Fire safety in timber buildings

burning wood

It’s vitally important that your home or business has an adequate fire safety plan to help combat the risks that are posed in the event of a fire. Although most businesses are legally required to possess a thought-out and certified fire safety plan and various fire exits and extinguishers, fire safety in the home can often be neglected.

In the UK, the majority of our homes are built with bricks and stone, simply because this is what the rainy weather permits, providing ample insulation and water tightness in the face of that British weather. However, across the pond, in the likes of the USA as well as throughout Europe, many homes and buildings are built using timber.

This can make them more susceptible to the threat of fires and their rapid spread, with a large fire threatening the whole structural integrity of a building and spreading at a much faster rate.

This guide is designed to advise you on how to ensure that your timber buildings are meeting health and safety guidelines and are safeguarded against the potential threat of any fires that could occur, making these timber buildings safer to use, whether they form your home or workplace.

What is fire safety?

Fire safety seems like an obvious and important area of ensuring that your employees and family are safe, but many people neglect the vital rules of keeping their homes safe.

Fire safety effectively refers to the measures you take in your home or workplace to ensure that the chances of a fire occurring are reduced to a minimum – and that, in the event of a fire, the chance of the fire rapidly spreading is reduced as much as possible. This also means developing planned and tested fire escape routes as well as kitting out your home or workplace with extinguishers and other helpful aids.

Many different companies are throwing a lot of funding into the research and development surrounding fire safety products, and no example situations highlight this more than the research and innovation behind the Sunderland firm K & D Systems.

K & D Systems offer a selection of products, from smoke and fire curtains that suffocate the fire and prevent it from spreading to further safeguarding solutions surrounding apartments and timber buildings. Continue reading below to find out more about K & D Systems and their product range, as well as how they took their place among the leading names and fire curtain specialists across the UK.

Who are K & D Systems?

K & D Systems are experts in fire safety and fire prevention products, with over 30 years’ experience of working in the industry and constantly adapting to innovations and new technologies that will ultimately save lives in our workplaces and homes.

The company is based in the North East of England, with all of their design, production and manufacturing carried out from their Sunderland headquarters. This situation has enabled K & D Systems to safeguard and work with some of the country’s largest establishments.

K & D Systems have worked with the likes of Wembley Arena, the Derby-based Westfield Shopping centre, and major international airports in Birmingham and Gatwick to install cost-effective fire safety solutions. These have included fire and smoke curtains and shutters, as well as fire safety window and wall systems that are designed to counter the threat of a growing fire.

With a constant eye on innovation and bespoke design, K & D Systems offer excellent products and customer service that have allowed them to harvest strong and trusted relationships with their clients as well as deliver products that are durable and fit for purpose – and, most importantly, save lives. All of their products are independently checked by fire services to ensure that they are fit for purpose when a fire does occur.

Fire safety in timber buildings

The parameters that need to be taken or considered when working with timber buildings are very different to the equivalent parameters pertaining to standard brick-and-stone buildings that are common throughout the UK. However, although our homes are often made of bricks and mortar, many of us possess sheds, conservatories and extensions or loft spaces that aren’t made from the same durable materials.

Although fires can often affect different materials indiscriminately, the rapid spread of a fire is drastically increased when it comes to timber buildings.

Timber buildings are perhaps most common in countries where hotter and drier climates are more consistent, and a cool house is preferred to an insulated one. Timber is also cheaper than stone and brick. Still, how do you effectively combat a timber building against a fire and ensure that all of the fire safety measures are included in the structure?

  • Compartmentalisation in timber buildings

One of the main methods of preventing the spread of fire in timber buildings is by working fire safety solutions into the complex structural integrity and architecture of the building.

Similarly to the way that K and D systems fire curtains help compartmentalise certain spaces and reduce the rapid spread of fire, timber buildings should be compartmentalised by using certain materials to deflect the fire and halt its advance. This can be done by delivering certain insulation, thermal and integral systems room-to-room to ensure that the fire isn’t given the chance to spread further.

This process involves designing a timber building that is built with layered systems from the ground up, using different timber materials to stifle the growth of the fire. Architects in Sweden have proven that layered design from the floor up and room-to-room in timber structures helps to reduce the speed at which a fire can spread. These architects have advised that using a range of woods, from plywood to different veneers, can prove to be an effective fire safety solution.

