Fire Compartmentation Systems

The spread of fire can be restricted by sub-dividing buildings into a number of discrete compartments. These fire compartments are separated from one another by compartment walls and compartment floors made of a fire-resisting construction which hinders the spread of fire.


Approved document J, Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems, defines a fire compartment as:

A building or part of a building comprising one or more rooms, spaces or storeys constructed to prevent the spread of fire to or from another part of the same building or an adjoining building. (A roof-space above the top storey of a fire compartment is included in that fire compartment.) A separated part of a building is a form of compartmentation in which part of a building is separated from another part of the same building by a compartment wall. Such walls run the full height of the part and are in one vertical plane.


Fire compartmentation/Fire stopping:

  • Prevents the rapid spread of fire which could trap the occupants of a building.
  • Reduces the chance of fires growing and creating a danger to occupants, fire and rescue services, and people in the vicinity of the building.
  • Limits the damage caused to a building and its contents.


The degree of sub-division that should be provided by fire compartmentation will be dependent on:

  • The use of the building.
  • The fireload in the building.
  • The height of the building.
  • The availability of a sprinkler system.

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