The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment – Fire Safety Management – Part 4

November 25, 2019 2:34 pm

In LWF’s Fire Engineering blog series for Architects and others involved in building design, we have been looking at the activities of a company which can be classed as fire safety management. In part 3, LWF discussed how the design of the building should be formed with fire safety management by the occupants in mind. In part 4, we talk about the value of management input at building design stage.

When working on a building design, the principles of fire safety design should be employed so that in an emergency situation, the building occupants can easily make their way to a place of safety. The consideration of actual human behaviour during design, particularly in relation to how people act in an emergency situation, will lead the designers to reflect and use the predicted outcomes to drive the solution.

In other words, the fire safety systems within the building should reflect and complement the behaviour that comes naturally to people in an emergency, rather than creating a more complicated system that requires learning by the building occupants.

A clear management brief should be prepared detailing design requirements for the management of the building and discussed in detail with the design team, which will comprise the architect, designer and fire safety engineer. Without this consultation and understanding between management and the design team, there is a danger the new building might need modifications in order to cater for conditions not anticipated by the designers. Changes to the new building will incur additional costs and so all conditions and situations must be clear from the outset.

Equally, if modifications are not made to the building and the management simply accept the building does not fulfil the needs of the business, this can adversely affect business running costs, staffing levels, building and occupant safety and building efficiency.

Fire safety systems should be considered as a part of the fabric of the building and not as an add-on or supplementary item. Where there are conflicts between what is required for safety and what is required for design purposes, compromises and solutions can be worked out by the design team, with fire engineering consultation as necessary. Conflicts must not be ignored or avoided, but in fact sought out and addressed in advance. A conflict on paper will certainly prove problematic when it comes to building operations.

Potential compatibility or systems that must interact must be considered in detail to avoid problems down the line.

When a building is a speculative construction, ie. It is not built for a specific client’s needs, it is appropriate to build with minimal management requirements, but also with consideration of other issues such as any environmental impact and the long-term implications of the design for management over the life of the building.

In part 5, LWF will discuss designing with the management of fire protection in mind. 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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