Installing passive fire protection systems in a building is the first line of defence in ensuring the safety of its occupants and protecting valuable assets, says Manoj Thomas of Dubai-based Al Semsam Building Materials, which offers a comprehensive range of products to meet this requirement.
Al Semsam Building Materials was established in 1995 to address the need for value engineering on projects with premium products. Its offerings include its own fire-rated glazing systems for fixed partitions and hinged and sliding doors; as well as products from its principal companies comprising fire-rated boards, fire stops and sprays, fire-rated steel doors, ventilated façade panels, fire and smoke curtains, and glassmat-based gypsum.
Al Semsam has developed a strong premium portfolio of fire-rated products from elite brands in the passive fire protection category. This includes calcium silicate boards, intumescent materials, cementitious sprays and sealants manufactured by Promat from Belgium; fire-rated steel doors manufactured by Navair from India; fire-rated panels for exterior cladding, decorative facades and scientific surface solutions manufactured by Trespa from Netherlands; fire curtains, smoke curtains and smoke vents manufactured by Bach from Spain; and gypsum building products manufactured by Georgia-Pacific USA.
Al Semsam, along with its partners, can provide entire 360-degree solutions that suit project specification requirements and site conditions. It also offers design support for construction projects that includes supply and apply services.
“On various occasions, Al Semsam has also supported a number of consultants and contractors in addressing the passive fire protection requirements that suit both the project specification and site condition,” Nicholas Papadopoulos, General Manager of the ESAG Building Materials Division (BMD), tells Gulf Construction.
Al Semsam is one of the three entities under ESAG BMD, which is part of Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, a well-respected UAE conglomerate comprising 27 companies with a portfolio of over 370 international brands.
“Passive fire protection is a ‘must’ for all the buildings and hence Al Semsam has been focusing aggressively on fire-rated products,” stresses Papadopoulos.
Highlighting the need for such systems, he says: “Passive fire protection systems are built into the fabric of a structure, becoming an integral part of the fire safety in a building. The system attempts to contain fires or slow the spread, such as by fire-resistant walls, ceilings, floors, and doors. This ensures the safe escape of building occupants while providing fire-fighters ample time to rescue them and protect the property.”
Working closely with its principals and in line with the mandates of the authorities, Al Semsam Building Materials continues to address the market needs.
“Our latest passive solutions offer up to four hours of fire protection for structures,” he says.
These fire protection products and systems have been tested independently by approved testing authorities.
Al Semsam’s own fire-rated glazing systems are manufactured with glass from Vetrotech Saint Gobain and steel profiles from Stålprofil of Sweden. “Our fire-rated glazing systems are tested to provide fire resistance for up to EI 60 minutes/EW 120 minutes and suit the requirements of a complete range of building applications. We also offer aesthetically-appealing solutions that integrate seamlessly with the architectural style. Our systems are tested to EN standards,” Papadopoulos says.
Al Semsam Building Materials’ partners in providing passive fire protection solutions include renowned principals, such as:
- Promat, a global leader in passive fire protection, and high-performance thermal and acoustic insulation for the construction sector as well as a large number of industrial and OEM markets. All Promat solutions and systems are backed by more than 60 years of experience and know-how. Hence, projects can rely on Promat’s extended, proven and certified range of calcium silicate, intumescent materials, cementitious sprays and sealants, which are tested to BS, EN and UL standards, Papadopoulos says.
- Navair, a pioneer supplier of quality fire-rated steel doors meeting UL/BS standards which are claimed to exceed industry standards in terms of internal and external quality checks.
- Trespa, a leading innovator in the field of architectural materials. The company is recognised as a premier developer of high-quality panels for exterior cladding, decorative facades and scientific surface solutions. All Trespa products are manufactured at its headquarters in Weert, The Netherlands.
“Trespa has cleared the system test described under NFPA standards and product tests related to ASTM and EN standards,” he points out.
- Bach, a leading fire-rated products manufacturer in Europe which has two factories, one in Spain and the other in Portugal. The company has gained a reputation for its fire curtains and smoke curtains, which create a temporary barrier within an opening, thus sealing off the area on fire and preventing its spread in the event of a fire/smoke. It also offers smoke vents. Bach systems are tested to EN and UL standards.
- Georgia-Pacific, which offers high quality gypsum building products. The company’s gypsum boards are described as being ideal for a wide range of commercial and residential interior applications. Its Dens family of high-performance fibreglass mat-faced gypsum products offer exceptional strength and superior moisture, mould and fire resistance. Georgia-Pacific systems are tested to UL systems.
These products are used in a wide range of real-life construction applications such as fire stopping of openings and mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) penetrations, fire-rated walls, ceilings and floors, and tunnel lining; ballistic/attack-resistant glazing systems for security cabins, banks, VIP rooms, ticket counters; architectural external façade panels meeting fire-rating requirements; and fire and smoke curtains for temporary compartmentation of large openings like podiums and warehouse doors.