The LWF Blog

Fire Safety Engineering for Design – Designing Fire Precautions – Part 30

May 24, 2021 10:28 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 29, LWF looked at the requirements of the Fire Brigade in the UK and also, fire precautions standards for life safety outside the UK. In part 30, we begin to discuss the implications of classification by purpose group.

Building designations are the types of building used in Table D1 of Approved Document B and Table 4.3.4 of BS 9999 to provide classification and items for consideration when designing fire precautions. The recommendations provided include background information which can be utilised and therefore allow the principles to be used both in the UK and outside.

Residential Buildings/Dwellings

Fire safety legislation in the UK has minimal ongoing control over residential properties, however, there are construction requirements which must be addressed in order for the building to be considered safe.

The following should be borne in mind when designing fire precautions for residential dwellings:

Most deaths due to fire occur in people’s homes. This is due to a lack of appropriate fire alarms in place, the use of cooking equipment and smoking materials, the use and misuse of electrical appliances and the lack of ongoing control by fire authorities.

During planning and construction, there is a need for separation of dwellings by fire-resisting compartmentation to ensure that if a fire begins in one property, sufficient time is available for the Fire Service to be summoned and the fire extinguished before the fire would pass into the neighbouring domicile.

There is a well-established and consistent fire load in domestic properties – the age and fire-resistance rating of which will vary considerably.

Any property which contains sleeping accommodation is at additional risk of death from fire. This is why properly maintained and positioned smoke alarms are so vital when minimising casualties from fire in people’s homes.

Domestic properties are not all the same. There are three sub-groups to reflect this – high rise, low-rise and flats or maisonettes. The height of the building will have an impact on the fire safety measures required; dwellings over 4.5 metres in height require different provisions than those under that height. The usage of the domestic property, as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), for example, can also affect what fire safety provisions are made to ensure life safety standards are achieved.

In part 31 of LWF’s series on fire engineering, we will continue to look at how to design fire precautions for domestic dwellings. 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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