Fire Rated Downlights Guide

Fire Rated LED Downlights or Downlighters are very popular in the United Kingdom and some other European countries. They are also very popular in the United States but different standards from UK.

However,many people especially those outside UK do not quite understand what fire rated downlights are and how they work. A lot of people even think they are made of fire retardant or fireproof materials, they are actually not.

This guide is to allow you to have a clear and better understanding of this type of LED downlights.

What is Fire Rated LED Downlight?

A Fire Rated LED Downlight is a recessed downlight that can close off the ceiling cutout hole and slow down the spread of fire in the event of a fire.

It can be an integrated LED fire rated downlight or a fire rated downlight fitting with LED lamp or module.

As we all know, there is a potential fire hazard when a hole is cut on the ceiling to install a recessed downlight. In case of a fire, the hole is like a gateway that allows fire to spread through. Once the fire starts to spread through this hole, it has direct access to the adjoining structure, mostly made from timber ceiling joists.

Fire rated LED downlights are typically designed and used to restore the fire integrity of a ceiling.

They are often fitted with intumescent material that expands when it reaches a certain temperature and close up the cutout hole to block the spread of fire, thus delaying the progress of fire spread. This delay will allow people to have sufficient time to escape the building or even allow additional time for the fire to be extinguished.

Where are Fire Rated LED Downlights Used?

In the UK, the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) recommends that fire rated downlights should be used in all buildings.

We also recommend so, especially the buildings with timber or wooden ceilings even if there may not be such laws or regulations in place for this requirement.

What Fire Rating of LED Downlights Should I Go for?

Fire Rated LED Downlights are often rated for 30 minutes, 60 minutes and 90 minutes. The fire rating of an LED downlight must match the fire rating of the ceiling boards, maintaining its minimum period of fire resistance. Most fire rated downlights are tested for up to 90 minutes of fire resistance directly, which is enough for most ceilings in most buildings.

30 Minute using Single Layer 15mm Standard Wallboard

60 Minute using Two Layers of 12.5mm Fireboard

90 Minute using Two Layers of 15mm Fireboard

90 Minute using Two Layers of 15mm Fireboard

How to Install Fire Rated LED Downlights

It is very easy to install fire rated LED downlights. There is no particular difference from installing standard recessed downlights. Just cut suitable size of holes as specified by manufacturers on the ceiling and put downlights into. The downlights are often supplied with installation sheet, so just follow installation sheet to install. Please always remember to turn off mains power supply before installation.

What Standards Should Fire Rated LED Downlights be Tested and Approved to?

Fire rated LED downlights should be tested to BS476-21:1987.

Part B

The purpose of Part B is to ensure building structures provide adequate protection to personnel to allow the safe evacuation of a building structure/complex. The regulation has been a legal requirement since 1987.A new version of the standard has been issued in 2006 and came into effect in April 2007.

The level of resistance required is proportional to the risk involved and the location of adjacent dwellings. For the domestic market 30 or 60 minutes is normal however under extreme conditions 90 minutes is required.

B3 Section 7 covers fire stopping and specifically states “Consideration should be given to the effects of services that may be built into the construction that could adversely effect its fire resistance, for instance where downlighters, loudspeakers or other electrical accessories are installed”.

All KSR fire rated downlgihts are tested and certified for 30, 60 and 90 minute ceiling constructions.

For your safety, it is still recommended that fire rated LED downlights should be used even if there are no such regulations in your country.

Are there any other standards for fire rated downlgihts?

In addition to Part B, there are also Part C, Part E and Part L regulations in place in the UK.

Part C

New building materials and associated construction methods are altering the way in which new properties are manufactured. There is a move towards breathable membranes for roofs; these replace traditional bitumen coated roofing felt and negate the need to provide ventilated eaves to roofs.

The material allows water vapour to permeate from the roof area out to the surrounding environment but remains impervious to external moisture. The material is much lighter and allows a roof to be completed at ground level and lifted into position on the dwelling creating a water tight environment under which construction can continue. There is no longer a need to provide ventilated eaves.

For this reason the amount of moisture that can enter a cold roof void must be controlled; thus anything which punctures the seal must be considered. Light fittings and loft hatches are good examples of intrusions into the roof area that can facilitate the passage of moisture.

Part 6.2 of Part C of the Building Regulations states that “To avoid excess transfer of moisture into roof voids, gaps and penetrations for pipes and electrical wirings should be filled and sealed: this is particularly important in areas of high humidity e.g Kitchens and Bathrooms.

For the above reason, KSR fire rated LED downlights are supplied with moisture seals.

Part E

The term “Part E” refers to the new Approved Document E of the Building Regulations. Part E came into effect on 1 July 2003 and details new acoustic performance requirements in England and Wales for residential dwellings, schools and other construction types. Along with new performance requirements, Part E also establishes a need for Pre-Completion Testing to enforce these standards and suggests a range of constructions for appropriate elements. The key elements for residential dwellings are separating walls and floors between dwellings and internal partitions within dwellings. Both new build dwellings and those new dwellings created by what Part E describes as “Material Change of Use” are covered. Material Change of Use relates to what would be more commonly known as refurbishment and conversion work.

Why are there new standards in Part E necessary?

Significant attention is now being paid to the issue of unwanted noise transmission within buildings and, in particular, to noise transmission within residential dwellings. The new standards in Part E are designed to improve modern living standards.

All KSR fire rated LED downlights are fitted with acoustic seals to provide the necessary attenuation to meet the requirements of Part E. We have also tested at 0.5m spacings to facilitate additional luminaire densities required for bathrooms and other similar areas.

Part L

The new 2014 revised Part L Building Regulations came into force for domestic and non-domestic new build and refurbishments on 6th April 2014.

For more information, welcome to contact us.