Fire, Security and Safety
In my last editorial piece for Housing Association I wrote about the government’s proposed changes to the Building Regulations as they relate to fire and broadly welcomed them (the main concern is that the very sensible measures proposed for high-rise residential buildings should also be applied to their shorter cousins).
But principles are only as good as the way that they are applied, and in terms of fire protection, and of smoke protection in particular, the devil is certainly in the detail. If these systems are to work properly they have to be designed properly, installed properly and maintained properly. Sadly, this does not always happen.
Fire and CO safety in residential tower buildings is never out of the spotlight for long. It’s crucial to be in the know when it comes to the most effective CO, smoke and heat alarms, as well as best practice when it comes to siting them. Adrian Keats from Honeywell’s Home Safety business explains.
Following the tragic events at Grenfell Tower, the subsequent Hackitt Review into Building Regulations and the ongoing Public Inquiry, Colt are proud to establish their viewpoint on Compliance and Competence.
The word compliance appears in the Hackitt Review Final Report 46 times and competence appears 152 times - these are clearly important terms for the fire safety industry, yet a recent conference on competence from the Construction Industry Council (CIC) working groups representing specific sections of the construction industry struggled to provide a clear single interpretation of what competence really means.
After months of speculation, new testing and meetings between industry and MHCLG, leading social housing fenestration partner Nationwide Windows Ltd is delighted to be one of the first suppliers back to the market with their next generation, GRP fire door solution.
John Whalley, MD of Nationwide comments: “It has been a difficult time for many involved in the fire door supply chain, not least because the country has witnessed what can happen when things go wrong. So, it has taken time, clever product design and testing at levels never previously seen to get us to a position where we can announce that, in partnership with FDS (Fire Door Systems), we are introducing the next generation Nationwide GRP fire door.
The new Building (Amendment) Regulations in December 2018 require stricter fire safety compliance for new, refurbished and converted residential buildings with a floor above 18 metres from the ground. Architects and developers have been adjusting to those changes, but the recent Barking balcony fires have prompted a new government publication, Advice Note on Balconies in Residential Buildings, which will have a wider impact. It applies to all existing residential buildings with multiple dwellings, irrespective of their height.
Compartmentation is a way to keep a fire contained in one place, preventing fire and smoke from spreading quickly and taking over the building. By creating these fire-resistant compartments, fire can be suppressed for around 30 minutes (time can vary depending on the building structure).
There are different elements to creating a fire safe compartment and there are many things that can reduce the effectiveness.