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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General Bulletins

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MS28 Fire Prevention on Construction Sites

RecentHome Office Statistics estimate that there were approximately 400 fires within the construction industry in 1999, 60% of which were started maliciously. This follows a similar pattern seen in recent years and consequently, has serious repercussions for all parties involved in any construction project affected by fire.

MS27 The Effects of False Alarms

In this bulletin we aim to provide those with an interest in fire and fire safety with an understanding of the fundamental aspects of false alarms together with an insight into the industry's response by research and development.

MS16 Fire Safety Legislation

Fire safety legislation: Currently being updated.

MS01 Fire Safety Legislation

Fire Safety Legislation: Currently being updated

MS26 The Economics of Fire Safety:-

We are all aware of the dangers of ignoring fire safety, especially when the event happens however, no matter what the consequences, we all wish we hadn’t The importance of alternative fire management procedures and fire safety policies is rarely understood. The economic consequences of such misunderstandings can have a devastating effect should a major fire occur. For those charged with comparing the cost effectiveness of fire safety strategies, many find the analytical difficulties a considerable hurdle particularly when the value of the item to be protected bears little relation to the cost of a fire. Fire safety is no longer bound by statutory regulations and standards due to the acceptance of fire engineered solutions, however many budgets set aside for fire safety rarely include the full extent of fire management costs and net value changes.

MS25 The Conflict between Fire and Security:-

There has always been conflict between the need to maintain appropriate levels of fire safety against the increasing need to maintain effective levels of security, particularly where means of escape is concerned. The fact that the majority of fires are started deliberately by intruders intent on arson, theft or vandalism highlights the correlation between fire safety and security. This therefore poses some serious questions for an increasing amount of managers who have the responsibility for protecting the building and its occupants not only from fire but also from the threat of intrusion by thieves and vandals. Ultimately, it is possible to satisfy the requirements of fire safety and security by the incorporation of an integrated package of measures, and this is often achieved where new build developments and major refurbish schemes are undertaken. However, although achievable, it is not so easy for an existing fully operational building. It is therefore acknowledged that one of the main concerns for most managers is maintaining effective means of escape for all occupants in the event of an emergency whilst preventing intruders from entering.

MS24 The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999:-

These regulations have been in effect several months now, having replaced and revoked the original Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992. This is the fourth time the original Regulations have been amended having been superseded by the Management of Health and Safety at Work (Amended) Regulations 1994, which relates to expectant Mothers, the Health and Safety (Young Persons) Regulations 1997 and the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997. As the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 introduced amendments proposed by the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Modification) Regulations 1999, certain provisions have been ‘tightened up’ in accordance with the requirements of the European Union. It is these new provisions, highlighted below, which we feel may have a greater impact on organisations and how they operate with regards to Health and Safety Issues.

MS23 Arson Prevention:-

In the United Kingdom, arson is credited as the single most frequent cause of fires in buildings of all kinds. At its worst, arson leads to loss of life and significant financial damage, but persistent and minor arson can also have a detrimental effect on the economic wellbeing of communities. During the 10 years between 1986 & 1996, the number of deliberately started fires increased every year, such that in an average week in 1996, malicious fire-setting resulted in 3500 fires, 50 injuries, 2 deaths and a cost to society estimated at 25M. Historically, arson prevention was considered to be a management/procedural based activity, usually implemented upon building occupation, and it is this approach that will be discussed here. However, increasingly, designers are recognising the merits of incorporating ‘arson hostile’ features to a building during the planning stages this method of prevention by design will be explored in the second part of this bulletin.

MS22 The Building Regulations Approved Document B (ADB) Fire Safety:-

There can be few amongst us who are unaware of the release of the new and amended version of Approved Document B. ADB2000 as it is sure to become known, replaces the 1992 edition and comes into effect on 1st July 2000. The format and layout remains largely unchanged and to those familiar with the contents, it seems to be as ‘user friendly’ as its predecessor. However, changes have been made and some of these changes will undoubtedly affect the way in which buildings are designed and constructed. Other changes are relatively cosmetic and have been made to align the recommendations made in ADB2000 to those detailed in the various fire-related British Standards. As its not possible to detail all the changes, only the major changes or those that are likely to have a significant effect have been commented on from a fire engineering perspective.

MS21 Emergency Planning:-

Since the introduction of the well publicised Fire Precautions (Workplace) (Amended) Regulations 1999, the majority of employers have been aware of the necessity to complete and formerly record a workplace fire risk assessment. However, one aspect of the overall risk assessment process that is commonly overlooked is that of the inclusion of the workplace emergency plan.

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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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