Fire Barrier vs. Fire Partition

Passive smoke and fire management systems can often have confusing language.

The terms "barrier" and "partition" are often used interchangeably, but the International Building Code (IBC) has specific requirements for each.

According to the IBC, a fire "barrier" must have a minimum fire resistance rating of 1 hour. Similarly, a fire "partition" is also required to have a fire resistance rating of at least 1 hour.

Although the term "fire partition" is commonly used in the industry, it has essentially become synonymous with "fire barrier". However, it is crucial to be clear on the specific fire resistance requirements when implementing fire protection measures in your building.

If you have any questions regarding the fire and smoke protection requirements for your building, contact SG Solutions. Our fire protection experts can assist you in finding the most suitable 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