Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF), Fire Engineering and Fire Risk Management Consultants
Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF), Fire Engineering and Fire Risk Management Consultants


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Technical Bulletins

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EB-6 Access and Facilities for Firefighters

This bulletin outlines some of the key requirements – and recent revisions – of British Standard 5588-5, a design document that provides guidance on access and facilities for firefighters in buildings.

EB-5 An Introduction to BS 5588: Pt 12

An Introduction to BS 5588: Pt 12: Fire precautions in the design, construction and use of buildings - Managing fire safety When developing specifications for new-build and refurbishment projects, building designers and the design team rarely consider fire precautions beyond the Building Control approvals stage. The architect’s sole task is to design a building to meet the client’s aesthetic and functional demands. All involved assume that if prescriptive fire safety standards are met, then the design duty is similarly met. But fire safety is a process that concerns the whole ‘life cycle’ of the building, from design through the various occupancies and uses to which the building is put for the whole of its working life. This bulletin looks at the building from its design and subsequent occupation onwards, to review what safety levels are needed at each stage. The bulletin also summarises the purpose and context of the new ‘Managing fire safety’ British Standard.

EB-4 - An introduction to Probability Risk Assessment

The Probabilistic Risk Assessment is a method of hazard analysis that considers a range of fire scenarios likely to occur in a building. It represents a complete analysis of a building’s fire safety design. The assessment uses fire data gathered from previous fires – generally information taken from dedicated databases. This Technical Bulletin gives a brief description of the method, as well as its possible applications and advantages.

EB-3 Smoke control inside atria - Part 2

The choice of smoke control systems for atria and similar buildings varies according to the layout and proposed architectural features. Such systems can be evaluated using performance-based design, or the prescriptive recommendations for atria outlined in BS 5588-7, which provides options for enclosure and fire alarm and suppression systems. October’s bulletin outlined the main factors affecting the volume of smoke produced within a building, and architectural methods of reducing this. This bulletin describes the design process and the variety of factors that might influence design decisions.

EB-2 Smoke control inside atria - Part 1

Many factors influence the choice of smoke control systems for atria and similarly designed buildings. The prescriptive recommendations for atria outlined in BS 5588-7 provides options for enclosure, smoke venting, fire alarms and suppression systems. Alternatively, performance-based design can be used to evaluate atrium smoke control needs. October’s bulletin is intended to help designers, or those working with existing buildings needing smoke control, to reduce smoke ventilation requirements. The next bulletin will detail the variations possible in smoke control system design.

EB -1 Fire protection requirements for structural steel design

Prescriptive requirements for the protection of structural steel can be onerous, both in the UK and overseas. Following the tragedies at the World Trade Centre on 11 September 2001, there has been even greater reluctance to deviate from such requirements, since investigations showed that steel protection in the Twin Towers had not been adequately applied and maintained. But steel requirements, as detailed under the building documents, can be very conservative. Depending on the building’s use, construction and geometry, they can be less cost-effective than installing other systems to compensate. This bulletin provides a brief outline of performance-based design opportunities for a variety of applications.

ARC29 Fire Engineering Explained:-

What is fire engineering ? Fire engineering is a relatively new science developed principally as a reaction to the developing trends in building technology.

ARC34 Fire Engineering in Practice - Train Maintenance Depot

In 2003, LWF were appointed to provide a fire-engineered solution for a new railway maintenance facility situated in the South East of England. The scheme comprised a warehouse type structure 265m long by 50m wide by 12m high, designed and built specifically for the maintenance and minor repairs of trains. Central to the design were 3 maintenance pits, which ran the whole length of the building and allowed staff to work beneath the trains. In addition there were 2 shorter tracks of 124m long with overhead crane facilities allowed for carriages to be lifted off their bogies. Due to the length of the building, the original design proposed 5 pedestrian tunnels running perpendicular to the maintenance pits in order to reduce travel distances and therefore allow for the building to comply with prescriptive requirements. In this bulletin we outline how the use of fire engineering techniques, helped provide an alternative solution to that prescribed in Approved Document B, which met all the requirements of the approvals authority and which also resulted in significant cost saving for the client.

