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BS 6266: 2002 - Code of Practice for fire protection for electronic equipment installations was published by the Standards Policy and Strategy Committee on 20 December 2002. Its long preparation had been directed by the Health and Environment Policy and Strategy Committee. Previous editions, such as BS 6266: 1992: Code of Practice for the fire protection for data processing installations, had centred on fire protection of centralised data processing installations and computer rooms the nerve centres of many industrial and commercial operations.
Building occupiers who make their premises more accessible for disabled persons might be increasing fire risk to life. The January 2003 bulletin looks at the forces driving increased disabled access and examines the ways in which this process can affect fire safety - and how employers can manage the increased risk. In October 2004, changes to The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 comes into force. This will require providers of goods, facilities and services to modify their premises to provide a non-discriminatory building for the disabled. Recognising this development has led many organisations to commission ‘access audits’. Companies are often thrown into turmoil when managers realise that providing equal levels of facility and service to physically disabled people may mean comprehensive re-planning and reorganisation of their premises. This bulletin gives the answer to the questions all occupiers are asking: What fire safety provisions does the building occupier have to provide for the disabled person? Whose responsibility is the emergency evacuation of the disabled? The bulletin goes on to discuss the various areas of disability. Most of the time the term ‘disabled’ conjures the image of a person in a wheelchair. But managers also have to consider those who are partially ambulant, breathless, pregnant or even simply getting on in years. The bulletin emphasises the importance of the fire risk assessment. Questions can be asked such as: do we need to evacuate the disabled every time the fire alarm system is activated? This is not always necessary, although passive and other fire protection measures have to be in place to protect a disabled person who remains, possibly in a specially designed ‘refuge’. In most circumstances, the bulletin concludes, fire risk will be controlled by management procedures. As with any fire evacuation system, effective procedures are essential.
In November's 2002 bulletin, Kevin Parsons BSc (Hons) Fire Safety examines the contractual and management issues surrounding passive fire precautions. Todays complex buildings rely more than ever on multiple fire protection systems. All of a buildings fire safety systems must operate in an efficient, integrated manner if the safety of the structure and its occupants is to be assured. Passive fire precautions are a necessary part of any fire safety solution. Compartment walls are classic examples, because they remain unchanged between the normal and fire conditions. Passive systems stand in place within the structure of existing buildings. They will have been there since the original construction or, perhaps, the latest refurbishment. Building managers cannot always be sure as to which walls within a building are compartment walls, or their condition, or their fire rating. On new-build sites, contracts should state clearly who is responsible for ensuring that passive precautions are properly built. A specialist fire-stopping contractor should bear complete responsibility for passive separations. If passive systems are compromised it is usually by building services. When any installation work is carried out in a building, the impact on passive protection features should be considered. Penetrations are not the only element of passive systems that can cause problems during construction. The level of accuracy of the installed door may be low when compared with the door that won approval when tested. In todays environment of churn dynamics it is important that buildings are designed with sufficient flexibility to allow change. Consideration should also be given to the restraints that passive precautions may place on a buildings use and the effect any change may have on these precautions. The same level of consideration should be given to passive measures as is regularly accorded to active precautions.
The volume of fire safety legislation has increased dramatically over the last 30 years and as a result, the fire protection industry has introduced many products and systems that allow building owners to comply with the law. The bulletin begins by defining exactly what is meant by active fire precautions, and listing the various forms they can take. Fire precaution systems must be maintained and tested on a regular basis. The bulletin gives detailed advice on the type of contract a specifier should be looking to sign. Architects and building owners should consider using the services of an expert consultant when choosing system management and maintenance providers. The issue of keeping up to date with changes in the law is also addressed. The bulletin emphasis the necessity not only for competent maintenance but accurate record keeping - the absence of proper records of maintenance and testing can invalidate an insurance policy in the event of a system failure during a fire.
Employers have a legal obligation to provide adequate fire safety instruction for all their staff. It is a basic requirement of fire safety legislation, just as important as the provision of good means of escape or an appropriate method of raising the alarm. The Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997 (as amended) make this absolutely clear, where earlier legislation frequently skated over the issue.
The latest edition of the LWF Professional bulletin in which we consider the specification of automatic fire alarm and detection systems. The specification of works to install an Automatic Fire Detection (AFD) system is sometimes treated with a wholly unnecessary mystique. The language used in the document seems designed to prevent understanding, rather than to explain the requirements clearly. In the worst cases the meaning is totally lost in a snowstorm of contract clauses many of which refer to some entirely separate document.
This bulletin discusses Fire safety as FM
Update for Halon Replacement incorporating new dates and time frame.
The first of these bulletins was aimed at discussing the challenges faced by Facilities Managers when implementing fire safety in premises. We put forward the argument that fire safety is a holistic issue, which should be controlled by the fire risk assessment process. In this issue we expand on the points made previously and look in more detail at the likely events and processes that affect fire safety and the typical issues that the Facilities Manager has to deal with.
Today's Facilities Manager is faced with a raft of responibilites in the on-going management of a building or building portfolio. Demands on time range from the planning of services to the reactive demands of premises occupants and it is our experience that it is these reactive demands that often distract the attention from more strategic and on-going management issues. Services provided to an organisation occupying premises can include operational and planning requirements, lease compliance issues and those services, which are required under statutory controls. It is the latter category as the requirements relate to fire safety management that this paper is intended to address.