Every time a new building is built, it has to meet a multitude of requirements for safety.
These requirements are dependent upon the use of the buildings. For example, a single detached home will have different requirements than a multi-unit apartment building. An office building will have different requirements than industrial buildings. Data centers will have different specifications than restaurants. Hospitals will differ from schools.
All of these types of businesses will have different occupancies which will also factor into the building requirements and safety codes.
As architects and designers envision these new buildings, it is vital that they include a fire protection engineer at the conception of the design process. Designs often include fire protection systems that are efficient and cost-effective. Fire protection engineers follow the planning, implementation, documentation, and occupancy of the building so that it meets minimum legal responsibilities and code compliance. These plans should include procedural, active, and passive systems for fire safety.
Factors involved in these design standards and codes include
It is part of a building owner’s responsibility to ensure fully functional safety processes for the protection not only of the property, but all tenants, occupants and their property.
New design trends based on performance allow flexibility while including unique features for aesthetics, costs, and functionality for building occupants and emergency responders alike.
The fire safety engineer analyzes fire scenarios within a variety of building designs to meet fire safety goals. New building construction should also be thinking of future renovations and additions that may alter the fire safety requirements. Documentation becomes a vital part of the building design and construction process not only for future changes to the building but also as a guideline for regular maintenance and risk management and evacuation procedures. The Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) in conjunction with the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) have created the SFPE Engineering Guide to Performance-Based Fire Protection Analysis and Design of Buildings as well as the SFPE Code Official's Guide to Performance-Based Design Review which address in more detail the following specifications:
- site access for emergency responders
- building construction requirements
- egress requirements
- fire detection and notification system requirements
- fire suppression
- emergency power, lighting, and exit signage
- special fire protection requirements
Contact the experts at Pye Barker Fire Safety to help determine the fire safety requirements of your new construction.