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Speaker Fire Hoods, Building Regs & Certification

Speaker Fire Hoods, Building Regs & Certification

Published: Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Fire protection is a topic frequently raised when discussing in-ceiling speakers. The objective of a speaker fire-hood is simply to maintain the fire integrity of a ceiling system after an aperture is cut to house a speaker. Most UK domestic residences have 30-minute fire resistant ceiling-systems.

Some fire hood suppliers make misleading claims of how long their hood lasts for. Some even falsely claim they are ‘certified’. Let’s clarify that. Firstly, it is the ceiling system itself that is designed for 30-minute, 60-minute or longer fire resistance, not the hood. Most UK domestic residences have 30-minute ceiling-systems. This means they will endure 30-minutes resistance once a fire takes hold. If you cut an aperture in such a system, the hood needs to ensure that such fire resistance is not compromised.

Secondly, each fire test costs several thousand pounds and virtually every ceiling system is different. As such, it is therefore impractical to seek certification. Why? Because certification would only ever apply to that specific circumstance. It is invalid to claim it to apply on any other system and the likelihood of your customer’s ceiling system being the same is small and thus the certification would not apply.

,So how do we get around the problem? The answer is to use a reputable fire testing company and test in the most challenging circumstances – naturally that is a 30-minute system, not a 90-minute one (the latter already being designed to withstand a longer period). It is possible to deduce from such a test that the hood will most likely perform in other similar systems, but it is not certified as such. In other words, you are putting back what you took away when you cut the aperture. If you put more back than you took away, it is irrelevant because the rest of the ceiling system will have yielded by then anyway.

Until now, fire hoods have been notoriously fiddly to fit. Common types even have significant gaps around the flanges which allow air circulation and heat dissipation thus compromising their effectiveness. However, in 2016 BluCube developed a new design of fire hood that provides fire protection in a one-size-fits-(almost)-all product that is fast and easy to install and eliminates the air gaps. The design (in patent-applied-for status) has been furnace-tested by a world-renowned UK fire-testing company in the most common ceiling system found in UK homes. Despite the speaker melting and falling out within the first few minutes of the test – rendering the aperture wide open to the inferno, the BluCube hood maintained the fire integrity of the ceiling system beyond the specification of that system thus achieving its desired objective.

The BluCube design features an inverted flange that allows a seal to be easily made when seating the hood on the upper surface of the ceiling plasterboard. In addition to being far easier to fit, it reduces the amount of air that can circulate which reduces the heat penetration to the void above to achieve the results. An additional benefit is that it also provides a degree of acoustic insulation.

So, when next fitting in-ceiling speakers for your client’s pleasure, think about their safety too and fit BluCube hoods.
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