing and despatch. 

Preparation for despatch to first project in London

The casting has a 1.2mm thick stainless steel subframe set such that it is totally self-supporting both when inert and in a fire condition. This system meets BS476 part 20 and 21.

End on end connections are easily and quickly set using centralisation screws and a filler, intumescent or suitable non-fire rated, added for future decoration. There is a gap between each casting (3mm) to allow for suitable fillers. This is followed by decorating the casting which requires only the abutments to be prepared prior to painting to the required standard.

Currently any reduction of the casting thickness (circa 10mm) has very little impact on the cost of manufacture and installation. However, there is scope for reducing the thickness of the fire protection subject to architectural requirements, quantity and fire protection period.

The casting are installed with a 2mm gap, e.g. M48 tension rod – Bar dimension 45mm – I/D of casting 49mm – O/D of casting 70mm.

As the casting is not attached to the rod along its length it cannot be considered a coating. In practice the material is effectively a board, albeit reactive, by way of the intumescent material.

As the ASFP has insisted on describing the Easy-Over as a coating, it has been tested in line with the current standard, BS476 part 20 & 21. 

  1. Summary

The “Retrofit” system of manufacture and installation is a known technology. Interact Fire Protection has been manufacturing and installing castings for over fifteen years. The “Easy-Over” system employs completely new manufacturing and installation technology system and is subject to a patent application as of 28th February 2021.

N.B. Interact Structural Fire Protection is the only known manufacturer to have specifically tested small diameter rods in tension and suspension.

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Tony Tiernan

Tony Tiernan

Materials Specialist: Epoxy fire protection Castings

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