The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment – Fire Control Centre – Part 1

July 13, 2020 12:05 pm

In LWF’s Fire Engineering blog series for Architects and others involved in building design, we have been looking at those activities of a company which can be classed as fire safety management. In part 1 of this series on the fire control centre, we will discuss provision, placement and communications.

In cases where a building is designed for phased evacuation, or where it is large or complex, a fire control centre should be provided. The fire control centre can be either in a dedicated room or combined with the management central control.

Whichever of the arrangements suits the design, the fire control centre should be sited adjacent to a Fire Service access point or at a different location agreed with the Fire Service. Ideally, it should be accessible directly from open air but where this is not possible, the route from the outside to the fire control centre must be protected, to ensure access in a fire situation.

The fire control centre should be separated from the remainder of the building by 2-hour fire-resisting construction and should include any facilities to enable it to function as normal during a fire emergency. These precautions will allow use of the fire control centre for an extended period of time, as may be necessary.

It should also be provided with a 3-hour non-maintained system of emergency lighting sourced separately from the normal system of lighting, which will allow it to operate if the normal lighting system fails.

Communication systems within the building are also very important for the fire control centre to function efficiently. A reliable means of communication with the fire centre should be provided throughout the building, in the form of either a fire telephone system or a radio telecommunications system which is deemed acceptable by the Fire Authority. The system will allow management of the building to make contact, in conjunction with the fire control system and control of evacuation, and for communications between Fire Service personnel.
All fire telephone systems should conform to the standards in BS 5839-9 Fire detection and fire alarm systems for buildings. Code of practice for the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of emergency voice communication systems.

In part 2, LWF will look at what equipment and information should be provided within the fire control centre. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this blog, or wish to discuss your own project with one of our fire engineers, please contact us.

Lawrence Webster Forrest has been working with their clients for over 25 years to produce innovative and exciting building projects. If you would like further information on how LWF and fire strategies could assist you, please contact the LWF office on 0800 410 1130.

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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