Some buildings in the UK use oil for activities such as heating or cooking, and usually the oil needs to be stored on site. The storage of oil needs to be carefully monitored. Oil is flammable, and therefore, great caution must be employed if you are going to store it – even in relatively small quantities. It is important that oil is protected both from outside risks, but also from leaking into the outside environment, and this is why on many occasions it is recommended that you store your oil in a bunded oil tank.
What is a Bunded Oil Tank?
There are generally two types of bunded oil tanks – plastic bunded oil tanks and steel bunded oil tanks. The difference between the two is, of course, the material that the tank is made from. The similarity between the two tanks is that they are bunded. This means that the tank consists of having effectively, a tank within a tank. This gives it an extra layer of protection so that should the inner skin get damaged or corrode, the oil is protected.
In some cases, however, it is important that the tank is fire resistant, with extra protection from the occasion of a fire. A fire resistant bunded oil tank has been specifically designed to repel fire and has, therefore, been approved by Local Authority Building Control guidelines to be placed closer to fire hazards than a conventional bunded oil tank. A bunded tank that is not deemed to be ‘fire resistant’, for example, cannot be stored inside a home. In this case, you would need to have a ‘fire resistant bunded oil tank’.
Fire resistant Bunded Oil Tanks
Fire resistant bunded oil tanks are particularly useful if you are limited in the space where you can place your oil tank. They can also prevent the need for a fire screen wall to be fitted and are typically available in either plastic or steel.
Here at Tanks for Everything, we have two brands of fire resistant bunded oil tanks - Envirostore and TUFFA. They both do the same job in slightly different ways.
Envirostore – Envirostore’s fire resistant bunded oil tanks are called the ‘Firecheck’ tank. They come in a range of sizes between the 1,000 litre Firecheck tank and the larger 2,500 litre Firecheck tank. Envirostore’s fire resistant tanks consist of a plastic bunded tank within a steel outer layer, and with a fire-rated material between the two. This gives the tank up to 30 minutes of fire resistance.
TUFFA – TUFFA’s fire resistant bunded oil tanks are known as their ‘Firestop’ tanks. There is a range of different sized tanks, from the 900 litre capacity oil tank to the 2438 litre capacity oil tank. They are available either in a domestic capacity – with 30-minute fire resistance, or in a commercial capacity – with 60-minute fire resistance. Both steel and plastic tanks are available and they consist of a bunded plastic tank with a material that is fire retardant surrounding the inner tank. The fire retardant material can act as a fire barrier.
Domestic and Commercial Oil Tanks
The definition of a ‘domestic’ and ‘commercial’ oil tank is based on the circumstances under which they are being used.
A domestic oil tank is defined as a tank that supplies a single dwelling (a house or bungalow, and not a block of flats), where the oil is used for heating or cooking, and where the capacity of the tank is less than 3,500 litres.
A commercial oil tank would serve a block of flats or commercial buildings, with a tank capacity of over 3,500 litres.
Fire Resistant Bunded Oil Tank Options
In addition to the two different brands of fire resistant bunded oil tanks and their size, there are also some other options that you should consider when you are choosing a tank to buy.
These include your offloading preferences for when the tank is delivered, and whether you would prefer to have an outlet at the top of the tank or the bottom.
Fitting a Fire Resistant Bunded Oil Tank
When you are fitting a fire resistant bunded oil tank, there may be some restrictions to the place where you can put it. It is important that you check this before you fit it.
You should place the tank on a solid and even non-combustible base. The base should still extend 300mm beyond the perimeter of the tank. You should also consider getting it fitted by a professional and getting the installation of the oil tank signed off by the Building Control or a Competent Person’s scheme, such as APHC.