The LWF Blog

Fire Safety Engineering for Design – Risk Assessment & Fire Engineering – Part 51

October 18, 2021 11:36 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 50, LWF discussed reporting of results, the final stage of a fire engineered design process. In part 51, we begin to look at how risk assessment works in the development of fire engineering designs.

A fire engineered design will commonly involve some element of risk assessment in order to address the needs of the client. It enables the fire engineer to lay out fire safety solutions to issues involving life safety and business or asset protection. Risk assessment allows the designer to concentrate the fire safety protection in the areas it is most required and to maintain levels of safety at or above those which might be utilised if prescriptive codes and standards were used.

Meeting the requirements of life safety legislation is essential and to do this, designers and managers are required to assess the life safety risk posed by fire in the proposed premises and implement appropriate measures to reduce the risk to a level considered acceptable.

The measures used to meet the life safety requirements will include incorporating fire protection into the design of the premises, and implementing effective and appropriate management controls to ensure maintenance of the fire protection provision.

In the UK, as in many other countries, fire risk assessment remains a requirement throughout the life of the building for the building occupant, however, the blogs are not concerned with that element at this time, but rather the use of fire risk assessment to analyse design solutions and compare, justify and choose the most appropriate design option.

Life safety is not the only concern that may need to be addressed through risk assessment. Insurers may stipulate requirements to reduce fire risk, aimed at reducing their risk and lowering potential financial losses for both client and insurer.

Clients may also require developers to implement means of protecting assets in case of fire, ensuring business continuity and improving business resilience. Such measures, when taken, may enhance those required for life safety purposes, but must never reduce them.

In part 52 of LWF’s series on fire engineering, we will continue to discuss the use of risk assessment as part of a fire engineered design for a building. 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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