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Top 3 Ranked Fire-Resistant Walls & Barriers

Although fire is a friend to humankind, it is a foe that needs to be confined and controlled. An escape is important to lives, properties, and buildings. So, limit any outbreak by use of fire barrier walls. 

Fire barriers derive its meaning from the term fire-resistant that means being fire-impervious. So, fire-barrier refers to a separate subdivision of a building into sections. The branches aim at curbing the spreading of fire within the premises.

You may have heard the term used by your team-mates in construction or engineering sites. Most apartment owners consider impervious fire materials to contain fire incidents. And you may too consider when installing one in your house. Fire resistance restricts the spread of fires. And you’re also performing structural protection of your building. 

Find a detailed description of the varied fire-resistance designs as categorized by international building code IBC. They include; Fire partition, Fire barriers, and Firewalls. 

IBC advocates that the different fire-resistance designs need to be constructed as per the separating space area. Each fire-resistant wall bears a unique fire-resistance rating rule, so choose the one that best suits your building occupancy or use. 

A glance at each of these categories can help to make an informed decision

Fire Partitions

Being the least fire-restrictive wall, fire partitions bear a fire-resistance rating of one hour. Barriers are used in shopping malls, hotels, dormitories, and in multi-dwelling areas like corridors, and sleeping units. When using fire partitions, you should reduce the size of all openings. You can use a fire-rated fire door or glass to cover all ventilation. Typically, fire barriers are non-load bearing. IBC has ascertained its fire-resistance rating. Building regulation is a further reason to make it fire resistant. Partitions extend from roof to floor, from top floor to the underneath of roof sheathing. 

Fire partitions are constructed in various design specifications depending on a performance level, intended use, and required appearance. Its ratings can be minimized when used in sleeping units if an automatic sprinkler system is provided. Also, the reduction is applicable when code permits the corridor wall to have a 30-minute assembly.

Fire Barriers

NFPA denotes a fire barrier as a fire-resistant wall of assembled materials made to maintain the spread of fire.  Fire barriers can be placed indoors to hold back the spread of fires or used outdoors with a modular design to protect fire incidents from spreading.  Such as in the example of a power plant.  If a transformer catches fire, a fire barrier will prevent the fire from spreading to other transformers, thus protecting grid infrastructure.  Fire barrier ratings differ at a fire-resistance rating of between 1 to 4 hours. Other than preventing fire spread, fire barriers restrict heat flow from the area of origin.

When choosing fire barriers for your construction support, ensure that the barrier rating is adequate for the building because it will help confine a fire outbreak to one location. Ensure that all openings are covered. Fire barriers have a lower fire-resistance rating than firewalls. So, maintain construction integrity as per IBC codes.


While fire barriers keep fires out, firewalls also hold structures up while preventing fires from spreading.  Firewalls are thicker walls designed to extend through the floor vertically. Firewalls have a higher fire-resistance rating compared to that of fire partitions or barriers. They have 2-hour as the minimum fire-resistance rating and 4-hour as the maximum.

Typically, firewalls provide structural integrity by preventing wall damage on either side of the building such as in hospitals and other similar structures. For a full function of firewalls, ensure your building walls are made from non-flammable materials except when using Type V design. You should always adhere to IBC’s proposed wall codes. Keep in mind to cover all openings.

To learn more about fire-resistant assemblies and how helpful each can visit 

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