Thinking of installing some downlights in your home? Have you considered the difference between Fire-Rated or non-fire rated downlights? Yes there is a large price difference between the two types and for good reason. If in doubt you should always seek the advice of a qualified electrician.
Your plasterboard ceiling acts as a Fire Barrier by design, this is in part-B of the Building Regulations and when you cut a hole in your ceiling you create a break in that fire barrier, which in the event of a fire would allow the flames to spread faster through your home unchecked to the timber joists and floorboards.
Most good quality fire rated downlighters are fitted with intumescent pads which swell up in the event of a fire, sealing any gaps to help block the spread of the fire, by maintaining the ceilings ability to act as a fire barrier once more.
Fire rated downlights are rated at either 30, 60 or 90 minutes, this is the length of time they are designed to resist the fire, providing the homeowner with more time to escape the building.