Fire Resistance in Construction and How Bricks Contribute to Building Safety

Fire Resistance in Construction and How Bricks Contribute to Building Safety

February 21st 2024

Whether they're for residential or commercial purposes, buildings are meant to promote safety and stability. So, when something like a fire happens, it can be devastating to both your peace of mind and your bank account.

Luckily, there are numerous fire-resistant materials construction companies can use, including bricks, which are renowned for preventing fires and promoting safety.

In this guide, we'll explore why fire resistance is essential for construction projects and reveal why bricks are central to your building needs.

The importance of fire resistance in buildings

Even a minor fire can result in serious repercussions, including property loss, long-term structural damage and expensive repairs.

According to Morgan Clark, there were around 35,000 house fires between 2021 and 2022 in the UK, with cooking appliances being the most significant contributor. However, using fire-resistant materials can prevent a fire from spreading.

Let's explore why these materials are so important.


Fire-resistant buildings can protect human and animal life by delaying the frames from spreading. They ensure there's enough time for evacuation, which ultimately saves lives.

Damage reduction

As fire-resistant construction limits the spread of fire in buildings, it can prevent damage to your belongings. Not only does this mean you won't have to replace them, but you can also avoid prolonged insurance claims.

Structural integrity

One of the most significant consequences of fires is how they compromise a building's structural integrity. Using resistant materials can prevent severe damage and reduce the chances of building loss.

Better response

Firefighters and other emergency responders need to address the source of a fire rapidly to prevent it from worsening. Resistant materials can help them enter the building quickly, which means a more successful evacuation.

Environmental benefits

Fires can have a devastating impact on the environment, causing air pollution. However, buildings that have higher resistance levels can minimise the effects on the environment.

Also, these materials can have a longer lifespan, which means the building won't need regular repairs and maintenance.

Bricks are key materials for fire resistance

Bricks are renowned for their fire resistance, primarily due to their composition of materials and the manufacturing process. Let's take a look at what makes bricks ideal for fire resistance:

Material Composition Bricks combine shale and clay, which are more fire-resistant. Their high melting point makes them unique, meaning they can withstand high temperatures without combusting.

Manufacturing Process The brick manufacturing process involves using a kiln to fire them at temperatures between 1,000 and 1,200 Celsius. The heat removes water content and organic materials from the clay, which makes the bricks non-combustible.

Thermal Conductivity Bricks have low thermal conductivity and don't transfer heat quickly. When a fire occurs, the heat doesn't pass through the brick, which prevents it from spreading.

Structural Integrity Unlike materials such as plastic and wood, bricks don't experience structural changes when exposed to heat. This means they won't disintegrate or melt, which maintains structural integrity.

No Toxic Fumes Some synthetic materials can release toxic fumes, but bricks can promote safety and reduce the risks of inhaling toxic smoke.

Which bricks are the most fire-resistant?

Bricks aren't all made equal, and it's essential to understand which offers the most fire resistance when selecting them for your construction project.

We need to explore each brick type's composition, unique properties and the manufacturing process, ultimately defining how the brick reaches when exposed to extreme temperatures.

Clay bricks

Civilisations have used clay bricks to construct buildings of all shapes and sizes for thousands of years, making them one of the most popular building materials around. Their unique manufacturing process also makes them highly resistant to fires:

Extraction To make bricks, manufacturers need to extract clay from the earth, and the quality of the clay will impact the brick's properties.

Preparation The clay is mixed with water and ground to ensure a pliable consistency that's easy to shape. Then, manufacturers will mould it into bricks using machines or by hand.

Drying The bricks must dry, gradually reducing moisture content and preparing them for firing.

Firing Once ready, the bricks go into a kiln, which fires them at high temperatures. They'll gradually harden and begin to get their unique colour.

Concrete bricks

Concrete bricks are popular materials for buildings because they're cost-effective but boast superior properties to many materials.

Depending on the manufacturer, they combine water, cement and other materials, including gravel, crushed stone or sand.

You can find a range of concrete bricks available, and most variations offer longevity, making them ideal for commercial applications.

However, while concrete bricks offer numerous benefits, when compared to high-performance bricks, they don't provide superior insulation properties.

Calcium Silicate bricks

Also called sand-lime bricks, these unique building materials use a combination of lime, sand and other materials.

These materials use high-pressure steam curing to create a smooth and uniform texture when mixed together.

What makes calcium silicate bricks unique is their precise size, meaning they're ideal for decorative features and intricate patterns.

They also have excellent thermal properties and are highly fire-resistant. Many people combine them with clay bricks for aesthetic appeal.

However, the manufacturing process does require a lot of energy, so there are better choices than this if you're worried about your carbon footprint.

Engineering bricks

Engineering bricks are popular for civil engineers and commercial buildings because their unique manufacturing process ensures long-term durability and fire resistance.

Like clay bricks, the manufacturing process fires the materials at high temperatures, resulting in a low-porosity, high-strength finish.

However, engineering bricks are more expensive than clay bricks, so they're mainly for buildings requiring extra durability.

Their hard finish also means manufacturers need specialist tools to cut the bricks.

The bottom line

Choosing fire-resistant bricks for your construction project ensures you can enjoy peace of mind and a building that won't disappoint you. These bricks are an investment, but the long-term benefits far outweigh the initial cost.

If you're looking for the best deals on high-performance bricks, Brickhunter is the go-to place. We work with the most reputable suppliers around and offer unparalleled customer support.

Please feel free to contact our friendly team today for advice.