The LWF Blog

Fire Safety Engineering for Design – Designing Fire Precautions – Part 41

August 9, 2021 11:11 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 40, LWF looked at the design of fire precautions in educational, recreation and assembly buildings. In part 41, we discuss designing fire precautions for industrial buildings.

There are certain factors which should be taken into account when focussing on the design of fire precautions for industrial buildings. The building designation has a history of significant fires where there is high risk to life. However, there are often lower than average numbers of occupants within an industrial building and comparatively few of those occupants are likely to have limited mobility.

By the nature of the work undertaken within industrial premises, there is a higher incidence of hazardous processes which may require special provisions to be made to mitigate the ensuing risks. Additionally, it is common for fire loads to be high and situated in close proximity to each other, which could allow fire to spread from one source of fuel to the next in rapid succession. Issues when firefighting are relatively common.

Owners of industrial premises subject to a fire are more likely to suffer high financial losses and there is a potential impact on the environment from smoke and fire product pollution that should be considered as much as possible when planning fire precautions.

There are certain special controls and requirements relating to industrial premises and laid out in British Standards documents, in the main. BS 5908 Fire and explosion precautions at premises handling flammable gases, liquids and dusts. Code of practice for precautions against fire and explosion in chemical plants, chemical storage and similar premises is one such example. It should be noted that roof-mounted sprinklers in an area over 15 metres in height would be ineffective, but that in-rack systems are available.

Technology and development of fire engineering ideas can often be more advanced than is reflected in the relevant Building Regulations and so a fire engineered review of the fire risks of an industrial building is commonly beneficial to provide the backbone of the design. It is important that the design team solicits information and approval from all stakeholders – owner, occupier (if different), approving authorities, the Fire Service and building insurers.

In part 42 of LWF’s series on fire engineering, we will address the final building designation for fire precautions – Storage and other non-residential buildings. 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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