The LWF Blog

Fire Safety Engineering for Design – Building Types & Fire Load – Part 26

April 26, 2021 11:19 am

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 25, LWF talked about building occupants who may be at a disadvantage, before looking at buildings which are multi-occupancy. In part 26, we consider buildings with special features, as well as discussing life safety and property protection.

Each special feature in a building’s design can present its own challenges when it comes to fire safety. It could be that the client wishes the build to include an atrium or large underground spaces, or it could be that the limitations of the building and design mean there can only be one set of stairs.

While a full assessment of each potential special feature cannot be achieved in a blog, due to variables such as building type, placement and purpose, it should be noted that the expertise of a fire engineer will certainly be required on projects including special features, in order to identify the issues, provide solutions and ensure an acceptable level of risk is achieved.

Life Safety and Property Protection

Life safety protection is the fire protection provided to protect building occupants and any firefighters who attend a fire at the premises. Property protection is any fire protection measures designed to protect the property and/or contents of the property. The first is required by law in the UK and the second is not, although some level of property protection may be required by the building’s insurer.

Commonly, property protection measures involve using higher levels of fire precautions than are required for life safety, where the main aim is to maintain tenability for sufficient time for building occupants to escape the building and for the firefighters to attend.

Property protection measures might include fire suppression, smoke management and higher standards of fire resistance. It is possible that providing sufficient life safety protection will afford some level of property protection, but any particular needs or requirements should be addressed by the design team including a fire engineer.

In part 27 of LWF’s series on fire engineering, we will look at what fire precautions must be taken while a building is being constructed, as well as discussing risk profiles. 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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