Engineers and architects are faced with numerous considerations with smart building design. They need to keep things such as cost, appearance and function at the forefront of the process. The trouble is that it is all too common for another critical element to fall by the wayside, namely that of fire safety.
These building professionals are certainly going to have a decent familiarity with the fire codes in their jurisdictions. Unfortunately, designers often focus more on aesthetics, while engineers are left to contemplate fire safety elements that tend to impact the overall look of a finished structure.
It is best to have a firm grounding in fire regulations and fire safety best practices when crafting the plans for a building, even if fire risk assessment specialists are on hand to advise. The following paragraphs will explore some of the most important aspects of fire prevention in terms of architectural planning.
Learning The Ins And Outs Of The Fire Safety Rules In Your Country
When it comes to critical fire safety, few pieces of equipment are more vital than fire doors. Safety standards, including the UK’s British Standard 9999 and the GOST-R fire safety certification in Russia outline some of the specifics. Of course, each country will have its own guidelines, but also many things in common.
A helpful illustration of the impact such rules can have on a design can be found in Britain’s code. Perhaps you are a professional architect who has been asked to include a creche within a mixed-use building. Standard 9999 mandates that a creche be situated at or near ground level and that it have two exit points. Architects who already understand this will be able to create an appropriate layout that will not need modification once engineers and fire safety professionals review the plan.
Grasping The Importance Of Fire Safety Materials And Equipment
One of the best parts of architecture as a profession is the opportunity it affords to use a wide array of different materials. From wood timbers to highly engineered glass products, there are countless ways to express a preferred design style. The fire safety attributes of materials is yet another essential consideration to bear in mind.
Recent years have witnessed massive improvements in fire safety-related equipment. There are suitable choices for all budget levels, making prevention accessible to everyone. Of course, the overall purpose of a new structure will determine the sorts of materials utilised. One thing is constant, however, and that is the need for smoke alarms and similar tools.
This is one realm within the intersection of architecture and fire safety that may be addressed at the earliest stages of planning. All that is necessary is a bit of research and a thorough understanding of how a building will ultimately be used once completed.
Never Hesitate To Consult With Fire Protection Professionals
Most larger-scale building projects will utilise the skills of a fire safety engineer. These people are charged with having a comprehensive understanding of everything related to safeguarding buildings from fire damage that impacts structural integrity.
Architects possessing a firm background in the variances among fire protection materials and equipment and how they interact with fire regulations can often handle smaller-scale projects themselves. Of course, larger, more complicated undertakings would likely benefit from a more substantial risk analysis.
The best practice is to engage experts in fire protection at the outset of any project. Doing so tends to facilitate much greater latitude regarding design options and cost-containment. Though there is an upfront expense involved in enlisting a consultant at this point, the end product is a fire protected, completely safe new structure.
Conducting a fire risk assessment is a detailed proposition, but it need not be a daunting one if tackled methodically. The goals involved in such an assessment include identifying fire hazards and the people potentially put at risk. Identified hazards should be evaluated, eliminated or reduced. Findings ought to be recorded and an emergency plan prepared. Training of stakeholders should be initiated, and the risk assessment plan should be periodically reviewed and adjusted.
Though it is indeed feasible to conduct a fire risk assessment on your own, if you lack sufficient knowledge, confidence or time to do a proper job, a professional risk assessor may be just the resource you need.