Fire Safety Glossary


This glossary was prepared by Siderise. Terms are specific to and in general used by professionals, agencies and rescue services. Extracts have been taken from British Standards, Fire Safety Regulations, Sound Insulation Regulations and Legislations, as well as providing information through our own experience and knowledge from our Frequently asked Questions.  

Terms have been listed in alphabetical and is intended to be used as a reference document. This publication does not include all the necessary provisions. These notes should be used for guidance only and should not be used as part of your fire safety management policy. If in any doubt, seek advice from a professional fire safety consultant. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronically, mechanically, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise.


Siderise disclaims liability for any personal injury, property, or other damages of any nature whatsoever, whether special, indirect, consequential or compensatory, directly or indirectly resulting from the publication, use of, or reliance on this document. Siderise also makes no guarantee or warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of any information published herein. In making this document available, Siderise is not undertaking to render professional or other services for or on behalf of any person or entity. Nor is Siderise undertaking to perform any duty owed by any person or entity to someone else. Anyone using this document should rely on his or her own independent judgment or, as appropriate, seek the advice of a competent professional in determining the exercise of reasonable care in any given circumstances.


Ablative Batt

A material made from mineral stone wool with an ablative coating which further improves its fire-resistant properties.

Active Fire Protection

Method(s) used to reduce or prevent the spread and effects of fire, heat or smoke by virtue of detection and/or suppression of the fire and which require a certain amount of motion and/or response to be activated.

ADB (England and Wales)

Refers to the appropriate or specified version of Approved Document B, Fire Safety. Approved Document B provides practical guidance on common building situations about how to meet the requirements of Part B of the Building Regulations 2010. Current versions as at April 2024  include Volume 1: Dwellings, 2019 Edition incorporating 2020 and 2022 amendments – for use in England; Volume 2: Buildings other than dwellings, 2019 Edition incorporating 2020 and 2022 amendments; – for use in England, and;  Volume 1: Dwellinghouses, 2006 Edition incorporating 2010, 2016 and 2020 amendments– for use in Wales & Volume 2: Buildings other than dwellings, 2006 Edition incorporating 2010, 2016 and 2020 amendments– for use in Wales.

ADE (England and Wales)

Approved Document E provides practical guidance on the resistance to the passage of sound in domestic buildings, in schools and flats in order to meet the requirements of Part E of The Building Regulations 2010. This guidance applies to new buildings, to alterations to pre-existing premises and to buildings being converted to flats. 

The document provides guidance on sound proofing, including the transmission of sounds between walls, ceilings, windows and floors. It covers unwanted sound travel within different areas of a building, including common areas within schools and buildings containing flats, and in-between connecting buildings.

Current versions include Approved Document E 2003 edition incorporating 2004, 2010, 2013 and 2015 amendments – for use in England, and Approved Document E 2003 edition incorporating 2004 and 2010 amendments – for use in Wales.


Non-metallic substance capable of joining material (BS ISO 6707-1). A discrete product used either in a thin controlled layer or as discrete dabs or lines for bonding two components, for instance the insulation product to the wall substrate.

Air Transfer Grille

A device which allows the passage of ventilation air in normal conditions through a fire door, wall or partition; but closes automatically to prevent the passage of fire in a fire condition for a stipulated period.

Approved Document (AD) 

A practical guide on ways to comply with the functional requirements in The Building Regulations 2010 for common building situations. See the full series of Approved Documents for England and for Wales.


Association for Passive Fire Protection – the UKs leading trade association for the passive fire protection sector. Produce advisory notes in order to provide industry guidance.

Automatic Fire and Smoke Damper

A device which allows the passage of ventilation air in normal conditions through a duct, fire wall or partition; but closes automatically to prevent the passage of smoke and fire in a fire condition for a stipulated period. Response to smoke is typically achieved by linking to the automatic fire detection system.

Available Safe Egress Time (ASET)

The time from the start of a fire and the time that the condition in the building and egress route is not tenable for occupants. ASET is used for the fire design strategy especially when considering performance-based solutions.



Rapid flaming combustion caused by the sudden introduction of air into a confined oxygen-deficient space that contains hot products of incomplete combustion.

Backing Board 

Non-combustible board used to support, shield or insulate a specimen in a fire test under specified conditions.

Back Ventilation

The ventilation of a cold facade cavity to eliminate moisture.


A sample installation defining and demonstrating the detailing and quality of a proposed solution.

