The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Facilities Management Personnel – Fire Safety Legislation – Part 6

August 12, 2019 12:45 pm

Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF) is a specialist fire engineering and fire risk management consultancy whose aim is to give information on best practice in fire safety for facilities management personnel through this blog series. In part 5, we looked at the Building Regulations, parts B3, B4 and the start of B5. In part 6, we continue discussing regulation B5.

Regulation B5

It was established in our last blog that Regulation B5 relates to access to the building and other fire safety measures to assist the Fire Service in their aim of life safety only. In other words, the regulation does not relate to property protection measures. Approved Document B (ADB),  produced by Communities and Local Government, breaks down the requirements of the five regulations into technical detail to assist in providing the fire protection required.

ADB gives information such as a breakdown of the various periods of fire resistance according to the size and intended use of the building and refers to relevant British Standard tests.

The functions described in ADB are known as ‘prescriptive solutions’ and while they are one way to fulfil the requirements of the Building Regulations, they are not the only way to fulfil the functional requirements. Alternative methods and solutions can be used and, on occasion, it may be that the solution given in ADB isn’t suitable or would be overly onerous when a simpler and at least as effective solution is available.

While a fire safety solution taken straight from ADB and implemented correctly would result in approval, as it would satisfy the Regulations, alternative approaches will need to demonstrate how they achieve the requirements.

Some ways in which a proposed solution may differ from the prescriptive guidance include:

– The use of alternative recognised guidance for special occupancies, such as schools, hospitals, indoor shopping malls, assembly buildings such as theatres or cinemas and any building containing one or more atrium.

– The use of a generally applicable guidance document, such as BS 9999.

– A fire engineered solution, purpose designed for the project in hand.

While any solution given in ADB or BS 9999 or alternative recognised guidance for special occupancies will relate solely to life safety, a fire engineered solution can serve to fulfil life safety standards as required by the Regulations and also incorporate any necessary elements to protect property. Such solutions can also address particular design issues and often reduce costs.

LWF will continue this blog series in part 7 by continuing to discuss Regulation B5, before beginning to look at the relevant Building Regulations in Scotland and Northern Ireland. In the meantime, if you have any queries about your own facilities or wish to discuss this blog series, please contact Peter Gyere in the first instance on 0800 410 1130.

Lawrence Webster Forrest is a fire engineering consultancy based in Surrey with over 25 years’ experience, which provides a wide range of consultancy services to professionals involved in the design, development and construction and operation of buildings.

While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF’s publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.

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