Last edited 08 May 2024

Fire in buildings index

This article provides an index of key articles relating to fire and the built environment. For more detail covering different aspects about the fire, see our main article; Fire in buildings.

Buildings need to be designed to offer an acceptable level of fire safety and minimise the risks from heat and smoke. The primary objective is to reduce to within acceptable limits the potential for death or injury to the occupants of a building and others who may become involved, such as the fire and rescue service, as well as to protect contents and ensure that as much as possible of a building can continue to function after a fire and that it can be repaired. The risk to adjoining properties also needs to be considered, as well as possible environmental pollution.

Fire occurs as a result of a series of very rapid chemical reactions between a fuel and oxygen that releases heat and light. For combustion to occur, oxygen, heat and a fuel source must all be present; this is the ‘fire triangle’. Flames are the visible manifestation of combustion. Other key terms include: 'Flash point'; the temperature to which a fuel has to be heated for the gases given off to flash when an ignition source is applied.'Fire point' is the temperature to which a fuel has to be heated for the vapours given off by the fuel to sustain ignition. 'Spontaneous ignition temperature' is the temperature at which these vapours ignite spontaneously without the application of an external flame. Once ignition has begun and the vapours ignited, flames will in turn heat the fuel and increase the rate of production of flammable vapours.

Key articles about fire and the built environment on this site include:

Designing Buildings Anywhere

Get the Firefox add-on to access 20,000 definitions direct from any website

Find out more Accept cookies and
don't show me this again