Standardisation move will protect against fire damage

Intumescent coatings manufacturers agree to provide same information on all products by 2008

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By  Tim Wood Published  July 22, 2006

Fire damage in steel-framed buildings in the Middle East should be reduced now the UAE’s leading manufacturers of passive fire protection have agreed to standardise data for all products. Eighteen manufacturers, who between them provide 95% of all intumescent coatings sold in the UAE, have pledged that by 2008 every one of its products will contain the same information. If intumescent coatings are not used on steel-framed buildings, those attacked by fire will soften and weaken, while concrete will degrade and crack if unprotected. Buildings are also likely to remain structurally unsound. Last year, the intumescent market was anticipated to be worth around US $13.6 million (AED50 million). But with more steel developments using intumescent coatings as a thermal insulant, the figure is expected to be even higher this year. Andy Holt, market manager, Leigh’s Paints, told Construction Week that the firm, which is currently supplying 47 projects within the UAE alone, has experienced a 200% increase in the volume of business it has tendered in the past 18 months. And he admits that the forthcoming changes will play a major part in reducing fires and making buildings safer. In 2005, in the UAE alone fire damage to buildings cost an estimated $15 million. “I am absolutely certain that as more steel-framed developments adopt intumescent coatings the number of fires experienced across the GCC will reduce dramatically,” said Holt. “Different methodologies of assessment for intumescent products caused confusion in the marketplace. “However, the full contractual chain can now be satisfied that they will receive standardised information from any company and this will increase the use of the product and increase safety.” Holt added that although the changes don’t have to be implemented until 2008, many of its rivals are already reassessing their data. “Because of the competitive nature of this market, Leigh Paints won’t be the only guys that are trying to get the lead in to be seen to be first up, and the best dressed,” he said. The Dubai Civil Defence and Bodycote warringtonfire, part of Bodycote Testing Group, is also set to provide a centre of excellence for fire safety testing and approvals of products in Dubai. It will be delivered from a new laboratory that will be constructed at the Dubai Civil Defence’s training centre in Al Awir and be fully operational by 2007. Products that could become fire protected in the future include doors, door seals, glazing, and fire rated boardings.

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