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Fire protection engineering in the united kingdom

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The paper ” Fire Protection Engineering in the United Kingdom ” is an excellent example of a term paper on engineering and construction. In the United Kingdom, there are several publications, legal regulations as well as the code of practice and Approved documents, which are meant to ensure that there is sufficient level of fire safety in buildings. Dwelling houses in one such area which is governed by the Approved Document B, volume one as well as the BS 7974 code of practice which is utilized in the evaluation of existing buildings and the design of new buildings. In the global perspective, unified standards in fire safety do not exist per se, however different regions have tended to adopt a similar approach. Eurocode which has been adopted by several European countries to replace their individual building codes has gained prominence as a pan-European standard. In order to apply scientific and engineering principles in the design of buildings using fire safety engineering through having a framework for developing a rational methodology, the code of practice was developed in order to enhance the protection of environment property and people from fire. This is compounded in the Dwelling houses by Approved Document B. In most instances, additional codes or sections of a matching building code exists with detailed requirements meant for special constructions and dwelling places. Furthermore, there are additional documents that influence the construction industry in Britain such as BS 9999, which was published by the British Standards Institution in October 2008. An important construct in the construction industry regulations is that BS 9999 considered the various raft of different guidance documents, with phased implementations in order to reflect industry requirements. However, this resulted in repetitiveness and contradictions in the parts of the document, which resulted in challenges in coordinating the various parts of the series. In terms of the residential building sector, BS 9999 provided an enhanced design guide based on scientific analysis and research, while consolidating most of the information in the BS 5588 guidance into one document.

However, the provisions of BS 5588-1, which deals with residential buildings, where not exhaustively considered. The BS 9999, therefore, works in ensuring fire safety provisions in a building work effectively through offering a package of measures. BS 9999, therefore, reflects on diverse areas which have to be considered when designing a building while advocating a solution for the life of the building, which caters for different concerns such as structural stability in the event of a fire, provision for means of escape and fire fighting and the level of fire safety management. Fire safety in residential houses is therefore ensured by BS 9999, through having a requisite basis that the building will remain managed throughout its lifetime and that with the fire safety management implemented, the suitability of a solution can be assessed. In comparison, however, Approved Document B appreciates that Building Regulations do not oblige any requirements on the management of a building and that proper management is implicit. On the other hand, BS 9999 takes several steps further and appreciate that apart from designing the building, the management has to ensure that the building continues to function as it should, through providing fire safety management guidance and assessment criteria for guidance.

In assuring fire safety, BS 9999 introduces and enhances a three-tiered approach to fire safety design, which can be complimented in simple buildings by guidance such as Approved Document B. The approach, however, has limitations resulting in generic classifications of buildings. BS 9999 may, however, be inappropriate when there is a need for optimized design when considering complex buildings. These calls for the utilization of BS 7974 which should be used by persons qualified and experienced in fire engineering design. The protection of public health, safety and general welfare in relation to the construction and occupancy of buildings and structures is the main purpose of building codes, which when formally enacted by the appropriate authority becomes the law of a particular jurisdiction.  On the other hand Approved Document B reflects on stakeholder engagement, developments in construction, developments, and experiences of actual fires and research findings. The code potentially affects envisioned construction in England and Wales, including how fire safety is designed into a building, material alteration extension and erection of buildings. The difference between BS 9999 and Approved Document B is reflected by the risk profile Once the risk profile has been determined, BS 9999 indicates the basic package of measures is to be offered including the level of fire alarm, stair and exit widths and travel distance which may be exceedingly differed to those contained in Approved Document B and may be more or less onerous, depending on the perceived risk. A fire engineered approach is most likely required if this minimum package cannot be achieved, exceeding the scope of the BS 9999 guidance document, hence BS 9999 introduces the risk profile concept while it is easy to use, logical prescriptive guidance. Additional fire protection measures play a very important role when the basic package of fire protection measures is achievable the building design, while the measures can be further analyzed to see if any flexibility can be achieved.

BS 7974 Code of practice provides a basis for a supple but formal approach to fire safety design that can be effectively evaluated by the approval bodies. The code of practice in similarity with Approved Document B offers an organized approach to appraising the efficacy of the entire fire safety system in attaining the design objectives while providing a framework on the design and assessment of fire safety measures in buildings. BS 7974 Code of practice is sustained by various published documents that serve in ensuring a similar level of fire safety as provided for in the provisions of Approved Document B, Volume one which is concerned with fires in the dwelling houses. PD 7974-0 provides a guide in the design framework and fire safety; moreover, PD 7974-1 offers the framework on the initiation and development of fire within the enclosure of origin. This matches with the requirements of Approved Document B B3 Section 5 on compartmentation as well as b3 Section 7: Protection of openings and fire-stopping. PD 7974-2 concerned with the spread of smoke and toxic gases within and beyond the enclosure of origin and serves to limit the negative consequences of fire as provided for by Approved Document D. The similarity between BS 7974 Code of practice and the Approved Document B is further highlighted by the Pd 7974-3 which is concerned with structural response and fire spread beyond the enclosure of origin and has similar provisions with B3 section, Internal Fire Spread (Structure) in the approved document B. B1 Section 1 on fire detection and fire alarm systems in approved document B demonstrates and equivalent level of Fire Safety as the demands in the PD 7974-4 which is concerned with detection of fire and the activation of fire protection systems. The similarity is further enhanced by the provisions of PD 7974-5 concerned with Fire service intervention, which shares diverse similarities with the requirements of B5 in the Approved Document B which concentrates on the Access and facilities for the Fire and Rescue Service. The provisions of B5 also double up the considerations of PD 7974-6 in terms of evacuation. ConclusionIn the construction industry, several legal and regulatory requirements exist as evidenced by the provisions of Approved Document B, BS 9999 and BS 7974. Whereas the are some differences,  BS 7974, however, shares several similarities with Approved Document B and BS 9999, the similarities serves in ensuring that BS 7974 offers an equivalent level of Fire Safety to the building code in dwelling houses.

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