The LWF Blog

Fire Safety Engineering for Design – Fire Detection & Alarm Systems – Part 172

February 26, 2024 12:11 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 171, LWF discussed power supplies for category P fire alarm systems before looking at hazardous areas. In part 172, we look at fire alarm systems for construction sites.

It is essential that a system is put into place to alert all persons on a construction site of fire. Construction sites are highly prone to fires starting and this is due to the risks from hot work, unfinished electrical wiring, the use of extension leads and even portable heaters. The system could be as simple as a management procedure to follow in case of fire on a small site, but on a larger or more complex site, a different approach will need to be taken.

Escape routes is one area which needs consideration. The complexity of an escape route on a construction site is often an issue, as well as the need to keep the escape route clear of obstruction and protected from fire.

The people on site tend to change and may not be familiar with the site and so some form of fire safety training should be implemented and regular updates will be necessary for all personnel on site as the site and fire safety cover changes.

Another issue needing consideration is the value of the site, especially as it approaches completion. It may be that insurers will insist on certain requirements with regards to fire protection and fire alarms.

When a fire alarm system is used on a construction site, it must be as adaptable as possible to provide cover to an ever-changing build. The fire alarm installation may need reviewing each day to ensure coverage from the system and to vary the escape route to the most suitable option possible. Fire safety signage and escape route signage will be necessary to reflect the changes.

Attention should be paid to sound levels and visual warning devices, as it is possible for the sound from works to nullify the sound from fire alarm sounders, and for visual devices to become useless due to a few additional building elements.

Regular maintenance must be carried out on the fire alarm system to ensure that dust from the works has not contaminated the detectors.

As workers of many nationalities may be working on a site at the same time, it is essential that the signage provided and warning signals given are clear and unambiguous to all.

In part 173 of LWF’s series on fire engineering we will talk about fire alarm systems in buildings with phased handover. 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 since 1986 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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