Blog: Digital Construction SECBE Awards 2020 finalist - Model firestopping reviews

01 June 2020

sponsored by Clearbox

Digital Construction SECBE Awards 2020 finalist - Model firestopping reviews – technology & process demonstrate compliance (submitted by Ridge and Partners LLP)

*** Winner! ***

Ridge and Partners has developed an innovative and unique automated process using BIM models to check compliance of the Fire Stopping detailing for all MEP services passing through fire compartments. It significantly reduces the risk for the designers, contractors, and building owners/operators. This process could be shared with the industry through the development of a white paper on the topic, including the release of the rulesets which are aligned with firestop manufacturer test data. Ridge is also in discussion with Rockwool to explore how their BIM Fire Stopping initiative could be rolled out to benefit the wider industry in this way.

In order to maintain the designated fire rating of walls and floors, any openings designed for distributing building services through these elements must be fitted with an approved fire-stopping product – of which there can be thousands of instances on larger projects. This is referenced in Part B of the Building Regulations which calls for “a proprietary system which has been shown by test to maintain the fire resistance of the wall, floor, or cavity barrier”.

As only a limited number of scenarios have formally been tested by fire-stopping product manufacturers, there are a variety of parameters which must be met in order for the detail to be compliant, including dimensions of the opening, cross-sectional area of the penetrating services, as well as dimensions between services and to the edge of the opening. Deviations in any of these parameters results in a non-compliant detail which can lead to expensive re-work or risk to life.  

Digital construction

In a post-Grenfell era, where the construction industry has a heightened focus on the combustibility of external cladding products, an aspect of building design and construction which is less-well scrutinised is the compliant specification of fire-stopping products. The Ridge Digital Engineering team are supporting project teams to mitigate these risks by implementing their Model Firestopping Review service.

Through combining Digital Engineering expertise with detailed knowledge of industry-leading laboratory test data from fire-stopping manufacturer Rockwool, Ridge is able to guide project teams through designing compliant openings, services arrangements, and specifying appropriate fire-stop products. Development of rulesets in model checking software Solibri allows the team to quickly analyse models to identify instances of non-compliance then report these into collaboration software BIM Track for the design team to rectify or respond to.  

The final output is an itemised schedule of fire-stop penetrations, the compliant product to be used, and any instances which need to be escalated to the fire-stop manufacturer for further review and advice. In addition to this, the firestops can be itemised in a COBie dataset, and asset tagged to link the physical asset to its digital data. The result is a heightened confidence in the designed solution, improved cost certainty, and reduced potential for costly intervention at regulatory sign-off milestones.

The benefits of their BIM Fire Stopping initiative include:

  • Saving lives
  • Substantial cost saving for the client and contractors
  • Substantial programme/time saving for the client and contractors
  • Clarity of design liability between contractor/ consultant
  • Saved project costs due to rework or redesign
  • Early engagement in the process ensures services are better integrated into the final design avoiding design sacrifices – be part of the solution, not the problem
  • Data in the model assists with understanding of what has been installed, aiding facilities management and providing for any changes to be made to the building in the future. The information is “the golden thread”, providing operational continuity for the building in-use.
  • Sustainability gains by reducing rework and shortening programmes, reducing the overall carbon footprint of a building project.


  • Using technology to automate compliance checking and associated processes to clarify roles and responsibilities
  • Significantly reduced risk associated with non-compliant design, specification, and installation of firestops
  • Better tailored deliverables for the building owner/operator aligned with the Hackitt Review and Golden Thread recommendations

About the Digital Construction Award: 

Digital Construction embraces BIM, GIS, Big Data and other evolving technological advancements.  Technology has transformed the world we live in and has potential to revolutionise the construction industry. This category rewards organisations, projects or initiatives that have adopted, advanced and achieved excellence in Digital Construction.

> Find out more about the other finalists here

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