Fire protection in tunnel construction

In a society in which mobility is increasing and the volume of traffic is growing rapidly, modern, high-performance tunnels with reliable fire-protection are crucial. Increasingly long and complex tunnel systems are being planned and built, and existing tunnels modernized, in order to meet the growing requirements.

Impact and damage

Because of the spatial limitations of a tunnel, tunnel fires render all escape, rescue and repair measures rather difficult, and are hence regarded to be the greatest risk to people, vehicles and the tunnel structure itself. High-performance fire-protection systems are therefore required to satisfy the demanding structural fire-protection requirements in tunnels. These measures reduce the risk of injury, and avoid severe fire damage to the tunnel structure and, consequently, long closures (leading to a loss of income for tunnel operators and neighboring regions).


two workers looking into a tunnel

roadworks on the outside of a tunnel

Requirements for structural fire-protection systems in tunnels

Requirements for structural fireprotection systems are assessed on a project-specific basis using internationally recognised time-temperature curves (see page 6-7).
The structural fire-protection system ensures that, in the event of a fire:

  • No damage occurs that threatens the stability of the tunnel
  • No permanent deformation of the structure occurs that restricts the usability of the tunnel
  • The leak tightness of the structure is guaranteed on a continuous basis
Cladding with Aestuver® fire-protection boards

Cladding with Aestuver® fire-protection boards for tunnels

Aestuver® fire-protection boards are used as independently fixed or directly concreted (Permanent Formwork) cladding in underground transport systems and protects the entire concrete structure and reinforcement from harmful temperatures. The clear benefits of Aestuver® fire-protection boards for tunnel operators and transport agencies include the following:

  • Use of well-established concrete types without PP fibers
  • Can be cleaned using conventional cleaning processes
  • Freeze-thaw-resistant and water-resistant

Why structural fire protection

The structural fire protection system ensures that if a fire occurs:
  • there will be no damage that could endanger the stability of the tunnel
  • no permanent deformations occur in the structure which limit the serviceability of the tunnel
  • the tightness of the structure is further guaranteed.

And above all, simple renovation measures can make the property available for traffic again in a very short time after a fire.

Aestuver® fire protection in tunnels 

Cement-bonded tunnel fire protection panels Aestuver® T and Aestuver® Tx meet the highest safety requirements in underground traffic facilities. An important advantage is that the overall economic damage in the event of a fire is considerably lower than with uncovered concrete.

This is documented in the STUVA study about a profitability and follow-up cost analysis for the use of fire protection panels in tunnels from 2019.

Look at the advantages of the Aestuver® Tx fire protection board yourself:

Aestuver® Tx fire-protection board

Aestuver® Tx Brandschutzplatte

Application areas of Aestuver® fire protection panels and solutions in tunnel construction


  • Fire-protection cladding set in concrete – permanent formwork
  • Independently retrofitted fire-protection cladding on lining segments
  • Smoke extraction layer
  • Finishes for escape and rescue routes
  • Fire-protection for joints
  • Design application

Aestuver® offers its partners and customers individual advice that is fair, needs-based and personalised. Besides tailor-made/bespoke products, we also offer extensive services at no cost. James Hardie sees itself as a supplier of integrated system solutions: from planning to installation and beyond.