ARC33 Design of Residential Apartments, Common Areas of Deviation

Within, Approved Document B (ADB) or BS 5588 Part 1 (Code of Practice for Residential Buildings) there are several prescriptive requirements for the common areas within apartment buildings that are often problematic for designers and building developers. These include: The requirements for smoke venting from the stair, using automatic opening vents (AOVs), or openable vents (OVs) Requirements for smoke venting from common lobbies or corridors, using AOVs or OVs Other specific requirements on common spaces within accommodation buildings. LWF has in the past often been approached to provide alternative design options where, due to the size or geometry of the building, conforming to prescriptive solutions has not been feasible. This may be due to the fact that the building in question is an existing structure, some levels of the building are subject to alteration or the particular design approach preferred by the client. In addition, architects and building developers often require some creative freedom and rely on LWF to discuss how their architectural vision can be achieved. This generally involves discussions with the architect and/or client, followed by liaison with the approving governing authority. This bulletin outlines some of our more recent case studies

ARC32 Fire engineering for retail environment:-

In 2002, LWF were appointed by project managers MACE to work with the team designing a new retail and entertainment complex in Spain. The complex forms part of the new two-storey Xanadu Shopping Centre outside the capital, Madrid. Darin Millar BEng Civil (Hons) MEFE, Senior Project Fire Engineer, explains the application of performance-based fire engineering principles to this project.

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  • Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment - Firefighting & Rising Water Mains - Part 36

    In LWF’s fire engineering blog series for Architects and others in the building design business, we have been talking about firefighting and rising water mains in buildings. In part 35, we began to discuss wet rising water mains and in part 36 we will continue looking at that subject before considering horizontal mains, also known as internal hydrants, which are seen more commonly in buildings with large floor area.It was established in part 35...


  • Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises - Fire Safety Audits - Part 70

    In LWF’s blog series for healthcare professionals, the aim is to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 69, we discussed the management of staffing levels and in addition to the number of staff available, it was important that each and every staff member had adequate training in fire and evacuation issues. In part 70, we will discuss fire safety audits and what arrangements should be...


  • Facilities Management & Fire Safety - Business Continuity Insurance - Part 17

    In LWF’s blog series for those who work in Facilities Management or who have an interest in or responsibility for fire safety, we have been looking at how businesses are protected against interruption from fire. In part 16, we began an overview of the history of consequential loss insurance, which only came into being around 1900, long after life and property protection insurance.  In part 17, we continue from the 1960s.Although the increase in...


  • Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment - Firefighting & Rising Water Mains - Part 35

    In LWF’s Fire Engineering blog series for Architects and others in the building design business, we have been looking at those provisions which can be made to assist firefighting in case of a fire. In part 34, we commenced looking at wet rising mains and noted that while they can be permanently connected to water mains, it is more common to see the systems connected to a water tank with a pump or gravity feed,...


  • Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises - Fire Safety & Staffing Levels - Part 69

    In LWF’s blog series for healthcare professionals, the aim is to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 68, LWF discussed staffing levels in terms of fire safety and the importance of the staff in attendance having sufficient fire safety training. In part 69, we will continue looking at staffing levels and fire safety concerns.The management of any healthcare venue must consider and agree what...


Case Studies

Brentwood Town Hall Redevelopment
The redevelopment of Brentwood Town Hall included renovating the existing five storey property to provide police and council offices, a community hub and lettable office space across the basement, gro...

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General Bulletins

Fire - The External Risk
When we consider fire safety, our focus is normally from within, what can we do to prevent the occurrence of fire and how we can limit its damage.  Whilst this is the correct stance to take, we m...

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Technical Bulletins

Evacuation Modelling - Factor in Human Behaviour
Evacuation of buildings can be analyzed in different ways. Approved Document B (ADB) which provides guidance on meeting the requirements of the England and Wales Building Regulations with regard to fi...

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