The LWF Blog

Fire Safety Engineering for Design – Designing Fire Precautions – Part 29

May 17, 2021 10:08 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 28, LWF looked at designing fire precautions for a building. In part 29, we look at the requirements of the Fire Brigade in the UK and also, fire precautions standards for life safety outside the UK.

The approvals process for fire precautions in buildings requires consultation with the local Fire Brigade. In England and Wales, their responsibilities are laid out in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The Order deals with occupied buildings, in the main. The Fire Service also has consultative responsibilities for various issues under many other pieces of legislation, relating to different occupancies.

In all instances, the local authority building control officer, an approved inspector (only in England and Wales) or the Fire Prevention Department of the local fire brigade will advise on these issues.

In the first instance for new builds, the building control authority should be contacted, or for existing occupied buildings, the fire authority should be contacted initially. This process, once begun, will ensure the authority informs the applicant of the requirement to consult with the other and will inform as to the difference between recommendations and requirements.

Life Safety Standards Outside the UK

While the standards and consultation processes vary between countries, and sometimes smaller areas, outside the UK, it is commonplace for the fire authorities to have greater powers of approval than they do in the UK.

Some countries do not have dedicated building control, for instance, and so when working outside the UK, the fire authority is always a good place to initiate contact for consultation on requirements and procedures. It is important that any requirement to consult with other bodies or organisations is ascertained.

As in the UK, regional differences can be found in relation to the use of fire engineering practices. Some local authorities may not be familiar with the use of fire engineered solutions, or there may be national code systems which do not permit variations on the prescriptive solutions provided.

In many countries/areas, it is possible to demonstrate and prove the equivalent level of safety to that provided by local codes and in so doing, gain approval.

When necessary and possible, the insurer should also be consulted in the early stages of the project design. The insurance industry increasingly accepts fire engineered fire safety solutions but early consultation is needed. This may not be possible in the case of speculative developments.

In part 30 of LWF’s series on fire engineering, we will consider the implications of classification by purpose group. 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