The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment – Fire Safety Management – Part 6

December 9, 2019 3:09 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 5, LWF discussed building design with fire safety management and fire prevention in mind. In part 6, we continue by looking at the provision of fire safety systems and designing for change of use, before considering the process from construction to handover.

Sustainability of fire safety provision is essential when designing and constructing a new building. Any and all fire safety equipment provided should be in good working order and be of a sufficient quality to ensure it will be resilient, durable and maintainable.

When designing a new build, it is important to consider whether it is being constructed for a specific purpose or use and if the management structure is already in place. If so, the building’s fire safety provision can be designed to fit the needs of the intended owner/occupier. If not, the designer should consider providing a greater level of fire safety protection with the least possible reliance on effective fire safety management to allow for maximum flexibility in potential future uses for the build.

When considering the timeline of building design and construction, it is important to consider the potential for fires to occur during the construction process. Fires commonly occur on building sites and are most frequent towards the end of the project. Hot work, for instance, is a particularly hazardous and high-risk activity and is often undertaken before any fire safety systems are up and running.

Once the basic building framework is in place, fitting out begins and many of the same fire safety issues which were relevant during building construction remain a risk. It is particularly important at this time to ensure that escape routes are kept clear in case a fire occurs and evacuation of the workforce is necessary.

In the case of a speculative build, fire safety provisions must either be fully comprehensive to allow for greater usage potential, or the limitations must be stated in the fire safety manual to ensure the new occupiers or owners are aware that they should take further fire protection steps where necessary or that they must operate within those limitations.

In part 7, LWF will consider approvals and certification and commissioning and handover of a new build. 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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