The LWF Blog
Fire Safety for Facilities Management Personnel – Structural Fire Protection – Part 147May 3, 2022 11:55 am
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 146, LWF discussed the need to check means of escape provision on a regular basis. In part 147, we begin to look at building construction and structural fire protection.
Structural fire protection is those measures within a building’s layout or construction which are intended to reduce the effects of a fire. Passive fire protection products are used within the building’s construction.
Structural fire protection is used to limit the effects of fire in these broad areas, controlled by the building regulations:
- Building collapse
- Fire spread within the building
- Flame spread over wall linings and ceilings
- Fire spread beyond the building
In addition, the spread of smoke within the building may be another area to target with structural fire protection.
The requirements of the building regulations may be exceeded by the necessity to control the hazards present, e.g. fire spread in order to protect property or critical facilities. The building regulations and other fire safety legislation are concerned with life protection, i.e. protecting the occupants of a building (or any nearby building) for a sufficient time for them to effect a safe evacuation from the building to a place of safety.
When a building owner or architect is considering the building design, they may also be concerned with property or contents protection and business continuity. With this in mind, the building’s structural fire protection may be of a higher standard than is required by law.
The overview given in these blogs will refer to the requirements of the Building Regulations 2000 in England and Wales, but similar principles apply to the legislation in place in Northern Ireland and Scotland.
The building regulations require that a structure is sufficiently stable to ensure it will stay standing while people evacuate the building in a fire situation and to minimise risk to firefighters who may enter the building to put out the fire.
B3 of Schedule 1 to the Building Regulations 2000 states: ‘the building shall be designed and constructed so that, in the event of fire, its stability will be maintained for a reasonable period’.
In part 148 of this series, LWF will begin to look at how that requirement translates into structural engineering practicalities. In the meantime, if you have any queries about your own facilities or wish to discuss this blog series, please contact LWF on freephone 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.