Blank Penetration Seal

A seal for an aperture through a fire-separating element, to maintain the fire resistance of a fire-separating element for the duration of the specified period without incorporating penetrating services.

Bonded Glazing

A type of curtain walling where the glass is primarily retained by a perimeter sealant and maybe with a supplementary mechanical restraint.

Breather Membrane

Membrane with water vapour resistance greater than 0.25 MNs/g and less than 0.6 MNs/g (BS 5250:2011). A layer within the construction that allows the passage of air and water vapour but is resistant to the passage of liquid water. This is sometimes used within a rainscreen wall to prevent water from reaching the insulation or other parts of the backing wall whilst allowing the wall to breathe.

Brick Slip

Lightweight, thin facing applied to a built-up wall to give the impression of a traditional brick wall finish. The brick slips themselves may be thin clay bricks or a synthetic alternative.

Brick/Wall Tie

Used to join the two leaves of a cavity wall together and ensure they remain connected and stable.


See The Building Safety Act.


See The Building Safety Regulator.

Building Bulletin 93 (BB93)

It sets out minimum performance standards for the acoustics of school buildings and describes the normal means of demonstrating compliance with the Building Regulations. It also provides guidance in support of the School Premises Regulations (2012) and the Independent School Standards (2013).

Building Control Body (BCB)

The body responsible for enforcing Building Regulations on a project and assisting with compliance by giving feedback on plans and providing site inspections. A term used to include both Local Authority Building Control and Approved Inspectors.

Building Envelope

Physical separator between the internal conditioned and external unconditioned environment of a building for resistance to air, water, heat, light and noise transfer.

Building Hardware (ironmongery)

Fittings designed for incorporation in a fire-resisting door set and which contribute to ensuring that the fire-resisting door (when closed) resists the passage of fire and/or gaseous products of combustion. Such fittings include hinges, pivots, door closing devices, latches, locks, and door furniture (lever handles, knobs).

Building Information Modelling (BIM)

A process for creating and managing information on a construction project throughout its whole life cycle. As part of this process, a coordinated digital description of every aspect of the built asset is developed, using a set of appropriate technology. It is likely that this digital description includes a combination of information-rich 3D models and associated structured data such as product, execution and handover information.

Building Regulations

Regulations which apply to the safe design and construction of new buildings and refurbishment of existing structures in compliance to all aspects of the regulations, including fire safety. Within these regulations reference is made to both British (BS) and European (BS EN) fire standards.  Note that England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all have their own guidance documents.

Building Safety Inspection

A Building safety inspection will result in a fire engineer’s, or Chartered Building Surveyor’s, report which confirms whether your building meets the new building safety guidelines or will tell us what works are required to be carried out if it doesn’t. You may also hear these inspections referred to as ‘consolidated advice notes’ inspections.

Building Safety Programme

Involves investigations into the materials used in the construction of a building and the delivery of remedial works where needed to make sure the building is safe.

Built Environment

Building or other structure.

Built-up Wall

Layered construction typically consisting of an airtight back wall with an outer layer of insulation and external cladding/covering. In the context of this document, built-up walls refer to walls with EWIS or a rainscreen system as the external covering.


CA Marking

The UKCA (UK Conformity Assessment) mark is the new UK product marking that will be required for certain products being placed on the market in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland). It covers most products that previously required the CE mark. (see CE Mark).

Cassette Construction

A curtain walling construction comprising glazed or infilled sub-frames inserted into a framework of usually vertical and/or horizontal profiles.

Cavity Barrier

Barriers used to close concealed spaces and prevent penetration of smoke or flame to restrict the movement of fire within a building. Cavity walls and ceiling voids would be considered concealed spaces and would generally be fitted with cavity barriers during construction. 

According to both BS 9991 and Approved Document B2, cavity barriers are required to have a minimum 30 minutes integrity and 15 minutes insulation (BS 9991 Figure 24 and Table 3). Both documents also allow cavity barriers to provide just the 30 minutes integrity (clause 19.2 of BS 9991) and cite 0.5mm thick steel and 38mm timber as being a suitable cavity barrier material for the perimeter of windows. However, advice and substantiation should be sought from a fire engineer prior to any decision regarding omitting the 15 min fire insulation requirement from a cavity barrier element.