The best means of ensuring that your timber buildings are adequately prepared in the face of a fire is by ensuring that they have been checked by a professional during the construction and design. Every building under construction now requires a fire safety assessment called a SHEVS assessment.

K & D Systems offer their services and provide advice on how their fire safety solutions, fire and smoke curtains and shutters and doors can provide adequate fire safety solutions. K & D Systems work with engineers and architects to ensure that buildings are erected with safety and evacuation in mind.

What types of products can help you with fire safety?

There are many different products available from K & D Systems that can help your business in the event of a fire. With many years of experience in the industry and a thorough understanding of how a fire can spread, K & D provide homes and businesses with smoke and fire curtains, barriers and shutters and doors that can help to prevent the spread of a fire. Here are just a few of the products available at K & D Systems…

  • Fire and smoke curtains

The fire and smoke curtains available from K & D Systems can be quickly manufactured and installed with as little hassle or disruption as possible. K & D manufacture bespoke fire curtains that are available at a width of any length and a maximum lowering drop of 8 metres to help reduce the spread of fire.

The durable and weighted materials from which the curtains are made help to compartmentalise open plan buildings and stop a fire from spreading by starving the flame of oxygen. These materials also reduce the chances of harmful chemical smoke spreading and suffocating the people inside the building.

A fire curtain can provide between 2 and 4 hours to help you to evacuate your building in time. The curtain can also help ensure that the fire brigade has the easiest job possible in extinguishing the flames with as little damage to the building as possible.

  • Fire rated windows and systems

K & D Systems also provide fireproof partition walls and door systems that serve as a more permanent solution in combatting those flames. Where a fire curtain can be lowered, a portioning wall can be a permanent fixture in your home or office space, offering solutions to put your mind at rest in the event of a fire.

Our windows, walls and door systems are fitted with fireproof glass as well as insulated wall space fitted with special boats and aluminium that can provide up to 90 minutes of thermal protection.

Is threat of fire a real problem in the UK?

Unlike in other countries, there often isn’t the threat of widespread fire issues that can occur in hotter countries. We’re constantly seeing forest fires ravaging European countryside and hillside neighbourhoods in the USA, but the wetter climates in the UK don’t really allow for this to happen.

The threat of fire in the UK is mostly penned down to neglect or arson. The neglect can be as minimal as failing to turn off electrical appliances when you’re not using them or choosing to ignore the potential signs of fire hazards in your home or workplace.

Should I complete a home or office risk assessment?

Completing a fire risk assessment in your home or office space can be your first step to ensuring that you are following all the necessary procedures to make sure your employees and family are safe should a fire start. These measures can be as simple as conducting regular fire drills to ensure that everyone is familiar with the fire escape route as well as being educated on the threat of fire and how to reduce its spread to a minimum.

You could ensure that your building’s doors are closed at night to prevent the circulation of smoke, verify that you have working fire alarms, and also turn off any electrical appliances when they are out of use.

K & D systems are dedicated to ensuring that your homes and businesses are adequately fireproofed and you’re constantly kept in the loop surrounding the changing innovations within the industry. We can also repair your fire safety systems as quickly as possible.

With a combined 100 years of experience across the fire safety industry, research and development, and engineering, our Sunderland-based team possess valuable insights into the way buildings are constructed, the pre-empted solutions that we need to supply, and how our products can benefit a business.

Don’t look past K & D Systems as your fire curtain manufacturing and installation specialists. Give us a call to begin the start of a long and trusted professional customer relationship.

Explained: Fire curtain installation

firefighters fighting fire

K & D Systems offer invaluable solutions to help businesses, homeowners and shopping centres as well as a wide range of establishments to deal with their fire safety concerns. K & D provides fire safety solutions in the form of fire and smoke curtains, fireproof windows, and partition walls and ceilings.

Their fire curtains provide up to 4 hours of protection against the spread of flames and the circulation of smoke, freeing up time for people to evacuate the building and for the fire services to arrive and put out the flames. This guide will inform you about the ins and outs of the processes involved with regard to the manufacture of fire curtains and the installation process involved, which will depend on your establishment.

