Fire Strategy: 7 Key Elements of an Effective Strategy
Added on June 29th, 2018
By Helen Thomas
A fire strategy defines the fire safety objectives and performance requirements for a building and the methods by which these objectives will be provided to ensure the safety of occupants and property protection. Fire Strategies can be quite wordy and difficult to navigate, so we’ve summarised the points below.
Fire Engineering Legislation
There are numerous methods of achieving the performance requirements of the Building Regulations for any type of building or development. The common and most traditional approach is the prescriptive code compliant design utilising Approved Document B and the British Standard 5588 series (now superseded by BS9991 and BS9999). However, where the design intent moves away from the restrictive guidance of the above recommendations, fire engineering consultancy can offer flexibility and innovation to explore the various design solutions available within the project: Approved Document B outlines the minimum standards for achieving the functional requirements of the Building Regulations for traditional buildings.
Nonetheless, in some buildings, these prescriptive measures can be very restrictive to the design and use of these buildings. A key aspect of an engineering fire strategy, will be to look at project specific solutions using fire engineering based upon the layout of the building to show compliance with the Building Regulations.
Means of escape
A second aim of a the strategy is to outline the means of escape. A good strategy demonstrates and establishes the objectives for means of escape, including travel distances, escape within the apartments, escape within common areas, escape within various other accommodation on-site, disabled evacuation, number of escape routes and final discharge widths based on occupancy load factors.Each identified Purpose Group will be analysed with consideration given to independent means of escape and any impact caused from reliant evacuation. Inventive solutions will be proposed in order to satisfy the function requirements of the Building Regulations while maintain the desired design intent for the buildings.
Fire spread and control
A fully engineered fire risk strategy will identify the extent of fire protection required throughout the building including linings, unprotected areas and external wall construction standard required. Both internal and external fire spread will be assessed with submissions provided to cover all function requirements and any movement away from the guidance legislation being subjected to detailed evaluation with creative resolutions.
It’s important to identify the compartmentation required, fire resistance, elements of structure, fire stopping, cavity barriers and fire suppressant systems, where required. Each requirement of compartmentation and design parameters will be provided to the present Purpose Groups within the development.
Fire service access
Your strategy should describe the applicable design standards for external vehicle access, hydrants, location and number of access points, fire fighting lifts, internal access, dry / wet rising fire mains, etc, evaluate current Fire Service access and advise as to the applicable engineering solutions available to satisfy both the Building Regulations and the relevant Local Fire Authority.
Fire Safety Management
Describing key management issues, control of evacuation and fire safety planning. Outline the requirements to satisfy Regulation 38
Fire Strategy Recommendations
Finally, your strategy will include recommendations specific to your building.
For more information, visit our fire engineering page.