Cavity Closer

Cavity barrier located to close a cavity at any opening in a cavity wall, such as that formed around a window, door or perimeter of the wall, against the penetration of smoke or flame (note: it may also have thermal insulation and moisture resistance properties). For cavity walls constructed from two leaves of masonry at least 75mm, closures around the cavity do not need to achieve a specific performance in relation to fire resistance (see Diagram 8.2 of ADB1 for England).

Cavity Tray

A damp-proof membrane or pre-formed tray that bridges a wall cavity to lead moisture out to the external face, and that rises from the outside of the cavity upwards at least 150mm.

Cavity Wall

A wall formed by an inner and outer wall (or 'skins') with a hollow space in-between them.


See The Code for Construction Product Information

CDM Regulations

Regulations that are intended to protect persons from health and safety risks from construction work through a systematic framework for management of those risks.

CE Marking

Marking of a construction product under the Construction Products Regulation. If the intended use, the characteristics and the performance of the product is defined by a harmonised European product standard (hEN), then CE marking is mandatory. If it is defined by a European Assessment Document (EAD) then it is voluntary and it may be possible to CE mark through an European Technical Assessment (ETA).

Charring Rate

A term used to calculate the rate at which timber is converted to char.  The rate will depend on the type of timber, density, moisture, fire severity and oxygen supply.

Chimney Effect – (Stack effect)

In ventilated facades, the chimney effect is the phenomenon of air inside the cavity moving upwards due to the difference in temperature/pressure inside and out of the system. Air typically ingresses through the base of the façade and through panel joints (depending on system) and egresses through the top. This is a desired effect as it helps to drain any moisture out of the system. It can also increase the speed of fire spreading, so it is imperative to use cavity barriers and open state cavity barriers to restrict this.


A generic term with reference to an element, product, assembly or system used within a wall construction. This term should be used and referenced accordingly to avoid misinterpretation.


A profiled connector shaped for installation within the hollow cavity of a transom for connection to a mullion.


Cross Laminated Timber

Cold Smoke

Smoke at ambient temperature.


A pipe closure device incorporating an outer casing which acts as a restraint for an intumescent material, enabling the collar to be either surface fixed to the fire-separating element or incorporated within it.


Materials which are capable of being ignited and burned under specified conditions. Reaction to fire of materials can be classified using EN 13501-1.  Also see non-combustible.

Common Balcony 

A walkway, open to the air on one or more sides, forming part of the escape route from more than one flat or maisonette.


The measurement of a materials capability to burn, this assesses whether a material has the propensity to burn. Non-combustible materials are usually highly inert. Reaction to fire of materials can be classified using EN 13501-1.

Compartment (fire) 

A building or area of a building, comprising one or more rooms, spaces or storeys, constructed to slow the spread of fire to or from another part of the same building, or an adjoining building. The basis of compartmentation is to subdivide buildings into areas of manageable risk, to provide adequate means of escape, and to provide fire separation for adjoining buildings.


A means of preventing the spread of fire within a building and providing adequate means of escape by containing it in the compartment of origin.

Compartment Wall and / or Floor 

A fire-resisting wall or floor that separates one fire compartment from another.


The capability to apply or use related knowledge, skills and abilities required to perform ‘critical work functions’ or tasks.

Construction Products Regulation (CPR)

Lays down harmonised rules for the marketing of construction products in the EU. The Regulation provides a common technical language to assess the performance of construction products.

Curtain Walling

Typically, a non-load bearing wall positioned on the outside of a building enclosing it. A wall system typically comprising framing, glazing and opaque panels is commonly referred to as a ‘curtain wall’. However, other forms of non-loadbearing wall construction may also be referred to as ‘curtain walling’.


Centre for Windows and Cladding Technology – an industry funded information provider and trainer in the field of building envelopes and glazing.


Damp-proof Course (DPC)

Layer of sheeting, masonry units or other material used in masonry to resist the passage of water.

Declaration of Performance (DoP)

A key part of the Construction Products Regulation (CPR). It provides information on the performance of a product – every construction product covered by a European harmonised standard, or for which a European Technical Assessment has been issued, needs this Declaration and must be CE marked.

Design Approval

Location, type and fixing of all horizontal and vertical fire breaks outlined in the design drawings as part of the fire strategy plan agreed with the project team and subsequently submitted to the Building Control Body (BCB).

Design Fire

A quantitative description of assumed fire characteristics within the design fire scenario. 

Design fire scenario

A specific fire scenario on which a deterministic fire safety engineering analysis will be conducted.