Once we’ve manufactured your bespoke fire curtain, we get them independently checked by fire services. We then send one of our installation experts out on the job to quickly and efficiently install your fire curtain in a way that will allow you to get the most benefit from your curtain.

Continue reading this guide to find out more about the business behind the innovative quality curtain as well as learn more about how a fire curtain works. You can also learn about its manufacturing and installation, as well as the reasons you should purchase a fire curtain for your business, home or establishment.

Who are K & D Systems?

K & D Systems possess over 30 years’ experience of working within the fire safety industry and are considered to be the fire safety specialists throughout the UK and Ireland. Their client base is large and diverse, with clients ranging from the Wembley Arena in London to the Westfield shopping centre in Derby as well as busy, safety-orientated international airports in Birmingham and Gatwick.

Their diverse client base, built on strong and continuous relationships, shows K & D Systems to be a trusted member of the fire safety industry, with the professional backing of fire services responsible for independently testing their products to ensure their safety of use.

From their base in Sunderland, where their manufacturing centre is located, K & D Systems provide transparent information surrounding the expert design, manufacturing and installation of their fire curtains, providing durable and discrete curtains as well as shutters and flame-retardant doors.

The slim and lightweight curtains produced by K & D Systems provide the smallest carbon footprint and fewest emissions possible; they also allow the installation experts at K & D to create as little disruption and cost to your business as possible during the installation period.

It’s not just in fire curtains and the materials they comprise where K & D excel; they are also suitably qualified and experienced to repair the motors and alarm systems that are vital to the correct and versatile function of your new or ageing fire curtain. K & D pride themselves on the products that they create and are always turning to research and development as a means to improve their products and make your businesses a safer place to be in the event of a fire.

What is a fire curtain?

As elements of fire safety, fire curtains are reasonably misunderstood to business owners and the general layman but are perhaps the best products on the market for preventing fires and the smoke that rises from them from circulating throughout your building. A fire curtain is made from durable and lightweight materials to allow for discreet storage when out of use and can be automatically descended via an alarm system that is linked to your smoke alarm system.

The purpose of a fire alarm is to form a partition between two large areas to help slow down the rapid spread of a fire and the smoke that it releases. Similarly to how we’re taught to close doors within our home to prevent the spread of fire in our homes, a fire curtain is a more technical, successful version of this.

A fire curtain can provide between 2 and 4 hours of delay time or protection against the threat of fire, helping to block fire escape routes so that employees or people can be evacuated safely. Then, the fire services can arrive and resolve the issue while as little disruption as possible has occurred.

The fire curtains available at K & D Systems are available to be manufactured and installed at any width with, a maximum decline drop of 8 metres. This diversification in bespoke manufacturing and fire curtain installation means that K & D can cater for a wide range of establishments and structural shapes.

5 steps of fire curtain installation and manufacturing

By now, you may want to know more about the process that K & D Systems takes when planning, offering quotes, designing, manufacturing and installing the fire curtains that you have ordered from us. This part of the guide is designed to give you invaluable insight into the design process and how we go from your initial call to providing an intrinsic fire safety system for your business, residential building or establishment.

Continue reading below to look into the steps involved in producing your fire safety products.

  1. Give us a call and acquire a quote

This will be your first point of contact with K & D Systems, so we want you to feel assured and confident in our ability to provide you with adequate fire safety solutions at a fair price. We won’t bore you with technical jargon surrounding the fire curtains or their composition, but will offer you friendly and efficient customer service where your needs are understood and the plans for your bespoke products are made quickly.

We always aim to get the final quote back to you within 24 hours, meaning that our products can get to work in saving lives as quickly as possible. This is the point when you discuss how many fire curtains you may need, their size, your current fire safety arrangements and the nature of your business.

  1. We design and manufacture your products

K & D Systems are based in the North East of England in Sunderland, but their products are available to the whole country, with products across the UK and Ireland. Our headquarters have been in Sunderland for over 30 years, so we feel safe in calling ourselves fire safety or fire curtain experts.

