The LWF Blog

Fire Safety Engineering for Design – Building Types & Fire Load – Part 25

April 19, 2021 12:52 pm

LWF’s Fire Safety Engineering blog series is written for Architects, building designers and others in the construction industry to highlight and promote discussion on all topics around fire engineering. In part 24, LWF talked about how large numbers of people in a building affects means of escape and how the inclusion of sleeping accommodation in a building impacts on fire detection and safe evacuation. In part 25, we talk about building occupants who may be at a disadvantage, before looking at buildings which are multi-occupancy.

Disadvantaged occupants are any persons who would need assistance during an evacuation of the building in a fire situation. They may be disadvantaged due to their age (young or old), a physical or learning disability or because of a temporary condition causing mobility issues. Some pregnant women may need assistance during an evacuation, for instance, but would not normally be classed as disadvantaged unless their mobility was an issue.

Means of escape from a building for disabled persons should be given special attention and Approved Document M gives guidance on access and exit provision for people with health conditions and impairments. In addition, BS 9999 incorporates this element in inclusive designs.

The management team for the building should be consulted with during the design stage in order to ensure the needs of disadvantaged occupants are taken into account and incorporated into the design. The need for evacuation lifts or chairs, refuges and compartmented areas can be established and implemented.

Multi-Occupancy Buildings

Where there are multiple occupancies or tenancies in the same building, it means that there may be different standards of care and attention to fire safety and fire precautions. In these circumstances, it may be necessary to ensure that a fire in one part of the building alerts the other occupancies.

In addition, the building may contain different purpose groups and this situation may call for additional fire safety provisions to be put into place, such as increased fire separation, separate means of escape etc. This is particularly the case where one or more occupancies may include sleeping facilities. In situations where sleeping accommodation is provided, whether it is residential or temporary accommodation for people working shifts, additional attention must be paid to fire precautions.

In part 26 of LWF’s series on fire engineering, we will touch on special features in buildings and life safety and property protection. 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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