Fire Barrier vs. Fire Partition

The term barrier and partition are frequently thrown around to describe passive smoke and fire management systems. However, when it comes to building codes, the IBC is actually quite particular.


In reference to the term “barrier”, the IBC is very specific that a “barrier” must have a minimum 1 hour fire resistance rating. A “partition” has a fire resistance requirement of 1 hour minimum as well.


More often than not, a fire partition is just a commonly referred to phrase in the industry and really has become synonymous with fire barrier. However, when taking control of the fire protection in your building make sure you are very clear as to the fire resistance requirements.


If you have questions about the requirements for fire and smoke protection in your building, give Smoke Guard a call. Our fire protection specialist can help find the best solution for your building.


1: A fire barrier (Section 707) must have minimum of 1 hour rating, but may extend to a four hour rating depending on the occupancy type.  See table 707.3.10.

2: A fire partition (Section 708) must have a minimum of a 1/2 hour rating, and that is the exception for R Occupancies.  Otherwise they must have a 1 hour rating.  See 708.3