Last edited 04 Oct 2016

Fire protection engineering

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Contents

[edit] Introduction

Fire engineering makes use of scientific and engineering principles to safeguard individuals, property and the environment from the destructive damage that can be caused by fire. This is achieved through the application of established rules and expert judgment together with an in-depth knowledge of the phenomena and effects of fire and the reaction and behaviour of people to fire. Fire protection engineers will identify risks, and design safeguards that help prevent and control the effects of fire.

[edit] Fire safety legislation

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 provides the minimum fire safety standards for non-domestic premises. The Order designates a person, usually the employer or the owner as the “Responsible Person”. They are required to carry out certain fire safety duties, including ensuring that general fire precautions are satisfactory and conducting a fire risk assessment. If more than five persons are employed it has to be a written assessment. The Responsible Persons can have competent persons assisting them to perform their legal duties. See The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 for more information.

The Department of Communities and Local Government has produced a series of eleven guidance documents which provide advice on most types of premises where the duty to undertake a fire safety risk assessment under the Order applies.

In addition, The Building Regulations Part B: Fire Safety, addresses all precautionary measures necessary to provide safety from fires for building occupants, persons in the vicinity of buildings, and firefighters. Requirements and guidance covers means of escape in cases fire, fire detection and warning systems, the fire resistance of structural elements, fire separation, protection, compartmentation and isolation to prevent fire spread, control of flammable materials, and access and facilities for firefighting.

The 'approved documents' provide guidance for how the building regulations can be satisfied in common building situations. Two approved documents are provided:

[edit] Fire engineers

In order to achieve successful fire protection, a fire engineer should be appropriately educated, trained and experienced to understand:

  • The nature, characteristics and mechanisms of fire including how it begins, spreads and can be controlled.
  • How fires can be detected, managed and extinguished.
  • The probable behaviour of structures, materials, machines, apparatus, and processes in relation to the protection of life, property and the environment from fire.
  • The interaction and integration of fire safety systems and other systems in buildings, industrial structures and similar facilities.

The role of a fire engineer might include:

  • Risk assessments to identify potential hazards, risks of fire and its effects.
  • Minimising potential fire damage by effective design, layout and construction.
  • Effective evaluation for the optimum preventive and protective measures necessary to limit the consequences of fire.
  • The design, installation, maintenance and development of fire detection, fire suppression and fire control systems, along with fire-related communication systems and equipment.
  • The direction and control of relevant equipment and people in the fire fighting and rescue operations strategies.
  • Detailed post-fire investigation and analysis, evaluation and feedback.

[edit] Institution of Fire Engineers

The Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) is the professional body that represent fire engineers. The IFE registers suitably qualified IFE members as Chartered Engineers, Incorporated Engineers and Engineering Technicians. It is possible to find suitably qualified members though the IFE website.

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[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki

[edit] External references