Concrete blocks have many wonderful benefits, such as strength and stability – but one of the most crucial benefits is one that not many people know about. Which is the fact that concrete blocks are one of the safest building materials around, as they have excellent fire retardant and protection qualities that can be put to great use in both residential and commercial buildings.
We’ve all seen fire pits made out of concrete blocks – and there’s a reason they are chosen for this purpose: because they are great at containing a blaze. For fire resistant construction, you can’t go past concrete blocks – here’s why.
Concrete blocks, due to the components they are constructed from, have strong non-combustible properties. A building made from timber will burn quickly and easily, due to the combustible nature of wood, but one made from concrete blocks will be able to resist the flames much more effectively.
Concrete blocks can withstand high temperatures much better than other materials, even those which are considered fire resistant. Concrete blocks will resist fire for longer periods of time, allowing fire services more time to extinguish the fire, while maintaining the structural integrity of the building. As well, concrete blocks can also withstand water pressure from fire hoses better than other construction materials.
Maintaining air tightness
Minimising air leaking though the building is important in containing a fire; and concrete blocks help maintain excellent air tightness. The tight, sturdy nature of a concrete block construction will help prevent the uncontrolled movement of air through a building (although of course this depends on the composition and density of the concrete blocks), thus minimising the spread of smoke and fire.
Limiting both internal and external fire spread
Due to their non-combustible properties, concrete blocks play a crucial role in limiting both internal and external fire spread.
Concrete blocks are known for their containment properties and their ability to keep a fire compartmentalised. This means that a fire in one part of the building can be contained within the concrete block walls, preventing it from spreading to other areas of the building. This can minimise building damage and buy time for fire crews to safely extinguish the fire.
Many examples have shown that fires can be contained better and extinguished quicker in concrete block constructions. Concrete products should be considered to be an integral part of a balanced approach to fire safety when constructing new buildings, along with other methods such as sprinkler systems and smoke alarms. Specifying concrete materials that restrict flames is a wise idea that can minimise the fire risk of a building and help maintain compliance with fire safety regulations and requirements.
While concrete blocks can’t prevent a fire from occurring, they are one of the best ways to contain it in a building while maintaining its’ structural integrity – and, crucially, allowing those within a better chance of survival.
You don’t get a second chance when it comes to a fire – so you need to make the best choice before the building is even constructed. If you’d like to choose from a great range of fire resistant concrete blocks for your building, have a look at National Masonry’s quality range here: