The LWF Blog

Fire Safety Engineering for Design – Fire Detection & Alarm Systems – Part 173

March 4, 2024 11:39 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 172, LWF began to look at fire alarm systems for construction sites. In part 173, we discuss fire alarm systems in buildings with phased handover.

Some construction projects involve a large building designed for mixed use, such as a shopping centre, retail complex, high-rise office or residential accommodation. These builds may involve phased handover, i.e. parts of the building being completed and occupied while other areas are still being worked on. When considering fire alarm provision for such buildings, it is likely that a fire alarm system will be installed in the finished and occupied part of the build, but that won’t cover areas which are unfinished.

A temporary fire alarm system will usually be necessary for the construction area of the building. While fire alarm systems in the occupied areas and a temporary fire alarm in the unoccupied areas will ensure full coverage to the building, it brings with it some challenges to fire safety management procedures. Evacuation procedures will need to be established and agreed between the parties occupying the finished parts of the build and the construction team.

Of course, during building works, there will be an increased chance of false alarms from a fire alarm system due to dust from the works, hot work etc. The risks of such should be assessed, as false alarms may impact upon the commercial activities of the existing occupants, as well as the construction workers.

The escape routes used during evacuation must be carefully planned and updated to segregate the various occupancies and avoid overcrowding.

The final major consideration is that of how close to the building emergency appliances will be able to get. Access for the Fire Service must be considered frequently (as the construction site evolves) and may involve the co-operation of a number of different bodies.

In part 174 of LWF’s series on fire engineering we will discuss fire alarm design for tall 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 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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