Comfort and safety

How Knauf Insulation can help improve fire safety in schools and universities

By Knauf Insulation APAC
September 30, 2021

As students get into the routine of face-to-face education after months of disruption, Knauf Insulation’s fire expert considers the essential issue of safety.

The number one priority of any school, university or educational building must be the safety of the students, staff and visitors.

Amaya Osácar, Knauf Insulation’s Fire Safety Manager, says: “There is a profound sense of trust in schools that they are safe places and this trust can never be undermined.

“That is why fire risk has to be designed out of these buildings from the beginning and the long-term management of these buildings can never be allowed to undermine safety.”

National fire regulation standards set strict safety parameters for buildings such as schools, but Amaya says real-life hazards have the potential to undermine regulation. If a fire burns down a school, simply saying ‘we followed regulations’ is not enough. There is a profound social expectation to have considered every possibility.

‘We have to minimise risk from the beginning’

“Challenges such as poor building maintenance, a change of building use, bad workmanship, the unpredictable behaviour of those using the buildings, the impact of room modification or the installation of materials that are unsafe, are hazards that increase the possibilities of a fire breaking out and make potential damages worse,” she says.

We have to keep fire risk at a minimum for these buildings from the beginning and that means ensuring the most efficient solutions are specified to achieve the most efficient fire-safe results.
Amaya Osacar - Fire Safety Manager, Knauf Insulation

At Knauf Insulation we have both the expertise and the solutions to help specifiers navigate issues of fire safety in educational buildings.

Firstly, the priority must be that fire does not start in the first place. Hazardous areas such as kitchens, generator rooms, storage areas or teaching laboratories must be made fire safe.

Secondly, preventing the spread of fire is critical to ensuring evacuation plans can be carried out rapidly and safely.

This means the effective compartmentation of key areas with fire rated walls, ceilings, and doors, paying attention to service installations and any other details that could jeopardise the compartmentation.

The performance of the façade in case of fire is also important to ensure a safe evacuation, the effective intervention of the fire services and prevent the external fire spreading to adjoining buildings or areas. Providing a high-performance façade that is comprised of non-combustible components, is an excellent way to maintain high levels of fire safety throughout the building’s service life, and is an effective measure for mitigating the spread of flame in the event of a fire.

Knauf Insulation’s fire-safe solutions

“Knauf Insulation produces a wide range of non-combustible (AS1530.1) and high-performance solutions for all building applications including Rock Mineral Wool and Glass Mineral Wool rolls and slabs,” says Amaya.

“Our non-combustible solutions do not contribute to the spread of fire, nor to the increase of temperature in case of fire and they do not produce any smoke or burning droplets.”

The purpose of fire-rated systems is to contain fire and guarantee a safe evacuation of occupants and provide safe areas for firefighters during an intervention.

Ensuring essential areas are protected from fire can be key to quickly restoring the use of a school after a blaze has been extinguished.

Fire resistance

Non-combustible, fire-resistant insulation solutions help inhibit fire spread, maintain structural integrity and limit the spread of fire and smoke from one area to another, providing safe buildings for occupants, and added peace of mind for specifiers. The vast majority of glasswool insulation solutions from Knauf Insulation have been tested in accordance with the stringent AS 1530.1 Combustibility Test for Materials and have been deemed non-combustible when it comes to both reaction to fire and fire resistance and will prevent the involvement of the building fabric in a fire and will prevent fire spread.

The fire classification of our glasswool products removes any uncertainty for specifiers and designers about the fire performance and associated dangers with system variability.

Knauf Insulation’s fire safety expertise

Knauf Insulation also offers expertise to specifiers and designers who want to know more about the specific challenges of the building.

“Our customers are naturally concerned about making the correct choices. That is why in every country where we sell our solutions, we have experts who can provide the specialist knowledge they need” says Amaya.

We accompany our customers and provide tailormade advice for specific challenges. We offer optimal solutions that meet the highest levels of performance and help them to make the right choices.

Headline building fires around the world have propelled building fire safety to the top of every construction agenda and to the heart of national regulation worldwide.

“The obligation of all building owners and designers remains constant — we need to design fire risk out of our schools to ensure the safety of the children who use them,” says Amaya.


For more information

To learn more about how Knauf Insulation can help improve the fire resilience of buildings explore our Non-Combustible Solutions or download the whitepaper.