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Last edited 18 Sep 2017
BS 9999: Code of practice for fire safety in the design, management and use of buildings
The British Standards Institution (BSI) is the UK National Standards Body (NSB). It publishes standards and provides a range of books, self-assessment tools, conferences and training services. It also represents UK economic and social interests in European and international standards organisations.
It is intended for:
- Architects, surveyors and designers.
- Facilities and building managers and building control officers.
- Fire and rescue services, fire risk consultants and fire safety engineers.
- Access consultants.
It was published in 2008, when it part-superseded BS 5588 Fire precautions in the design, construction and use of buildings, parts of which are still relevant to residential buildings. It also replaced DD 9999 Code of practice for fire safety in the design, construction and use of buildings.
It details ways in which fire safety legislation can be complied with through a more flexible design approach. Approved Document B (Fire Safety) provides guidance about how the building regulations can be satisfied in common building situations, but these are not always applicable to more complex, larger building. BS 9999 takes a more holistic view of fire safety, allowing for compensatory measures to offset, for example, travel distances or escape door widths.
The standard provides a risk-based structure that takes into account varying human factors, and reflects the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act with regard to inclusive design principles.
New buildings, extensions, existing buildings and buildings at design stage can all be considered in relation to BS 9999. In addition, fire safety strategies can be kept robust and effective by the use of an assessment tool which outlines methods of testing items such as easy access to exits, safety of people in and around the building, and so on. The standard covers the maintaining of a fire detection system as well as guidance on the fire safety training of employees, organising efficient evacuation plans, and allocating leadership responsibilities.
The main changes in BS 9999 over the standard it replaces are:
- An inclusion of a flowchart showing the sequential steps in the design process, to assist users in the application of the standard.
- Revised clause on fire safety management with references to PAS 7.
- Inclusion of watermist fire suppression systems.
- Expansion of the guidance on voice alarms.
- Expansion of fire growth rates table to provide more information.
The revised standard also features updated recommendations for smoke and heat control; fire curtain barrier assemblies; mechanical ventilation and air-conditioning systems; shopping complexes; and ducting.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Approved documents.
- Approved Document B.
- BS 5839-1.
- BS 8414-2: Fire performance of external cladding systems.
- BS 9991:2015 Fire safety in the design, management and use of residential buildings. Code of practice.
- Building regulations.
- Fire and rescue service.
- Fire inspector.
- Fire safety design.
- Hot work.
- The role of codes, standards and approvals in delivering fire safety.
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