The issue of downlights and finding a suitable barrier and installation method remains an ongoing challenge to contractors.
Worse still is the fact that many installers of downlights themselves to not adhere to the rules about installing downlights in the vicinity of roof structure elements e.g. purlins. Fires have even occurred even in the absence of insulation, where just the wooden structural members begins to char owing to the excessive heat created mainly by halogen downlight globes and even within 240-12 v transformers.
The topic has come more to the fore in recent months with the involvement of TIASA that are now establishing a technical working committee to evolve governing standards for their members. The problem is not unique to South Africa, in the UK suitable approved fire resistant covers are a mandatory requirement with insulation installations. When Australia adopted new Energy Efficiency legislation a few years back and introduced a free insulation scheme for domestic households it enticed a lot of fly by night operators into the insulation industry, some of these operators did not adhere to appropriate guidelines resulting in close to 90 fires and ultimately led to the resignation of the then Federal Environmental Minister Peter Garrett.
Eco-Insulation has devised some special solutions to control the downlighter fire hazard. The devices pictured below were designed, built and patented by Eco Cape Town.
Making ready for the installation of downlighter protector. Note - proximity of the wooden cross-member.
Note - patent Eco-Cape Town
A completed installation - note how hot air is vented out into the roofspace.