Fire Safety For Retail

Fire engineering in the retail sector involves implementing fire safety measures to protect customers, staff, and property in retail establishments such as shops, malls, and supermarkets.

While retail buildings share some challenges with other commercial buildings, they also have unique considerations due to factors such as high foot traffic, varied occupancy loads, and the presence of combustible merchandise.

Here are some of the challenges our Fire Engineers face when involved in projects for the retail sector:

fire safety in retail

Integration with Retail Operations

Our expert Fire Engineers must consider the impact of fire safety for retail building measures on retail operations, such as the placement of fire exits, sprinkler heads, and fire alarms. This may involve balancing fire safety requirements with aesthetic considerations, minimizing disruptions to customer flow, and ensuring that fire protection systems are compatible with retail management systems.

Accessibility Requirements

Retail establishments must comply with accessibility requirements to ensure that all customers, including those with disabilities, can safely navigate the building and evacuate in the event of a fire emergency.

Fire Engineers must design evacuation plans and fire protection systems that are accessible to all occupants and comply with relevant accessibility standards and regulations within fire safety for retail standards.

fire safety for retail

Combustible Merchandise

Retail establishments typically contain a significant amount of combustible merchandise, including clothing, electronics, and household goods. This can increase the risk of fire spread and make fire suppression more challenging.

Fire Engineers must design fire protection measures to mitigate the risk of fire ignition and spread when considering fire safety for retail, such as sprinkler systems, fire-resistant building materials, and compartmentation strategies.

High Foot Traffic

Retail establishments often experience high levels of foot traffic, particularly during peak shopping periods or special events. Our Fire Engineers must design fire protection systems and evacuation plans that can accommodate the large numbers of occupants expected in retail environments while ensuring their safety. It’s a key factor in fire safety for retail facilities when considering the build.

Varied Occupancy Loads

Retail buildings may have different occupancy loads depending on factors such as the size of the establishment, the type of merchandise sold, and the time of day. Our Fire Engineers must account for these variations in occupancy when designing fire protection systems to ensure that they can adequately protect all occupants, regardless of the level of activity in the store.

Complex Building Layouts

Many retail buildings have complex layouts with multiple levels, departments, and interconnected spaces. Navigating these layouts to optimise fire safety for retail features, such as fire detection systems, sprinkler coverage, and evacuation routes, can be challenging for Fire Engineers.

Regulatory Compliance

Retail establishments must comply with a range of fire safety regulations and building codes when considering fire safety for retail; Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. This can vary depending on factors such as the size of the store, the type of merchandise sold, and the location of the building. Fire engineers must stay up-to-date with evolving regulations and standards to ensure that their designs meet or exceed legal requirements.

Overall, fire engineering in the retail sector requires careful consideration of the unique challenges and priorities of retail establishments to ensure the safety and well-being of customers, staff, and property in the event of a fire emergency. Contact us today to learn more about how our fire engineering services can help address these challenges and keep your retail development safe.

Partner with FDS Consult UK

When you partner with us, you can trust that your retail project will benefit from our expertise and commitment to excellence in fire engineering.

Contact us today to learn more about how our fire engineering services can enhance the safety and security of your retail design.

Let us help you take your retail project to new heights.

Fire Strategy, Oxford Street

A mixed-use scheme combining three floors of retail space and four floors of high-specification office space, 175 Oxford Street had to be completely rebuilt as the result of a fire. None of the previous structures was viable and the architect on the re-build scheme had created a striking concept for the new 1,580m2 store.

According to building regulations, as a building taller than eight metres, 175 Oxford Street required two staircases to provide sufficient access for fire crews. However, the inclusion of two staircases in the design would have dramatically reduced the available floor space, an extremely valuable commodity in such a prime retail location. 

The solution from FDS Consult was to incorporate one of the staircases into the atrium itself, effectively creating a staircase with glass walls. The FDS Consult team then suggested that the second staircase providing access to the office accommodation be utilised as the formal fire fighting shaft. Originally, this shaft was proposed for the full height of the building but, in order to maximise retail floor space on the ground floor, FDS Consult designed the second staircase to begin at first floor level where it merged with the atrium staircase.

London Oxford Street

Commercial Fire Engineering Sectors