One of our designers will take your measurements and the plans of your quote and provide a highly technical design brief for our manufacturing technicians to create your curtains quickly and with quality. Your blinds will be made up of durable materials to help combat the fire. The curtains will also come with a series of hidden motors and electrics to help operate the alarm sensors that allow for the release and decline of the blinds.

  1. Delivery and Installation

Once your products have been manufactured and independently checked by Chiltern fire service, it means that we can now distribute your fire safety curtains and arrive at your premises to install them. Usually, we aim for roughly a 3-day turnaround to produce your curtains, but the time for installation can take longer.

We arrive on the job with all of the tools and equipment needed to quickly and efficiently fit your fire safety curtain as well as complete any electrical and sensor work in relation to the alarm systems and the motor that allows the fire curtain to drop.

Once the curtain has been installed, we will offer any advice surrounding your fire safety procedure and be on our way. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’re looking for any further advice concerning the output or repair of your curtain.

What types of fire curtains are available and where are they most suited to?

K & D Systems offer numerous different fire curtains that can have wholesale benefits for your fire safety procedure, the evacuation of your employees and the structural integrity of a building in the event of a fire. We cater to an extensive range of buildings and establishments, and our client base shows that.

Whether you run a commercial residence, a large open plan building, a hospital or a school, our fire safety curtains are perfect for isolating specific areas from the flames and creating a fire barrier for up to 4 hours.

K & D systems have recently released a new innovation called the Twin Skin curtain. This is an un-insulated fire curtain that can prevent the spread of fire for up to two hours. Working in a similar fashion to our other products, the Twin Skin curtain will provide that much-needed period to allow the fire brigade to arrive and for you to safely evacuate your staff or residents.

You can always guarantee that, when you become a client of K & D Systems, you can expect a dedicated personal service that’s on hand when you need us. This service involves quick call out for any repairs or defects as well as advice surrounding fire safety over the phone. We value our customers and their safety.

Additionally, our manufacturing team are able to design fire curtains up to any width – whatever the structure of your building, we can accommodate you. Our fire curtains possess a maximum dropdown of 8 metres, which is usually suitable for most commercial buildings. Why not send us your measurements and requirements today and see how we can help you out?

Why do I need a fire curtain?

Fire curtains are vital for helping to reduce the risk of a spreading fire in your home, business or establishment. Often, modern buildings are built with open plan, accessible spaces – meaning that, if a fire does occur, there remains plenty of space and oxygen for the fire to spread.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t make the most of your open plan spaces. Fire curtains provide a discreet, storable curtain that can be activated and lowered when a fire occurs, effectively partitioning the room into two or three spaces depending on how many curtains you have.

This will reduce the opportunity for the fire to grow and spread, as the curtain will cut out the oxygen supply to the flame as well as reduce the opportunity for toxic fumes to circulate. A fire curtain will also provide time to evacuate employees and necessary time for the fire brigade to expertly tackle the fire.

K & D Systems are dedicated to sustaining their mantle as the number one fire safety curtain experts in their country by constantly delivering lifesaving fire solutions. This expertise and 30 years of experience is noticeable from their initial quotation service all the way through to their design and manufacturing – and, most importantly, the effective and hassle-free installation service of the fire curtains.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the fire safety products that K & D manufacture and feel like your business or establish could benefit from our products, then don’t hesitate to get in touch or visit us online to find out more.

The ins and outs of fire safety in apartments


K & D Systems have over 30 years of experience in providing solutions for fire safety in apartments and efficiently installing fire and smoke curtains in apartment buildings. A fire curtain can provide you with up to 4 hours of fire protection by reducing the flames’ exposure to oxygen and preventing harmful toxic chemicals and smoke from circulating.

When it comes to fire safety, it’s vitally important that you ensure your apartment or home is suitably equipped to deal with potential fires. You also need to ensure that your tenants are aware of the various fire drills and safety routines that are in place throughout the building.

There are various precautions that you can take in your home to reduce the chances of a fire occurring, from switching off all electric appliances before you leave the house, to closing all doors so that the spread time of a fire is reduced.

