The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment – Fire Safety Management – Part 36

July 6, 2020 11:48 am

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 35, LWF discussed the potential fire safety hazards of contractors and building work and how to mitigate them, before beginning to look at building change of use. In part 36, we will continue taking about change of use before considering units and buildings disused or decommissioned.

Where a building undergoes a change of use, or a change in the scale of operations, then the fire safety management requirements will have to be carefully re-assessed for the new use.

The assumptions made and level of management specified must either be appropriate for the new use or changes should be made. The changes necessary may include changes to management structure, or to the addition of elements of active or passive fire protection retro-fitted to the building.

A building undergoing change of use must be reviewed by any necessary regulatory bodies and the reviewers will need to see that the appropriate level of fire safety has been reinstated in the building. For any building falling under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in England and Wales, the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006 or the Fire Safety (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2006, a new or reviewed fire safety risk assessment will be required.

Where a building contains units and one of the units is not in use and has been decommissioned, routine inspections should be intensified to ensure fire protection systems remain fully operational, where such provision is installed. The unit should be physically separated from the rest of the building with fire-resistant construction or have an operational sprinkler system if it is not physically separate from the other units.
An entire building that has been decommissioned and is not in use does not present a very high risk to life in fire safety terms. The ongoing fire safety management of such premises should concentrate on fire prevention. All power supplies should be disabled, materials that might self-heat or materials that might be subject to arson should be removed and security should be maintained to prevent arson.

The management of a building which is being demolished is similar to that of one being constructed in that there are significant risks of ignition in a building where the fire protection provision will be either disabled or missing.

In part 37, LWF will begin to look at the fire control centre, a facility which must be provided in any building designed for phased evacuation. 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.

Share this post