Double Skin Curtain Walling

A curtain walling kit comprising of inner and outer skins and an air cavity, the whole designed and supported as an integrated system fulfilling the functions of the curtain walling kit.

Drywall (Plasterboard)

Generic term used to describe a range of metal and timber framed assemblies clad with gypsum plasterboard and other board materials for standard dry lining, partition and ceilings which involve little or no wet operations.



Combined EI rating refers to both integrity and insulation, and always consists of the lowest value. For example, if a product has a tested E performance of 60 minutes and I performance of 30 minutes, it can be referred to is EI30.

European Classification System (Euroclass)

A European classification of a product or systems reaction to fire performance measuring a comprehensive set of characteristics, this also has two sub classifications for smoke and burning droplets. Results are classified in accordance with EN 13501-1.

European Technical Assessment (ETA)

Technical assessment of the fitness for use of a product for an intended use, based on the fulfilment of the Essential Requirements for building works for which the product is used. An ETA can be issued based on a European Assessment Document (EAD).

European Assessment Document (EAD)

Document used as the basis for preparing ETAs, which contains specific requirements for the products within the meaning of the Basic Works Requirements, the test procedures, the methods of assessing and judging the results of the tests, the inspection and conformity procedures, written by EOTA (the European Organisation for Technical Approvals) on the basis of a mandate received from the Commission.

External Wall System

The external wall system is often referred to as the EWS. This is the combination of materials used to make up the outer layer of your building. It can include blockwork (e.g. bricks), cladding, metal frames (including those that support cladding), render and balconies. 

Exposed Surface

The surface area subjected to heat / fire.



Façade refers to the external face of a structure, and services both aesthetic and functional purposes. For example, common façade types include curtain walling, masonry and cladding.


A process of combustion characterised by the emission of heat accompanied by smoke and / or flame.

Fire Barriers

Non-combustible elements designed to limit fire spread in a non-loadbearing façade, installed where there is a requirement to form a barrier around an opening. See Cavity Barriers and Firestops for more information.

Fire Breaks

As per Fire Barriers.

Fire Compartment 

A building, or part of a building, constructed to restrict the spread of fire to or from another part of the same building or an adjoining building.

Fire Damper

A device which allows the passage of ventilation air in normal conditions through a duct but closes automatically to prevent the passage of a fire in a fire condition for a stipulated time.

Fire Performance

The performance of the product / material / assembly in a fire. This is determined by Reaction to Fire (EN 13501-1) and Fire Resistance (EN 13501-2).

Fire Protection

Measures Design features, systems, equipment or structural measures taken within a building to reduce danger to people and property if fire occurs.

Fire Resistance 

The ability of an element of structure or product to maintain its stability for a specific period as determined by the loadbearing capacity (for structural elements only), integrity and / or insulation against heat transfer specified in the fire resistance test. Results are given in accordance with EN 13501-2.

Fire-resisting Composite Panel

A fully bonded steel faced panel with mineral fibre or other non-combustible core which is used for cladding external walls of steel building structures to form a separating element from one building to another and for high-risk areas within buildings to form a separating element. It is designed to restrict the spread of fire from the compartment or building of origin for a stipulated period.

Fire Resistance: Heat Transmission

Contains flames and inflammable gas for a short period of time but does not prevent the transmission of heat to the other side of the construction (example: wired glass).

Fire-resisting Partition.

An internal non load bearing vertical dividing structure designed to resist the spread of fire, heat, and the products of combustion for a stipulated period. Such a partition can include a glazed section or a fire door.

Fire-resisting Suspended Ceiling

A suspended ceiling designed to contribute to the overall fire resistance of a floor assembly or to prevent the collapse of steel beams supporting a floor or roof, for a stipulated period. It may also provide fire resistance as a membrane in the same way as a partition.

Fire Risk Assessment 

Overall process of identifying hazards and evaluating the risks to people and / or property arising from them, taking account of existing risk controls and / or proposed risk controls.

Fire Risk Assessor 

Person who carries out, and documents the significant findings of, a fire risk assessment. 


See The Fire Safety Act

Fire Safety Engineer 

Person suitably qualified and experienced in fire safety engineering.

Fire Safety Engineering

The application of scientific and engineering principles, rules (codes), and expert judgement, based on an understanding of the phenomena and effects of fire and of the reaction and behaviour of people to fire, to protect people, property and the environment from the destructive effects of fire.

