What do Fire Safety Strategy Reports consider?
- Fire compartmentation
- Impact of internal fire spread
- Impact of external fire spread
- Routes of escape including existing evacuation strategies
- Means of warning (e.g. fire alarms)
- The building’s layout and description
- Fire compartmentation
- Equipment available for the fire service and access for emergency services
- Fire suppression equipment
- Management of systems in place
- Arson risk
- Emergency lighting and signage
When you Might Need a Fire Strategy
If you are carrying out a development (large or small) you may be required to gain approvals for the purposes of structural warranty. Part of that approval process will require you to comply with Building Regulations and produce a Fire Strategy Report.
A Fire Strategy Report assesses ways to prevent internal and external fire spread in order to be compliant with Building Regulations. This can be achieved by adjusting the size of buildings and openings, the distance between buildings and the use of non-combustible materials. The report therefore includes calculations to justify an architect’s design in areas such as smoke control and specification for materials.
For some buildings, Fire Strategy is an after-thought and only addressed after design is complete. As such, some of the client’s objectives can fail to be achieved because retro-fitting a Fire Strategy can have adverse impacts on design and costs.
We have worked on a number of buildings where compliance with codes of practice cannot be achieved. In such instances our fire engineers provide a range of options for our clients to consider.
Fire Solutions Bespoke to your Development
Whilst working on a project, our continued engagement with our client is a reflection of the quality and consistency of our service. This is underpinned by our thorough understanding of this specialist area of work.
We understand that some projects require robust fire engineering solutions that will gain the necessary approvals from Building Control whilst, at the same time, respecting original design concepts. This requires a level of experience, expertise and creative thinking that not all fire engineering firms possess. Our wealth of knowledge and experience spans numerous sectors so you can be sure that our solutions are bespoke to the needs of your particular development.
What is a Fire Strategy Report?
You should see a Fire Strategy Report as a ‘Bible’ for your development, setting out how the building will perform in the event of a fire. As such it explains:
- What type of alarm system will be in place and where fire doors will be located (Part B1 of the Regulations);
- What amount of fire resistance (if any) is required for each wall and door (Part B2 of the Regulations);
- How and to what degree elements of structure that give the building its stability will be protected with fire resisting materials (Part B3 of the Regulations);
- How fire spread will be prevented within and on external walls, and how fire spread will be prevented from one building to another (Part B4 of the Regulations);
- Details of the equipment and facilities accessible to the fire service when they arrive on site (Part B1 of the Regulations).
As such, a Fire Strategy evaluates all aspects of fire safety in one specific building. It analyses key elements to find out how well the premises are protected against fire and smoke damage. It assesses the key fire safety features in the building including the way it is constructed (for example, how flammable the materials used in its structure and decoration are), its compartmentation strategy and the premises’ means of escape (this means how and where people would be able to safely evacuate in the event of a fire).
In essence, a Fire Strategy is used to determine how the building will comply with all parts of Building Regulations. As such it will show the features/measures put in place to protect the safety and lives of its occupants. It is also frequently utilised for new-builds, with home designers, architects and civil engineers using them to assist their designs and construction. If done properly, it tells every specialist and contractor the minimum work they are required to do in order to achieve compliance; whether that be the alarm specialist, the sprinkler installer, the M&E contractor, the contractor who builds the external wall, even the plasterer who installs internal wall linings – everyone involved in the construction of the building should have a copy of the Fire Strategy to guide their work. This is why we say that the Fire Strategy acts like a 'Bible' for your development.
“Vemco Consulting has portrayed great competence in overseeing all reinstatement aspects and the consultancy of a big construction scheme comprising of 128 apartments, in an expert manner, while also placing great emphasis on providing a quality service alongside paying attention to ourselves’ (the client’s) requirements & expectations.” - Ismail Karatas, Black Stone
Why Choose Us
Vemco Consulting is an fire engineering consultancy company that specialises in assisting Responsible Persons (under the RRO 2005) and Accountable Persons (under the BSA 2022) to gain the necessary planning and building control approvals for their property or development project, whether large or small.
20 Years Experience
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
A fire strategy is a type of complex document that’s tailored to one specific building. This strategy document is used to assess every aspect of a building’s fire safety. It analyses key elements to find out how protected the premises are against fire and smoke damage.
A fire strategy document assessing the building’s key fire safety features. These include the way it is constructed (for example, how flammable the materials used in its structure and decoration are), its compartmentation strategy, and the premises’ means of escape (this means how and where people would be able to safely evacuate in the event of a fire).
