The LWF Blog

Fire Safety Engineering for Design – Regulatory Approvals – Part 10

January 4, 2021 12:17 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 9, LWF began to look at the regulatory approvals processes in the UK and Central Europe. In part 10, we continue discussing regulatory approvals by looking at the processes in other parts of the world.

While fire engineering as a discipline can be easily taken from one area of the world to another, it is essential that the regulatory approvals process for a given country is understood before the building project is underway.

In the area known as the Middle East (Gulf States), countries such as Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates centre their regulatory approvals in the relevant local municipal bodies. The role of the municipal body’s representative is to provide coordination in reviewing applications and building plans and in undertaking inspections as needed.

The Civil Defence Department (Fire Department) must grant permission for the building’s fire safety design and are tasked with completing a detailed technical review of the fire safety design. When working on a project in any of these areas, it is imperative that early engagement of the CDD is instigated to ensure an early agreement on the fire safety standards to be used for the project, whether they are NFPA, IBC or British Standards.

In Australia, the AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) is most commonly private certifiers engaged for purpose, but can also be council certifiers in some areas. A prescriptive solution to fire safety is provided and given as a ‘deemed to satisfy’ solution. A fire engineer is only likely to be engaged on a project where a ‘deemed to satisfy’ solution is not used, of course.

Non-standard approaches are permitted, with the fire safety design submitted by the fire engineer demonstrating how the performance requirements have been achieved. Comparisons to the prescriptive solution as a benchmark are usual. A fire engineer working in Australia is expected to carry out a final site inspection to confirm that the solution provided fulfils the requirements.

In part 11 of LWF’s series on fire engineering, we will continue looking at how a fire engineer should work within the regulatory approvals process in China and the US. 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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