The LWF Blog

Fire Safety Engineering for Design – Regulatory Approvals – Part 9

December 29, 2020 1:13 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 8, LWF examined the responsibilities of a fire engineer when working on a project with a design team. In part 9, we discuss the regulatory approvals process for fire safety design.

A fire engineer working on a project must familiarise themselves with the regulatory approvals process in the area of the world in which they are working. The approvals process for fire safety design of buildings can vary appreciably from one country to the next, and in some cases, can be different from one region to another within the same country.

In the UK, the approval and enforcement process for fire safety in buildings is split into three areas – design and implementation, construction and occupation and use. Each area has its own ‘authority having jurisdiction’ (AHJ).

In the design and implementation stage, the AHJ for compliance with the Building Regulations, also responsible for enforcement of the design implementation, will be either a private approved inspector (in England and Wales) or a local authority building control officer, with the Fire Service acting a statutory consultee in both cases.

In the construction phase, the AHJ enforcing construction site fire safety legislation is the Health and Safety Executive. When the building is finished, occupied and in use, the AHJ for enforcing compliance with operational fire safety legislation in the UK is the Fire Service.

Central Europe’s building approvals process varies between countries and, on occasion, between federal or municipal states within each country. It is therefore important that the existence of local regulations is checked before a design is submitted by a fire engineer.

In France, Germany and Italy, there are similarities in that building permits are controlled by local municipal bodies and require adherence to a compliance certification process to meet local building regulations. The process requires that technical information is provided at certain benchmark stages of the process to allow the relevant authority to undertake inspections as necessary. In each case it is the responsibility of the appointed architect or engineer to meet the technical requirements of local laws.

Additionally, in both Germany and Italy, an independent engineer may be appointed to undertake technical checks on behalf of the local authority.

In part 10 of LWF’s series on fire engineering, we will continue looking at the regulatory approvals process in the Middle East and Australia. 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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