Lawrence Webster Forrest
Tel: +44 (0)20 8668 8663 Fax: +44 (0)20 8668 8583
Lawrence Webster Forrest
Tel: +44 (0)20 8668 8663 Fax: +44 (0)20 8668 8583
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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.
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.
Fire safety legislation: Currently being updated.
Fire Safety Legislation: Currently being updated
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In LWF's Fire Engineering blog series for Architects and others involved in building design, we have been looking at firefighting. In part 17, we began to look at how firefighting is undertaken by the Fire Service and their objectives and modes of operation when arriving at a fire. In part 19, tactical firefighting is discussed.While the general objectives of tactical firefighting were given in the last blog, there are various methods used by firefighters...
In LWFs 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 51 of this series, we were looking at the potential for fire spread from one area of a building to another through external surfaces, before moving on to begin to look at the necessary arrangements for car parks. In part 52, we continue on that theme by considering...
In LWFs 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 fire safety engineering. In part 8, we looked at how ASET (Available Safe Egress Time) is calculated and how this should always be more than the RSET (Required Safe Egress Time). While ASET involves a series of calculations relating to fire growth and the building itself, RSET, also...
In LWF’s fire engineering blog series for Architects and others in the business of building design, we have been looking at firefighting. In part 16, we discussed first-aid firefighting by the occupancy and the use of hose reels to do so. In part 17, we will begin to look at firefighting from the point of view of the Fire Services.The particular objectives of the Fire Service in a given situation will be decided upon...
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 50 of this series, we discussed the potential for external fire spread including calculating unprotected areas and consideration of the surfaces of external walls and roofs. In part 51, we continue looking at external fire spread, starting with junctions of different elements.At the junction of wall and...
The Wohl Neuroscience Institute - Fire Safety, Strategy & Engineering
Key Facts: Client: King’s Clinical Neuroscience Institute Project Manager: MACE Ltd Designers: Devereux Architects/Allies and Morrison Approximate Size: 7,400m2 Description of the Project:...
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.Â Whilst this is the correct stance to take, we m...
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...