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