The LWF Blog

Fire Safety Engineering for Design – Fire Detection & Alarm Systems – Part 174

March 11, 2024 11:56 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 173, LWF discussed fire alarm systems in buildings with phased handover. In part 174, we talk about fire alarm design for tall buildings.

For some years now, tall buildings have been increasingly popular construction projects in cities around the world. While each tall building provides a large amount of usable space for the footprint, it brings complications for fire safety.

Simple fire alarm systems are not usually suitable for use in tall buildings and so particular design for each tall building is necessary. The advances in construction methods and the reduction in size of access cores mean that a fire alarm system design should become part of the overall fire engineering strategy for the protection of the building.

For example, it may be necessary to provide widely differing levels of detection in parts of the building and for there to be different types of audible warning, depending upon the usage of the building.

In some tall buildings, the usage is primarily residential and each apartment may have smoke detection and sounders which are independent of each other and do not trigger a general alarm. Other floors of the same building may house office space requiring L1 or total coverage fire alarm system installations.

Whatever the combination of usage type and the resulting differences in the fire alarm system, it is important that the system design and intended operation be mapped on a cause and effect table to ensure all eventualities have been taken into account.

Particular care should be taken in the choice of cable types and control panel positions chosen within tall buildings.

While not a part of a fire alarm system, it should also be noted that fire suppression systems, such as sprinkler systems, are a common and often essential installation in a tall building in order to suppress fire that may start in an area and avoid it spreading to other floors of the building.

In part 175 of LWF’s series on fire engineering we will begin to discuss emergency lighting, particularly in relation to escape routes and essential escape from a building on fire. 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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