Maintaining the steel fire protection systems of a building is crucial in ensuring the building and its contents are safeguarded as much as possible in the event of a fire. These fireproofing systems are designed to protect the steelwork used to support the floors, walls, roofs and other elements. As with all fireproofing, these systems need to be maintained over time. Especially when a building has undergone alterations or new businesses are moving into the building. In this article, we’ll look at the most effective way to maintain steel fire protection systems to ensure they are consistently effective.

Why are steel fire protection systems so important?

The key function of a steel fire protection system is to maintain the structural integrity of a building in the event of a fire. This is arguably the most important factor when it comes to giving the occupants of a building as much time as possible to evacuate in the event of a fire. It is also crucial in helping to avoid as much potential damage to the contents of the building, and to the building itself. Fire protection systems applied to steel aim to insulate the steel and absorb the heat. When passive fire systems are installed, they are done so using an approach called compartmentation. Compartmentation exists to limit the spread of fire, smoke and gases from moving between rooms or spaces. This is achieved by applying a fireproofing system designed to contain a fire in a single compartment.

Legacy fire protection

In many cases, a fire protection system will have been installed years before a business moves into a building. When that business takes occupancy, it is essential that the condition of the fireproofing system is made known. It’s important to remember that steel fire protection systems are often not exposed and will sit behind walls, floors and other barriers. So fire proofing experts will inspect the fireproofing, look for any damage, and then decide what they are able to do to bring the fireproofing system back to an effective fire safety level, without damaging the walls, roofs and floors of the building.

Maintaining steel fire protection systems

A fireproofing expert’s goal is to find the best practical solutions for long term fireproofing. Their solution needs to be practical since they are limited by what parts of the system are exposed and what damage they may be able to see. Luckily, professional passive fire proofing experts know exactly what to look for when inspecting the state of a steel fire protection system.


One of the most effective ways to maintain a steel fire protection system is by ensuring that effective compartmentation has been applied within the fireproofing system. While one may not be able to redo the entire structure because access is limited, ensuring that a compartment is as effectively fireproofed as possible is key.

Identifying damage

Abrasions, etc

A fire expert will also identify any visible damage to the existing coatings of the fire protection system. This is a simple solution, where they are then able to reapply a fireproofing material to ensure it is effectively safeguarded from fire.

Water damage

In many cases, the steel fire protection systems are affected by water damage. While water coming into contact with the surface or outside of a fireproofing material usually doesn’t affect it, fireproofing professionals will check for visible water damage within the system by noting that the most obvious sign is that fireproofing products change colour when they become wet.

This is crucial because:

Water getting behind a fireproof coating will delaminate the product and it will fall off, exposing that part of the steel structure.

Products like vermiculite hold moisture, which can then negatively affect whatever other material it has been applied to and damage it over time.

Professional fireproofing solutions

Preserving the stability of a building’s steel structure in the event of a fire is one of the most important goals of a passive fireproofing system. Maintaining these fire protection systems over time, and ensuring that they are consistently effective, will mean that occupants have more time to evacuate and that the structure is more likely to hold up if a fire were to break out.

It is always recommended you contact a professional passive fireproofing expert to inspect the steel fire protection system that was installed in a building. With years of experience, PROFINISH are experts at fire protection and are able to check for, and repair, any fireproofing issues on steelwork and any other material within a building. We take pride in the knowledge and expertise of our team, in ensuring that your building will not only meet safety standards, but will be kept safe from the potential dangers of a fire. Contact a member of PROFINISH today.