Fire Safety Manual 

Record of all design, procedural and management issues and events that relate to the fire safety of a building.

Fire Safety Objective 

Specified (or specifiable) goal intended to be achieved by a fire protection measure(s).

Fire Safety Strategy 

Several planned and co-ordinated arrangements designed to reduce the risk of fire and to ensure the safety of people if there is a fire.

Fire Scenario

A qualitative description of the course of a fire with respect to time, identifying key events that characterize the studied fire and differentiate it from other possible fires.

Fire Separating Element

A compartment wall, compartment floor, cavity barrier and construction enclosing a protected escape route and/or a place of special fire hazard.

Firestops (Linear Joints / Perimeter Seals)

Passive fire protection element that is required to seal or close a discontinuity or imperfection of fit between building elements that are required to be fire resistant (e.g. compartment floors/walls) or is installed at any joint or junction in the fire protection element. Firestops maintain compartmentation and compartment lines – e.g. the interface between the floor slab and the façade.

Firestops must provide the same degree of insulation and resistance to the passage of flame and smoke as the building elements into which they are installed. For example, stopping that is installed between a slab edge and an external wall must have the same insulation properties and resistance to the passage of flame and smoke as the floor slab (e.g. 120 min integrity and 120 min insulation).

Firestopping (Penetration Seals)

Sealing products that take up imperfections of fit or design tolerance between the fire-resisting fixed elements of a building, to restrict the passage of fire and smoke and consider deviation and deflection. They continue to always take up the imperfections of fit and have the same fire rating as the fixed elements of which they form a part. In reaction to a fire condition they may swell, spread or deform to achieve their functional performance. These are often used around service penetrations such as cable trays or pipe runs

Fire Test

A fire test is a means of determining whether the performance of a product, material or system against the minimum criteria as set out in a building code or other applicable legislation/guidance.


Mechanical connecting device that fixes one component to another.


A thin piece of impervious material installed to prevent the passage of water into a structure from a joint or as part of a weather resistant barrier.


A temperature driven event when the flame has grown into the fully developed stage. The time from the start of the fire until the flashover is reached is often referred to as ‘time-to-flashover’.


Insulation Criterion (I)

The criterion by which insulation against heat transfer is assessed in a fire resistance test. It is determined by the period taken for the material to rise by 180°C against ambient temperature. It is displayed in minutes, e.g. 2hrs would be I 120. 

Integrity (E)

Ability of a separating element, when exposed to fire on one side, to prevent the passage of flames and hot gases or the occurrence of flames on the unexposed side, for a stated period in a standard fire resistance test. It is displayed in minutes, e.g. 2hrs would be E 120. 


Reactive material which is specifically formulated to provide a chemical reaction upon heating such that their physical form changes (e.g. expands) therefore providing fire protection by thermal insulative and cooling effects. This prohibits the passage of smoke and / or flame – for example, open state cavity barriers or around perimeter doors.

Intumescent Seal 

Material with the property of swelling or foaming when exposed to heat which is designed to maintain the integrity of a fire separating element at the position where services pass through.


Lamella Board

A high strength, non-combustible stone wool insulation slab specifically designed primarily for fire breaks in external wall insulation systems. Lamella refers to the engineered direction of the mineral wool fibre direction to achieve multiple performance characteristics.

Life & Health Hazard 

Potential injury or loss of life to be expected from the effects of exposure to toxic effluent and heat in a fire. 

Life & Health Risk 

Expected extent of injury or loss of life from a fire, expressed in terms of probability.


A beam placed across the top of an opening in a wall. These openings can include doors and windows. The primary purpose of a lintel is to support the weight of the structures above them.


In terms of fire resistance, in addition to Integrity and Insulation performances, there is also a tested load-bearing capacity (R), and this determines how long a product can maintain its load-bearing function during a fire. Typically, our cavity barriers and firestops do not offer a loadbearing function and therefore have no R value.


Management of Fire Safety 

Tasks to be carried out by a defined individual or individuals with appropriate powers and resources to ensure that the passive, active and procedural fire safety systems within the building are always working properly.

Mineral wool

Fibrous materials that are formed by spinning or drawing molten mineral or rock materials such as slag and ceramics to form a quilt or slab material, used to reduce the rate of heat transfer and / or to improve acoustic performance.

Minimum Ignition Time 

Duration of exposure of a material to a defined ignition source required for the initiation of combustion under specified conditions.

