Fire Rated Downlights
Do I Need Fire Rated Downlights?
This is an often-asked question. Here I will explain how they work, when you should use them and when you must use them. Fire rated downlights are sometimes referred to as fireproof. This leads many people to think that these downlights are designed in such a way that they cannot catch fire. This is not the case, as all of the downlights that we supply are ‘F’ rated, which means that they can be mounted on a normally flammable surface, and will not catch fire in any event.
The fire rated downlights that we supply are at least 60 minute rated and comply with all building regulations concerning minimum fire and acoustic ratings.
They are normally supplied in two main types, those with and without a can. Those with a can are fully enclosed in a steel casing with an intumescent strip around the area where the fitting meets the ceiling. Those without a can are open above but again have the intumescent strip. Of the two, the fully enclosed fire rated type is the most desirable; however, where ceiling space is limited, those without a can may be used as it takes up far less space.
Intumescent Strips and Fire Rated Downlighting
In case of a fire, the intumescent strip reacts to the heat by expanding to such an extent that it seals the fitting completely and blocks the hole. This prevents the spread of fire between floors through the ceiling cut outs.
For commercial applications, new builds and for properties that are rented out, all downlights must be fire rated when installed in a ceiling with living accommodation above. The minimum fire rating for downlights is generally 30 minutes but 60 or 90 minutes is desirable.
In other situations, all new installations must comply with the above but we would always recommend using fire rated downlights when there is living accommodation above. If in doubt, contact your local council building regulations office who will advise you.
To assist you further in making an informed choice, please see our lighting information page, where you will find an article entitled Recessed Downlights Explained.
If you require any further help or advice on selecting fire rated downlights, please call 0151 650 2138 or send us a message using the contact us form for friendly, honest and down to earth information.
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