Fire Partition vs Smoke Barrier



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    David Kaplan

    Yi Li,

    The difference comes down not so much in how they are built, but where they are installed.  A smoke barrier is really only used where a building is required to be compartmentalized into smoke compartments.  This is done in Hospitals and other Institutional Use Groups, as well as Ambulatory Health Care facilities.  It is a 1 HR wall that completely divides a floor plan into separate sections (i.e. the wall is continuous in plan from perimeter wall to perimeter wall.)  It is continuous to the underside of the structure as well.

    A Fire Partition is also a 1 HR rated wall, but is not used for smoke compartmentalization.  One of its main uses is rated corridor walls (where such rating is required for corridors).  Another would be separating two dwelling or sleeping spaces from each other.  It often is continuous to the underside of the structure, but there are options to extend it to a rated ceiling assembly instead.  These are all described in the Code.

    So, it really comes down to their use.  Hope that helps.

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    Yi Li

    That makes so much sense! Thanks David!


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