Fires in buildings with complex fire engineering
Knowledge and understanding
|Fires in buildings with complex fire engineering||
Understand all associated hazard knowledge
Buildings with complex fire engineering solutions rely on pre-planning by local fire and rescue services to identify systems and establish site-specific plans and procedures. Complex fire egineering may only intend to provide life safety protection for the buildings occupants; structural collapse may present a risk to firefighters.
Complex fire engineering has been identified as a specific issue that needs to be considered in this guidance as a wide variety of approaches are permitted. These varied approaches mean that buildings may behave in a range of ways during the course of a fire - most are consistent with the behaviour of a 'traditional' or 'regulated' building, but some may behave significantly differently. It may not be immediately apparent to attending fire and rescue service personnel what the fire engineering strategy is for a building.
For example, a building incorporating an innovative smoke control system may be capable of forcing smoke to move in directions that are not expected by attending firefighters. Equally, firefighting attack that makes heavy use of gas cooling may have an adverse effect by reducing the buoyancy of the smoke and dropping it beneath the system's zone of operation.
"… The application of scientific and engineering principles, rules [codes], and expert judgment, based on an understanding of the phenomena and effects of fire and of the reaction and behaviour of people to fire, to protect people, property and the environment from the destructive effects of fire."
Fire safety engineering uses calculations and quantitative data on numerous topics including:
- Fire growth
- Compartment fire behaviour
- Production of smoke and toxic gases
- Structural response
- Fire detection
- Fire suppression
- Human behaviour
The responsible person must ensure that facilities provided for fire and rescue service personnel are maintained effectively and make information about their operation available.
Fire and rescue service personnel should consider the following when attending buildings with fire engineering solutions:
There may be extended travel distances to the scene of operations which may outweigh the facilities provided for the benefit of firefighters
- Compartments are likely to be large
- There will be a specific access location for fire and rescue service personnel
- Fire engineering systems are interdependent – if one element fails it is likely to affect other elements
- If the size of the fire exceeds the prediction, the engineered solution may not control smoke travel and fire development
- Some firefighting activities may have a detrimental effect on fire engineering systems
- Control measureAppropriate intervention: Fires in auditoriums and stadiums
- Control measureSite-Specific Risk Information (SSRI)