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Fire Safety in High-rise Residential Buildings

The issue of fire safety in high-rise residential buildings came into focus after the alarming Grenfell Tower fire that took the lives of 72 residents. An inquiry into the tragedy revealed the flaws in the construction industry and in the fire safety regulations for high-rise buildings. In order to address this pressing issue, the government recently passed the Fire Safety Bill with the aim of ensuring safety for every resident living in the UK.

In this Resibuild event, we talk to industry experts about fire safety in high-rise residentials, the regulations associated with them, the experts’ tips on what factors need to be considered and a lot more on the subject. Here are the key takeaways from the event:

Passive Fire Protection

Passive fire protection systems save lives as they limit the spread of the fire to the room of origin. The product for the passive fire protection system must be chosen based on its test performance and care must be taken to ensure proper installation. It is also important to make sure that the product chosen is compliant with the regulations and has the required certifications. In addition, it is recommended that experts on the passive fire protection systems should be involved right from the early stages of construction, as soon as compartmentation is decided upon. These experts will be able to analyse and guide the requirements for the passive fire protection components in an effective manner.

Sprinkler Systems

When it comes to sprinkler systems for residential buildings, it is important to consider the water supply source. It is better that the sprinkler system gets its water supply from the main water source in the building as opposed to an individual tank and pump for the sprinkler system. This is mainly because issues with the main water supply are usually noticed immediately and rectified right away, whereas issues with the dedicated pump might not be noticed until later on and even ignored by residents, leaving them with a huge fire risk.

Fire Strategy for High Rise Buildings

A fire strategy for a building is an important and complex document that is tailored to the building. It is created by a fire expert who reviews all aspects of the building’s fire safety – the construction, the compartmentation, ventilation, exit strategy, means of escape, etc. Introducing the fire strategy in gateway 2 will make a fundamental difference in the fire safety improvements for residential buildings.

Responsible Person versus Competent Person

The responsible person is defined as an occupier, an employee or a person in charge of the premises. The competent person on the other hand is the one required to have the necessary knowledge and expertise in the field.

Early Engagement

Fire safety systems in buildings involve various aspects and areas of expertise. The current norm is to engage these parties in the later stages of development. But engaging fire experts early on in the construction process can be highly beneficial. Working on the fire strategy right from the design and development stage can help to draw up a more effective fire safety plan for the building.

Learn more from Howard Passey, Director of Operations – FPA, Archie Chandler, Chairman of FCS and Head of Fire Engineering – FCS, Luke Bedford, Head of Sales – MyDek, Carlsson Elkins, Head of Marketing – Sertus, Andrea White, BSc(Hons) MSc IEng FIFireE C.BuildE MCABE CMIOSH Dedicated Fire Engineer, John Newman, Technical Director - RSP Fire Sprinkler Systems, Tom Welland, Director of Client Operations – BB7, Craig Wells, Technical Sales Director – Quelfire and Nick Haughton, Head of Marketing - Sapphire Balconies on fire safety in high-rise residential buildings. Sign in to watch the recording of the event on demand here.

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