Movement Joint

Joint permitting free movement between two or more building components.

Masonry Support Angles (MSA)

Fixed back to the structural frame to create a horizontal ledge, which provides structural support to external masonry by distributing load evenly across masonry walls, preventing excessive strain or stress. Due to their location, they often clash with our cavity barriers in masonry facades.


A vertical framing member of a curtain walling. May be seen as “Horizontal Mullion” when referring to a Transom (see ‘Transom’).



Not capable of undergoing combustion under specific conditions and the material does not contribute to a fire. The result is classified as ‘A1’ to EN 13501-2. Reaction to fire of materials can be classified using EN 13501-1. Also see ‘combustible’.


Open State Cavity Barrier (OSCB)

Open state cavity barriers are required to perform the same function as a cavity barrier (see cavity barrier) but are also required to facilitate ventilation and drainage in ambient conditions, which is done so via an air gap between the front of the barrier and the rear of the facade. They feature an intumescent leading edge when heated, expands and exfoliate to seal the cavity to limit the spread of fire for prescribed period of time.


Passive Fire Protection

A group of permanent physical systems designed to reduce or prevent the spread and effects of fire, heat or smoke by means of design and/or the appropriate use of materials, not requiring detection and/or activation upon detection of fire.


An aperture in a fire-separating element with one or more services passing through.

Penetration Seal

Products that maintain the integrity and insulation (if required) of fire-resisting separating elements where services pass through the element. They are designed to allow for any movement and to close any opening that may be expected to occur in a fire situation. For this document, penetration seals have been included under Firestopping products. 

Protected Shaft

A shaft which enables persons, air, or objects to pass from one compartment to another, and which is enclosed in a fire-resisting construction.

Performance-based Approach

A design approach based on utilising objectives and / or safety goals rather than following a pre-set standard.  The solution, which is deemed as safe as a code solution, needs to be planned, designed and approved by a competent fire engineer.

Performance-based Design

A design that is engineered to achieve specified objectives and performance criteria.

Perimeter Seal

Horizontal joint between the curtain walling and adjacent construction designed to give continuity at both the air and water barriers of the wall. This definition also applies to other similar situations, for example a window within a back wall.

Prescriptive Approach

A design approach which follows a pre-set standard or a ‘deemed-to-satisfy’ solution for building compliance which can provide an acceptable level of safety. This can be approved by a competent building control professional.


Rainscreen Façade System

Outer panels of water-shedding metal, aluminium composite material, or other materials, which are attached and supported by bracketry on the outside of the existing façade, as in the case of refurbishment, or a new structural wall as in the case of new build.

Rate of Combustion 

Rate at which fuel is combusted by mass.

Reaction to Fire 

Response of a material in contributing by its own decomposition to a fire to which it is exposed under specified conditions. Results are classified to EN 13501-1.

Relevant Building

In accordance with Approved Document B, it is a building with a story (excluding any roof top plant areas or any story consisting exclusively of plant rooms) that is at least 18 meters above ground level and which either:

  • Contains one or more dwellings
  • Contains an institution
  • Contains a room for residential purposes

Above ground level is measured from the lowest ground level adjoining the outside of a building to the top of the floor surface of the story.

Responsible Person 

The person ultimately responsible for fire safety as defined in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Under the Building Safety Act 2022 the role of Principal Accountable Person (PAP) was introduced.

Relevant Fire Safety Legislation

- (in England and Wales) Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

- (in Scotland) combination of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 (as amended) (4) and the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006.

- (in Northern Ireland) Fire and Rescue Services (Northern Ireland) October 2006, together with the Fire Safety Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010.

Relevant Persons 

Any person lawfully on the premises and any person in the immediate vicinity but does not include fire-fighters carrying out fire-fighting duties. 

Risk of Fire Spread 

Probability of a fire, once started, growing to a size and character that could produce life risk or property risk or both.

Risk Profile 

Means of categorising the risks for a range of building types of occupancies based on the building parameters, internal processes, occupancy profile and the potential rate of fire growth.

Robust Details Limited 

The robust details scheme is the alternative to pre-completion sound testing for satisfying Part E of the Building Regulations. Using the scheme avoids the uncertainties of pre-completion sound testing.

Routine Inspection 

Check at regular intervals of the fire prevention and fire protection arrangements.



Seal component fitted into a joint to prevent the passage of dust, moisture and gasses.


Material applied in an unformed state which once cured or dried has the adhesive and cohesive properties to seal a joint.

