If you are planning to refurbish, are changing the use of an existing building or are building new premises, you will be required to create a comprehensive, researched and documented fire safety strategy.
What is a Fire Strategy?
Fire Strategy Reports document the critical fire safety elements for a building, covering potential fire safety issues, fire risk assessments, and how these are being addressed.
The Fire Strategy document acts as a guideline for the design and project management team overseeing construction, refurbishment, or management of a building. Identifying performance criteria for particular technologies implemented in the building design (i.e. extraction systems, compartmentation cavity barrier, etc.) helps teams understand the risk elements posed in each section of a building.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 ensures employees, occupants or other persons in a building are safe and have proper escape routes in case of fire. Fire Strategy is an essential part of the fire risk management process associated with the RRO, and is recommended for all ‘complex’ buildings which cannot be catered for with a basic fire risk assessment and escape planning.
When do you need a Fire Strategy?
Fire strategy development is essential for gaining building regulation approval for any new building, and any building that’s being refurbished or having its primary use changed.
NIFES Consulting Group can explore all of the issues and current legislation involved, including options which may recommend the use of fire safety engineering features such as fire suppression, smoke control, fire resistance and fire detection to help ease the pressure associated with the planning process.
When developing a fire strategy for a building NIFES will always ensure that we are focussing on the specific needs of that individual project. In some cases, the client or architect may need support in order to gain approval for a design that doesn’t comply with standard fire safety codes.
In other situations, the focus may simply be to ensure that the building gains statutory approval at the lowest cost.
Implementing a Fire Strategy at the beginning stages of a project provides critical information for the design phase of a new building project. Fire strategies are required for all new buildings to demonstrate compliance with Building Regulations.
In order to ensure the inclusion of a thorough Fire Strategy at the conception of a project, it is best practice to conduct a Qualitative Design Review in collaboration with key project stakeholders.
Many existing buildings will already have a Fire Strategy report, however regular maintenance and updating of this is required to stay abreast of new developments, technologies and legislative requirements.
For existing buildings without a Fire Strategy available, production of detailed fire safety documentation is recommended. This will help to guide fire risk assessments and fire safety planning by outlining the existing systems and capabilities so future assessors have a standard to measure against.
Buildings in Construction
Fire strategies can also cover the phased construction process, showing how the standards of fire safety are to be maintained throughout all stages of the construction. This is particularly important when the work is being carried out while parts of the building are occupied.
What does Fire Safety and Fire Strategy involve?
NIFES experts will use our specialties in fire engineering to ensure that the client’s objectives are achieved. The fire strategy will typically focus on issues such as:
Evacuation Routes and Means of Escape (Including Disabled Evacuation/Refuge Points)
Internal and External Fire Spread and Control
Construction and Compartmentation Fire Rating (Walls, Doors, Floors, Ceilings, Structure)
Fire Service Access (Vehicle Access, Hydrants, Access Points)
Active Systems (Extinguishers, Sprinkler Systems, Automated Door Closers)
Temporary Fire Safety Strategy
For buildings under construction or heavy refurbishment, an existing fire strategy may not exist, or be implementable at certain stages of construction. In these cases, a temporary fire safety strategy is recommended to be reported, addressing areas including:
Building Population Changes (Permanent and Temporary)
Means of Warning and Escape
Fire Detection and Alarm Systems
Emergency Lighting and Signage
Structural Protection and Load Bearing Elements
Compartmentation During Construction
Fire Service Access
Risk To and From Machinery
NIFES Fire Strategy & Fire Safety Services
Working as experienced professionals on NIFES client projects or independently, NIFES has significant experience across all sectors. NIFES teams of fire engineers have the expertise to prepare fire strategy reports for all types of buildings.
NIFES provide a strategic and practical approach to health and safety management in general, covering both short- and long-term objectives.
We can analyse information from physical surveys and existing data to produce various health and safety audits, risk assessment reviews, training needs analyses and compliance gap analyses covering all aspects of health and safety.
Put simply NIFES has the knowledge skills and experience to help you create a comprehensive fire strategy which will ultimately protect your people, your property and your business.
West Berkshire Council – Fire Risk Assessments & Technical Specification for Remedial Works
West Berkshire Council commissioned NIFES consultants to conduct Fire Risk Assessments and develop Fire Strategies in accordance with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 for their portfolio of over 150 properties. This included Residential Care Homes, HMO’s, Sheltered Accommodation, Leisure Centres, Offices, Schools amongst others.