In essence, a fire strategy is used to determine how safe a building currently is against fires starting and spreading through it, as well as the features/measures put in place to protect occupants’ safety and lives.
A fire safety strategy document is also often used for new-builds, with home designers, architects and civil engineers using them to assist their designs and construction.
According to the 2005 Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order, all businesses are now required by law to have a fire strategy. Prior to this time, it was not a legal requirement to have one, but since this Order was put in place, it has been enshrined into UK law.
Every business or commercial property is legally required to have a fire strategy in place, and this must be created or informed by a professional company.
Creating a fire safety strategy means that a business is not only abiding by these laws, but also that its staff, clients and customers are all safeguarded in the event of a fire at the businesses’ premises. If a business can show that they have done everything in their power to protect these people, they can ensure they have met their legal duty and are legally protected.
There is also a legal requirement of property owners and property managers to implement a fire strategy, where they own or are erecting a building that is/will be shared by multiple tenants (for instance a block of flats).
A fire safety strategy should include: the means of warning and escape; likely pathways of internal and external fire spread; access and facilities for the fire service; along with the fire safety management requirements for the building.
A good fire safety strategy report should include a thorough assessment of each of the following areas: means of warning, means of escape, likely pathways of external and internal fire spread, facilities available for fire services; access routes for fire services; the construction of the building.
- Means of warning. This refers to the analysis and assessment of the standard fire detection features (such as smoke and heat detectors and installed alarms). A fire strategy would ensure these features are installed/there is room for them to be installed and that they are in proper working order.
- Means of escape. All building designs and architectural plans should include provisions for a realistic means of escape in different fire scenarios. This means people inside the building would be able to safely exit in the event of a fire.
- Assessment of fire safety features. A fire strategy assessment would also analyse/design features to help prevent the spread of internal or external fires. For example, this might be sprinklers, smoke ventilation or fire doors.
- Fire service access and support. A fire strategy includes an assessment of what facilities are/will be in place to help support fire services, such as fire extinguishers. It also includes a report on all possible access points for emergency services. If the fire strategy is being used in tandem with architectural designs and plans, this may be used to advise on how to include these within blueprints.
A fire strategy drawing looks like a birdseye map or blueprint of a building. These can be used by architects with new building plans, or can be made of existing properties.
A drawing used in any official fire strategy must follow all compliance requirements for building regulations. This includes an assessment of the following fire safety measures and features:
- External fire spreading
- Internal fire spreading
- Means of warning
- Means of escape
- Fire safety facilities
- Means of entry for fire services
Regulation 38 of the Building Regulations — put in place in 2010 — is a legal requirement, which states that where building works involve a ‘relevant building’ being built or extended, those in charge of the building works must give fire safety information to the ‘responsible person’. According to Regulation 38, this must be done no later than the date the building work is completed, or the date of occupation — whichever is earlier.
In this context, a ‘relevant building’ is a building to which the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 applies/will apply when the building is complete (i.e a commercial building or business premise).
A ‘responsible person’ is defined here as the person who has ultimate control of the premise (including as an occupier) for the use of trade or the conduction of business, or as the person who is the owner of the premise, in the event that the person with ultimate control of the premise is not using it for business.
The person responsible for overseeing and implementing the fire strategy changes depending on the use of the property.
According to Regulation 38 (2010) of the Building Regulations, the person responsible for fire strategy planning is either the person with control of a commercial property or business premises (whether they occupy it or) , or the owner of a non-commercial property which is occupied by multiple tenants, such as a residential home or an apartment block.
There are a number of fire prevention strategies which property and business owners, architects and civil engineers must also consider when conducting any kind of assessment of a new or existing building.
- Hazard consideration. Fire prevention involves spotting and minimising potential fire hazards. These could be anything from cookers, electrical equipment and lights to fuel tanks, chemicals, or factory equipment.
- Designated internal fire safety officers. Business-owners and managers can help to prevent fires by training a group of staff members and designating them roles within the fire safety team. This can encourage employees to be more aware of hazards and the prevention of fires.
- Regular inspections and checks. Businesses and property owners should regularly update their fire strategies, as well as inspect current properties to ensure all fire safety strategies are properly enforced.
- Reporting near misses, incidents and fire hazards. Reporting any incidents or near-misses is highly important to help prevent future fires. These reports should be thorough and should show how the near miss, incident or hazard arose, what was done to manage it at the time and in the aftermath, and how the same scenario can be minimised and prevented in the future.