Sealant Tape

Impregnated foam or non-curing sealing tape used in place of a wet applied sealant.

Section 2 (Scotland)

Section 2 of The Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004 deals with fire safety. The aims are to protect life, assist the fire and rescue services and to further the achievement of sustainable development. Practical advice can be found in Section 2 of the Domestic and Non Domestic Technical Handbooks.

Section 5 (Scotland)

Section 5 of The Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004 deals with the reduction of sound through separating building elements located between domestic buildings. The purpose of Section 5 is to protect the residents of a dwelling from noise in other areas of the same building or an attached building. Practical advice can be found in Section 5 of the Domestic and Non Domestic Technical Handbooks.

Sheathing Board

Board attached to the outer surface of the studs in a framed backing wall. Sheathing boards provide a flat and stable surface onto which insulation / membranes can be fixed. The sheathing board also provides structural stability to the framing system, particularly with regard to lateral torsional buckling.

Significant Finding 

- A feature of the premises, from which the fire hazards and persons at risk are identified. 

- The actions you have taken or will take to remove or reduce the chance of a fire occurring or the spread of fire and smoke. 

- The actions people need to take in case of fire. 

- The necessary information, instruction and training needed and how it will be given.


Dirty air; a visible suspension in air of solid and / or liquid particles resulting from incomplete combustion in varying densities and toxicities. 

Smoke Control 

Measures to control the spread or movement of smoke and fire gases within a building to protect the structure, the contents, the means of escape, or to assist fire-fighting operations. 

Smoke Damper 

Mechanical device which, when closed, prevents smoke passing through an aperture within a duct or structure.

Sound-Insulating Materials

Sound insulation materials are a measure to prevent sound waves from permeating. Sound insulation is demonstrated by the sound transmission loss expressed by the difference of decibels between the incident sound and permeated sound. The higher the numeral is, the better the sound insulating property is with regards to airborne sound transmission.

Spandrel Area

Area of a curtain walling between two horizontal zones, usually between glazing and concealing the edge of the floor slab.

Spandrel Panel

Panel within the spandrel area.


A phenomenon which occurs in concrete and cementitious materials when exposed to extreme temperatures causing to chip and split. When exposed to high temperatures water trapped within concrete converts into vapour, the accumulated vapour pressure exceeds the tensile strength of concrete and induces spalling.


A profiled connecting piece shaped to provide continuity between two lengths of hollow profile of a framing member.

Stone wool

An insulation material manufactured predominantly from volcanic rock, specifically basalt. The ‘recipe’ (charge) varies between manufacturers but other ‘ingredients’ typically include blast furnace and steel slags as well as dolomite. These are heated to over 1,000°C, melted together and then spun (fiberized) into fine strands. These strands are sprayed with a ‘glue’ (binder) to form a mat of insulation before being ‘baked’ (cured) in an oven to create the finished product. Rock mineral wool has a high melting point, insulates through a wide temperature range, is an excellent acoustic insulant, and can be manufactured in a broad range of densities to suit many applications.

Stick System

Stick curtain walling involves assembling individual components (such as mullions and transoms) on site and then installing the glazing panels into these components.

Structural Fire Protection 

Products used to insulate the structural frame of a building or other construction, that are intended to reduce the effects of a fire and retain its required load bearing strength or limit the core temperature for a stipulated period.

Structural Framing System (SFS)

Series of channels and studs used to form the back wall of a built-up wall.  SFS may be used as infill between floor slabs or continuously fitted outside of the structural frame of the building.


Technical Guidance Document E (Ireland) 

Technical Guidance Document E pertains to sound in buildings. It provides guidance on how to achieve sound insulation and acoustic performance in various types of structures.

Technical Handbooks (Scotland)

Issued by Scottish Ministers for the purpose of providing practical guidance with respect to the requirements 

of the provisions of the building regulations under a notice given in accordance with Section 4(2) of the Building (Scotland) Act 2003.

Temperature-time Curve

The time-related variation of temperature prescribed in a specified way during a standard fire resistance test.

The Building Safety Act

This Act makes reforms to give residents and homeowners more rights, powers, and protections – so homes across the country are safer.

It delivers far-reaching protections for qualifying leaseholders from the costs associated with remediating historical building safety defects, and an ambitious toolkit of measures that will allow those responsible for building safety defects to be held to account.

It overhauls existing regulations, creating lasting change and makes clear how residential buildings should be constructed, maintained and made safe.

