Revised Guidelines For Fire Curtains in BS 9999 (2017)

BS9999 – 2017 Fire Safety in the design, management and use of buildings – Code of Practice.

This document replaced the BS 9999 – 2008 document and is concerned with an “Advanced Approach” to fire safety within building design. One of the fundamental revisions in the 2017 document is the addition of guidelines for fire curtain barrier assemblies and the fundamental stipulations are as follows:

Active fire curtain/barrier assemblies in buildings should be self-closing under

gravity (gravity fail safe). They should be tested and installed in accordance

with BS 8524-1 and BS 8524-2 respectively, and should:

a) Be initiated by an appropriate automatic fire detector;

b) Be capable of multi-stage deployment to act initially as a smoke barrier

relevant to the risk, where deemed necessary;

c) Have emergency retract controls relevant to the risk;

d) Have obstruction warning devices or floor markings dependent upon the

location; as a rule of thumb, all escape routes should have either a single beam or light curtain obstruction warning. 

e) Have controls and associated wiring that is appropriate to the risk and type;

f) Have deployment speeds ranging between 0.06 m/s and 0.15 m/s;

g) Achieve the same standard of fire resistance and smoke separation as the

element of structure being replaced;

h) Have monitoring of the battery condition;

i) Have display panels having visual and audible provision to:

1) Indicate any faults.

2) Indicate if the batteries (for emergency retract) need replacing.

When fire curtain barriers are used to protect a means of escape route:

1) The escape route width should be increased by the stated deflection zone.

2) The maximum length of an uninsulated barrier forming the protected route

shall not exceed 5 m. There are however exceptions to this with a Fire Engineered approach which is outside of the scope of BS 9999 2017.