fire resistant coating gives firefighters more time to arrive

Fire resistant coating basics in short

Fire resistant coating, or other fireproof construction and lining materials, have been compulsory for years now in office buildings, entrance halls, public buildings, parking garages and governmental buildings. In Qatar the general rule is: the higher the building, the longer the material needs to withstand flames. In Qatar the buildings are generally high; the country ranked sixth in 2016 in CTBUH’s review of tallest buildings by country, thus the demand for fire proof paint is increasing.

There are two types of fire resistant coatings, intumescent and fire retardant, and each has a different method of impeding fire. They can be applied either independently or as a fire protective system.

  1. Fire retardant coatings: used as undercoats for regular paint or topcoats for intumescent coating. These coatings release a flame damping gas when the temperature rises to extremes. This forms a buffer zone, protecting the surface from the flames. This is the most common type of fire resistant coating used as an independent fire proof paint for wood.
  2. Intumescent coatings: almost predominantly applied as undercoats. This type of fire proof paint expands when the temperature reaches 200°C forming a solid foam-like char which insulates the substrate. Not only does it protect the substrate from ignition but also from the effects of the heat; steel loses strength and structural integrity starting at 300°C .

If these two coatings are applied as a complete system, the fire retardant topcoat prevents flames from coming close to the surface, postponing the swelling reaction of the intumescent undercoat. Once the fire has exhausted the topcoat, the undercoat kicks in. This system provides much needed extra time to get a fire under control.

As every building must meet different fire protection standards determined by the building type, we provide you with professional advice on what you need to know when choosing a fire resistant paint.

5 reasons to choose for fire resistant coating

In case of fire, a fire resistant coating guarantees extended evacuation time, as well as vital extra time for firefighters to arrive and minimize damage. In Qatar, fire accidents happen daily; in 2016 1,444 were registered in the statistics. Given the fact that there are some 35 buildings taller than 150 meters in Doha, most of these fires occur in towers. Therefore, fire resistant coating for steel and concrete are especially interesting for the Qatari constructions. Most buildings are made of concrete but for example the 300 metre tall Aspire Tower has steel columns that need protection.

firefighters at a firewall with fire resistant coating

Fire resistant coating gives firefighters extra time to arrive and minimise damage.

When applying a fire resistant coating there are several important factors that will affect your choice: the building type determines the minimum fire protection time required of the fireproofing method ( 1h, 1,5 h or 2 h), and each different substrate will need a specific product and application method (fire proof paint for wood is different to one for steel).

Fire resistant coating, in general, comes with the following advantages:

  1. Suitable for various substrates – fire proof paints are applicable on wood, steel, concrete, textile and plastics.
  2. Durable protection – lasts for decades and makes the surface impact resistant
  3. Fire protection up to 2 hours – conforms to international standards such as ASTM and ISO
  4. Prefab is possible – fire protection coatings can be applied before or after construction
  5. Decorative – if applied as a top coat, it is available in every RAL color

Fire proof paint must withstand heat and flames depending on the structure

If you are considering applying fire resistant coating, then the structure of the building is part of what defines the coating you need; what is the building going to be used for, and what is the building’s height? There are three factors that define whether the building requires 30 minutes, 1 hour or 2 hours of fire protection.

  1. Height
    The higher the building, the stricter the requirements
  2.  Purpose of the building
    Are there, or could there be people sleeping in the building? Residential buildings require higher fire rating than non-residential buildings.
    Examples: residential: hospitals and hotels, non residential: schools and governmental buildings.
  3. Risk factor
    Sometimes the building has a heightened risk for fire breaking; in these cases the minimum required fire resistance is 2 hours regardless the height and purpose of the building.
    Examples: offshore structures and chemical processing plants; archives, libraries, and museums where valuable information or goods are stored.

Note that these three factors are not affected by the substrate type; the same rules count for wood, concrete and steel. In general, the costs of fireproof paint can be estimated by the amount of coating needed and the required fire resistance: the higher fire rating the coating must have, the greater the investment to apply it.

Building types and required fire resistance in Qatar

Always consult a specialist about fire protection coatings to make sure your building is appropriately protected and meets the set standards. Our experts are happy to help you receive a competitive proposal for the coating you need: just send us a message by clicking the “request a quote” button at the bottom of this article.

The following table gives you an indication of what to expect from the fire protection for your building type.

  • Low-rise building – lower than 15 meters, smaller than 500 m²
  • Medium-rise building – Between 15 and 28 meters, area up to 1000 m²
  • High-rise building – Higher than 28 meters, unlimited area (>1000 m²)
Low-rise buildingMedium-rise building High-rise building
Non-residential building30 minutes to 1 hour1 hour1,5 hours
Residential building1 hour1, 5 hours2 hours
Heightened risk factor2 hours2 hours2 hours

Note that the table merely presents general guidelines for required fire resistance per building type. The more detailed requirements are included in the Fire and Life Safety Guidelines (2015) provided by Fire Prevention Department, General Directorate of Civil Defence, Ministry of Interiors, State of Qatar.

Fireproof coating specialists in Qatar

Depending on the substrate material, there are several fire resistant coating companies in Qatar whose services are available to you. Which one you should contact, depends on the substrate – most of them can help you with coating steel, but wood and concrete require different expertise. We at Coatings.qa are happy to help you find the right specialist for your project, and provide you with a quote. Just use our 100% free quote service by clicking the “Request a quote” button at the bottom of this article. Our experts are here to help.

Here is a selection of Qatari specialists in fire protection paints. These companies often use internationally recognised products from manufacturers such as AkzoNobel  and Jotun.

Fireproof paint specialistAddressSpecialization
Al-Ghorairi & PartnersNr Jarir Book Store, Salwa Rd, DohaDistribution of fire resistant coatings
Intervention Solutions LLCLot 1, Street 51 Industrial Area Doha QatarApplication of industrial fire resistant paint
Rise & Shine Trading & Contracting Co WLLOffice 103, Bldg 20, Stanlli Offices, Ibn E Sina St, Al Muntazah, DohaApplication of industrial fire resistant paint
Globtech Engineering W.L.LKhalid Bin Qais St, Doha 37650, QatarApplication of industrial fire resistant paint

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