The Act creates three new bodies to provide effective oversight of the new regime: the Building Safety Regulator, the National Regulator of Construction Products and the New Homes Ombudsman.

Together these changes mean owners will manage their buildings better, and the home-building industry has the clear, proportionate framework it needs to deliver more, and better, high-quality homes.

The Building Safety Regulator

Building Safety Regulator in England is part of HSE and was established under The Building Safety Act 2022 to:

  • Regulate higher-risk buildings
  • Raise safety standards of all buildings
  • Help professionals in design, construction, and building control, to improve their competence

As the Building Safety Regulator, HSE is a statutory consultee for planning applications which involve relevant buildings in England. Before planning permission is granted the BSR checks that buildings' designs address fire safety.

The Code for Construction Product Information (CCPI)

The Code for Construction Product Information (CCPI) is a set of guidelines developed by the CPA’s Marketing Integrity Group to ensure that construction product manufacturers provide clear, accurate, up-to-date, accessible, and unambiguous information. The CCPI prioritizes building safety and aims to drive higher standards in the presentation of construction product information. The Code was finalized and published in September 2021 and is expected to help restore trust in the construction process and make it safer and more robust.

The Fire Safety Act

The Fire Safety Act clarifies the scope of the Fire Safety Order to make clear it applies to the structure, external walls (including cladding and balconies) and individual flat entrance doors between domestic premises and the common parts of a multi-occupied residential building.

If you are a Responsible Person, you must consider these parts when conducting fire risk assessments, if you have not done so already.

Thermal Break

High performance thermal insulators used between horizontal and vertical connection of internal and external elements to prevent thermal or cold bridging.

Thermal Insulation

The ability of a separating element, when exposed to fire on one side, to restrict the transmission of heat.

Third-party Certification

A conformity assessment process carried out by a body that is independent of both supplier and customer organisations.  It provides confirmation that products and services have met and will continue to meet the requirements of specified standards and other normative documents. 

Third-party Fire Risk Assessor 

Independent fire risk assessor, who is not an employee of the duty holder, but who is contracted to carry out a fire risk assessment on behalf of a duty holder on whom legislation imposes a requirement for a fire risk assessment.


A horizontal framing member of a curtain walling.


Unacceptable Hazard 

Degree of hazard that is regarded by society in general as too great to be allowed to occur.

Unexposed Side 

Surface area of the element, which is remote from the fire in a fire test of a separating element.

Unitized System

Unitised curtain walling involves prefabricating larger sections of the curtain wall (known as “units”) off-site and then installing these pre-made units onto the building structure.

Unprotected Area 

Part of a side or external wall of a building having a lower fire resistance than that required for elements of structure of the building or clad with combustible material such that if ignited it would produce significant thermal radiation.


Person responsible for or having effective control over fire safety provisions adopted in or appropriate to the premises or the building.

U Value

The measure of the heat transmission through a building part (such as a roof, wall or window) or a given thickness of a material (such as insulation) with lower numbers indicating better insulating properties.



The process of determining the degree to which a calculation method is an accurate representation of the real world, or of a specific fire test, from the perspective of the intended uses of the calculation method.

Vapour Control Layer (VCL)

A layer comprising a material or coating with greater resistance to vapour transmission than the other layers of the wall and designed to control vapour movement through the wall.

Ventilated Façade

A facade construction with outside air ventilated cavity with thermal insulation and air sealing behind the ventilated cavity.


Warm Façade

A facade construction which is thermally insulated and sealed against outside air.


A representation, especially in writing, made by a seller or company to a purchaser of a product or service that a refund, repair, or replacement will be made if the product or service proves defective or unsatisfactory, especially within a given time.

Where Necessary 

The Fire Safety Order requires that fire precaution should be provided and maintained where necessary. What this means is that the fire precautions you must provide are those which are needed to reasonably protect relevant persons from risks to them in case of fire. This will be determined by the findings of your risk assessment, including the preventative measures you have or will have taken. In practice, it is very unlikely that a properly conducted fire risk assessment, which considers all the matters relevant for the safety of persons in case of fire, will conclude that no fire precautions are necessary.

Wind Load

A randomly applied dynamic load. The intensity of the wind pressure on the surface of a structure depends on wind velocity, air density, orientation of the structure, area of contact surface, and shape of the structure. The applied load can be both positive and negative depending upon the factors above.

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