Fire pillows, a tried and tested firestop system for fire penetrations
Fire pillows are one of the oldest forms of fire stopping and one of the most cost-effective when installed correctly.
What are fire pillows?
Fire pillows are fire rated products, designed to restore the continuous fire-resistance of a wall and or floor. Promat fire pillows are used to seal penetrations, impeding the spread of fire, smoke and hot gasses in a building.
How do fire rated pillows work?
In the case of electrical cables, plumbing and various types of service openings, they allow thermal movement, preventing the temperature of the wall, floor or partition to rise no more than 140 degrees℃ + ambient room temperature.
When exposed to heat, the PROMASEAL® Fire Pillows absorb the heat caused from the fire, reducing heat transfer from the fireside to the non-fire side of the fire rated element. The ablative nature of the product makes them excellent at reducing heat transfer between fire compartments..
What are firestop pillows made of?
PROMASEAL® Fire Pillows are made from treated cloth filled with a high density, granulated fire seal mineral wool.
When and where to use fire stopping pillows?
Fire pillows are a great fire stopping system for smaller penetrations, very simple to install, and they can easily be altered when penetrations are added or changed. They are typically installed for fire sealing around cables and non-combustible pipes. Fire pillows are commonly used in office buildings, hospitals, aged care facilities and schools/universities where services openings can be regularly altered, as well as power stations and large industrial complexes where cables are carried through service tunnels.
Why use PROMASEAL® Fire Pillows
It is often more economical to use the Promat pillows as firestop systems because the required fire performance in small service penetrations can be achieved with the application of just a few pillows.
Compliant with AS 1530: Part 4 and AS 4072: Part 1, they have been tested in both walls and floors and achieve up to 4 hours of fire resistance.
Here is the list of services they’ve been approved with:
– Copper, brass and steel pipes up to 150mm nominal diameter
– Electrical cables in bundles or supported with steel cable tray
– Telecommunication cables
– Electrical busbar (through floor only)
What are the different fire stopping products
When installing pipes, HVAC, cable trays or any type of service penetrations, there is no one-fit-all fire stopping solution. All buildings are different and each construction situation may require multiple fire stopping systems depending on the environment and situation into which it is being installed. To select the correct passive fire protection product you need to understand the requirements of the National Construction Code (NCC) and know the fire resistance requirements for your project. In some cases, fire batts, fire mortar, fire mastic, fire collars or joint sealing products (fire sealant) may be a more suitable solution.
What you need to consider to select the right system based on application
1. Substrate: fire rated wall, ceiling or floor
2. Type of wall/floor (plasterboard, concrete, bricks…)
3. Thickness of the fire rated element including the number of layers
4. Service type (electrical cable, plumbing, HVAC)
6. Service size and number of services
7. Fire resistance level required
8. Opening size
If you are unsure what is the best fire stopping option for your project contact the Progressive Materials team of experts. We are the technical consultants for Promat products in Western Australia and are experts in passive fire protection.
How to install fire pillows
Ensuring compliance with the Tested system
The National Construction Code contains technical provisions for the design and construction of buildings and other structures throughout Australia with a section specifically relevant to fire rated elements (Australian Standard, AS1530 Part 4, and AS4072 Part 1).
Each passive fire protection product requires specific fire testing to establish what Fire Resistance Level (FRL) can be achieved. The use of fire pillows for service penetrations will only be compliant if they are installed exactly how they have been tested. Hence why it is so important to understand the fire rating requirements of a building and correctly install the fire pillows so that the required fire resistance level can be maintained with an approved fire stopping solution.
Read our article about fire penetrations and C3.15 to better understand the clause and its application.
Progressive Materials is the market leader in passive fire protection in Western Australia, we offer expert advice in relation to the correct specifications of compliant passive fire solutions to Australian Standards.
Installation of Promat fire pillows
PROMASEAL® Fire Pillows are available in 4 different sizes so they can adapt to all different service openings and accesses. Single size or a combination of different sizes can be used to complete the correct firestop through penetration installation. Approximately between 100 and 130 pillows will be required per m² of an open area, without services.
They are laid in courses, similar to the way bricks or blocks are laid with a minimum 50mm overlap between pillows and must be packed tightly into openings. Ensure the pillows are packed very firmly into position, using a rubber or wooden mallet or similar implement. It is a requirement to lay the pillows in the same orientation as they were tested (longways through a floor and horizontally in a wall).
Make sure all gaps near the services or edge of the penetration are sealed correctly using Promat fire sealant. To prevent removal of the pillows you can seal the top side of the installed pillows with 1-2mm of PROMASEAL© A Acrylic Sealant
You can also use a mesh guard where cable trays or bunches of cables pass through fire resistant barriers. It will need to be installed 50mm away from the services at 100mm for the cable trays, 100-150mm for steel pipes and 150-500mm for copper pipes.
Download the installation guide with detailed instructions (walls and floors for specific installations).
Our technical consultants offer training sessions for Architects, Engineers, Certifiers, Contractors on how to correctly specify, install, inspect and maintain our wide range of systems. To organise a training session, simply fill the form at the bottom of the page.
What is the largest opening in a wall or floor that I can use fire rated pillows?
A: Currently 550mm x 550mm. Please consult Progressive Materials before installation as new testing is conducted by Promat regularly.
Can I install fire rated pillows in a lightweight ceiling?
A: Yes. Promat have approvals for lightweight ceiling installations up to an FRL of 2 hours.
How do I achieve the insulation and integrity rating on D1 and D2 cable sets?
A: You can use PROMASEAL© SupaWrap or PROMASEAL© Extra Large Pillows to achieve up to 2 hours integrity and insulation
Do I need to label my fire penetration?
A: Yes, all fire penetrations should be labelled in accordance with the requirements of AS 4072: Part 1
21 Sep 2021