Fire safety is an important consideration for all businesses and property owners. While it is impossible to fully eradicate the impact of fire hazards on people and property, it is possible to reduce the risk significantly. Fire safety measures include active systems such as fire alarms that help to detect and signal the presence of a fire as well as passive protection features such as fire doors that aim to contain the spread of fire within buildings. It is vital that all professionals consider fire safety in their work and adhere to the relevant standards.
In the UK, Building Regulations require professionals to incorporate fire Fire strategy London safety measures throughout the design and construction of buildings. This includes ensuring that all areas are adequately separated and that all exit routes are clear and accessible. In addition to this, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that all new buildings and properties must have an up-to-date fire strategy in place.
A Fire strategy is a document that provides an overview of a building or property, its occupants and their emergency procedures. It is typically completed by a fire safety expert, although it can be undertaken by any suitably qualified person. It is a crucial piece of information that can be used to demonstrate compliance with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) order, the London Plan policy and the Hackitt review.
In the case of high-rise residential buildings, the London Plan has introduced a requirement for developers to provide a fire statement at planning application stage. This is in addition to the requirement to comply with the government’s fire safety considerations which are normally considered at the application stage by the local authority.
The fire statements required by the London Plan seek to address all elements of the building’s design including those covered by Part B of the Building Regulations. This contrasts with fire safety statements required outside of London, which only look to address aspects of the site layout and water supplies, both of which are normally dealt with at the land use planning stage.
Fire safety experts are able to create fire strategies that will satisfy both the requirements of Building Regulations and those of the London Plan. The process involves assessing design plans at the RIBA stages against an agreed set of fire safety objectives and working with the client during construction to ensure that all changes are made to meet those objectives.
Fire safety consultants are also able to offer advice and guidance on achieving regulatory compliance in existing buildings. This can be achieved by either implementing compensatory measures in place of those specified by the standard (Approved Document B) or through project-specific fire engineering solutions that will still achieve the key outcomes required. In this way, it is possible to avoid the need for expensive and disruptive structural alterations. In addition, the process can be streamlined by working with the client from the start of the project. This can help to minimise the time that is required to complete the assessment and the fire strategy.