K & D Systems offer a number of fire safety solutions, including the installation of fire curtains and shutters in apartment blocks and homes across the UK and Ireland. The products available from K & D systems can go a long way in helping you to remain safe in your home and ensure that those life-or-death fire situations can be dealt with quickly and effectively without any tragic circumstances occurring.

Who are K & D Systems?

K & D Systems have over 30 years’ solid experience of working in the fire safety industry, developing products and safety devices to help in the event of a fire. Although these products won’t prevent the inevitable spread of an apartment fire, they will certainly do a good job in helping to slow down the growth of the fire, allowing any residents or tenants to escape to safety with time to spare.

Based in the North East of England in Sunderland, K & D systems have adapted their output and expertise across 30 years of technological change and fire safety improvements. Hence, they now work with large companies to improve their fire safety solutions and set out important fire safety plans.

K & D Systems have installed fire prevention curtains and shutters in the likes of Wembley Arena and Birmingham and Gatwick airports as well as the Westfield shopping centre in Derby. Their 30 years of experience, coupled with the businesses and responsibility with which they have been trusted, shows just how much of a qualified and trusted company K & D Systems are.

Although K & D are based in Sunderland, they can offer their services all the way across the United Kingdom and Ireland. They are also dedicated to bringing the latest smoke and fire safety curtains and shutters to businesses and tenants across the country.

Their innovative and meticulous approach to fire safety has led them to build a reputation enabling them to become the leading name in fire safety technologies throughout the UK. Read on below to find out more about some of the products and services that K & D offer, as well as benefits for your apartment, business or residence.

What is fire safety?

Simply put, fire safety refers to the methods, technologies and plans that are put in place to deal with the threat of a fire. Fire safety can include anything from creating detailed plans and escape routes for your business, conducting risk assessments to ensure that all exits are accessible in the event of a fire, and making sure that there are adequate fire extinguishers throughout your building.

K & D Systems are experts in fire safety and provide efficient installation of smoke and fire curtains, fire shutters and fire rated windows. For most of us, the extent of our fire safety knowledge stretches to keeping low because smoke rises and closing any doors to prevent the rapid spread of the impending inferno.

K & D Systems provide technical and informative audits and plans for your business and provide you with all of the necessary information, allowing you to feel safe in the knowledge that you’re prepared for a fire if it does occur.

Every building under construction must undergo a SHEVS assessment which reviews the building for any potential fire hazards and provides advice for adaptation. These tests look into the smoke, heating and ventilation systems throughout the buildings and offer suggestions for improvement. You’ll most likely be familiar with fire doors and fire extinguishers that you’ve seen dotted around your building, but you’ll be unaware of the facts behind these ‘preventable methods’.

Extinguishers and fire doors offer minimal safety and short-term solutions to a fire. Fire doors will not protect you from the spread of smoke throughout your building, which is the main source of fatalities when a fire occurs. If you’re a business looking to improve the fire safety in your office or factory, or you’re a construction firm seeking some expert fire safety solutions, then contact K & D Systems for a fire safety review as well as the installation of fire and smoke curtains.

5 methods of improving fire safety in your apartments

When you’ve experienced a fire in your business or apartment, you’re always lucky to get out alive and without injury. Fire rarely touches our lives without causing some sort of damage or stress. Until you’ve experienced the way exposure to fire can destroy our lives, you might not take your fire safety seriously.

This section of our fire safety guide is designed to give you invaluable tips into how to safeguard your apartment against fires – or, at least, reduce the chances of fire spreading and causing more damage than necessary.

  • Always ensure that your doors are closed

Closed doors can provide you with invaluable time to escape a fire and reduce the rapid spread of an inferno throughout your apartment. You may be wondering just how a wooden door can help you out, but it’s simple, really…

Fires need oxygen to grow, and although a door won’t wholly prevent the spread of a house fire, it can reduce the spread of flames and smoke throughout your building also while reducing the oxygen available for the fire to grow. A closed door could reduce the fire to a smoulder rather than a roaring one, which will provide you with valuable minutes to get yourself and your family to safety.

  • Always turn off your electrical appliances

How often do you leave the house and question whether you’ve turned off your hair straighteners, turned off the gas or left your fireplace roaring? It only takes one faulty plug and a rogue electrical spark to start a fire that could result in the destruction of your property.

