The LWF Blog

Fire Safety Engineering for Design – Legislation – Part 3

November 16, 2020 12:25 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 2, LWF discussed the main approaches to fire safety engineering and considered the authorities which have jurisdiction. In part 3, we begin to look at the legislation surrounding fire safety engineering in the UK.

Fire engineering, as a technical design discipline, is a fairly recent way of working in fire safety when compared to the origins of fire safety.

The first known building regulations in the UK date from the seventeenth century and the majority of regulations since that time were developed in response to fire disasters.

In 1666, the Great Fire of London spread rapidly between buildings and destroyed much of the old city. It led to a set of building regulations with the aim of controlling the types of materials used in construction and also, in ensuring there was sufficient separation between buildings to help limit the spread of fire.

Advances in urban development and industrialisation over time in many countries meant an increase in the number of fires, which in turn spurred the development of national or local fire safety legislation, codes, rules and standards.

National building standards containing prescribed fire safety measures did not come into effect in the UK until the 1970s and were administered through local authority building control departments.

The Fire Precautions Act 1971, (which was repealed in 2006 following the enactment of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005), was created in response to a fire disaster which took place in The Rose and Crown Hotel in Saffron Walden in December 1969. The fire spread through the hotel in the early hours of Boxing Day morning; 29 people were rescued and 11 died.

The Fire Precautions Act required those perceived to have a ‘duty of care’ to implement fire safety measures and controls in certain, designated, premises. It did not cover all types of premises and related mainly to hotels and boarding houses. The Fire Precautions Act was administered by the Fire Service in the UK.

Part 4 of LWF’s series on fire engineering will continue looking at the development of building and fire safety legislation in the UK. 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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