We don’t want to think about threats like fires in our homes and workplaces, but as individuals and as a society we need to prepare for them.
While the best protection is prevention, if a fire does break out, concrete is a reliable material that can save lives and property.
Concrete has the highest fire resistance classification possible:
- Concrete is non-combustible – it does not burn and you can’t set it on fire
- Concrete does not emit any toxic fumes
- Concrete does not produce smoke
- Concrete has a slow rate of thermal conductivity, acting as a shield against heat
Crucially, a fire cannot feed on concrete because it provides no fuel. Unlike combustible construction materials like timber, concrete does not help a fire to grow.
These important qualities all help in the event of a fire, giving people time to escape and limiting the damage a fire can do to a building. Structures made of concrete are also far less likely to collapse, protecting the people in the area surrounding a fire, whether that’s neighbours or emergency services.
Using non-combustible construction materials like concrete is a responsible design decision. This is especially true for high-risk situations such as densely populated towns and cities, multiple occupancy buildings such as flats, hotels and student accommodation, and those with vulnerable occupants like care homes, hospitals and schools. Precast concrete buildings also tend to attract lower insurance premiums than those built from other construction materials.