Even if you’ve turned the appliance off at the switch, there remains a chance of the fuse overheating and causing a fire. With this in mind, it’s always a good idea to remove any plugs and ensure that you wait for the likes of hair straighteners or other heated items to cool before you leave your home.

  • Look into getting a fire curtain or shutter fitted

Fire and smoke curtains are the latest fire safety products on the market and have proven to be lifesavers when it comes to apartment or business fires. Many of you may be unfamiliar with what a fire curtain actually is and how it works, but that’s okay, because we’re here to help you and explain the facts.

Fire and smoke curtains are triggered by an alarm system or smoke alarms and will close in the event of a fire. Similar to the effects of closing a door, a fire curtain can, for up to 2 hours, hold back the threat of a spreading fire by starving the flames of oxygen and creating a barrier to prevent the smoke from spreading.

K & D Systems are qualified and experienced in the installation of fire curtains and can provide all of the information that you require to gain an education in fire safety and your new fire safety curtain. Fire curtains have been shown to be lifesavers, so it’s no surprise that many business owners and tenants are choosing to opt for the safest fire safety measure possible and get a fire curtain installed.

When not in use, fire curtains can be stored discreetly and are made with lightweight materials capable of preventing the spread of fire for up to 4 hours, enabling your employees or tenants to get to safety without casualty or injury. Fire curtains are perfect for open-plan offices and apartments and act as temporary fire walls in the event of a fire. Therefore, these curtains can prevent the spread of the flame and smoke, which is often the main killer in the event of a fire.

  • Have fire-rated windows and door systems

If you’re an owner of an apartment block or responsible for the fire safety in an office space, it’s also a good idea to look into specialised partitioned walls and sliding doors to improve your fire procedures. These partitioned walls, sliding doors and glazed roofs are fitted with a selection of insulated aluminium fittings and coolants that help to reduce the spread of fire and are activated when a fire does occur.

These windows, doors and walls can provide fire prevention and reduction from both sides of the wall, making them extremely safe options for dealing with fires in your home or office space.

  • Always ensure that your smoke alarms work

Smoke alarms have demonstrably saved lives by alerting people to the threat of a fire while there’s enough time to escape. With smoke inhalation being the biggest killer when a fire occurs, it helps to be alerted as early as possible as a means of reducing the exposure to these toxic chemicals. Often, smoke can go undetected by people when they are asleep, and this situation can prove fatal for apartment tenants.

How can a smoke and fire curtain benefit your apartment?

A smoke or fire curtain can provide lifesaving benefits when it comes to a fire in your apartment. A fire and smoke curtain can be activated by your smoke alarms or a fire-activated system after the curtain has been installed into an apartment or open plan office space by K & D Systems.

Made from lightweight materials, a fire and smoke curtain can provide residents in apartments with up to four hours to escape in the event of a fire. The curtain can also allow ample time for the fire services to arrive and extinguish the flames and smoke before further damage or fatalities have the chance to occur.

A fire and smoke curtain provides a barrier against the spread and growth of smoke and flames by suffocating the fire from oxygen and isolating the fire to one space. K & D systems have over 30 years’ experience of providing fire safety solutions to businesses and apartments across the UK. These solutions have saved lives and prevented damage in apartments, offices and shopping centres.

A fire curtain is most useful in large, open plan internal spaces where fires could otherwise freely spread. A curtain effectively provides a temporary partition to stop the fire spreading, allowing tenants, employers or shoppers to escape safely and unharmed.

K & D Systems understand how to safeguard your apartment against the threat of fire. Qualified to fit safety curtains and conduct fire safety assessments throughout your building, K & D Systems offer services that you will not regret acquiring. They could make the difference between saving lives and tragedy.

6 reasons to trust K & D Systems

  1. We’re amazing value for money: all our manufacturing takes place within our plant in Sunderland.
  2. We have a team there to respond to all quotes within 24 hours.
  3. Our installation team have over 30 years’ fitting experience.
  4. We offer controlled descent and gravity fail safe systems.
  5. We are continually investing in research and development.
  6. We offer a 3 day turnaround time* on production.

*3 day turnaround time subject to certain restrictions; please ask us.

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