Beyond design and build: Is your fire design occupant and manager friendly?

A recent poll carried out by FDS Consult UK found that only 13% of architects and developers considered the Regulatory Reform Order 2005 (RRO) and ongoing building management as part of a building’s design.

With RRO a key piece of legislation for the responsible person (e.g. building owners, management company, etc.) to adhere to – with the risk of them facing prosecution and even prison – it is vital to understand the importance and benefits of considering the long term impact of fire design and safety at the early design stage.

While it is crucial to achieve building regulations approval, it is arguably equally important to consider how the design of the building will impact on the long term management and use of the building.

This means careful consideration of the client’s brief, the use of the building and its occupiers. Is the fire strategy and design sufficient for the long term and the building’s life cycle?

Enforced by the Fire Brigade, RRO focuses on means of escape – addressing a whole host of criteria including the identification of all significant fire hazards & ‘relevant persons’ at risk in the event of a fire, hazardous substances, fire detection and firefighting, staff training and a documented means of escape from the premises in the event of fire.

Non-compliance carries serious consequences, from formal notices to the closure of the building, large fines and even imprisonment. In the UK in 2012 the Fire Service issued 34,500 informal notifications, 3,200 enforcement notices, 442 prohibition notices and 84 alterations notices, while prosecutions rose by 43% compared to the previous year.

There’s no point having a super looking building which the occupants cannot conduct their daily lives in. Consider how maintenance or facilities management staff will oversee the maintenance and monitoring of fire safety systems – will they require any training, or would it be better to have a professional team on contract?

Certified fire design consultants can help you to arrive at a suitable risk assessment and management and evacuation strategy. We’re more than happy to talk to you in the early design stages to help you assess not only what systems your building needs to pass regulations, but what systems it needs during its useful life.


More Posts