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Last edited 06 Jan 2021
Qualitative design review
A Qualitative Design Review (QDR) is a technique outlined in BS 7974-0 that allows the team to think of the possible ways in which a fire hazard might arise and establish a range of strategies to maintain the risk at an acceptable level.
When designers are engaged in complex designs, regardless of size, they may find it challenging to meet the obligations of Regulations relating to Fire Safety and allowing for fire fighting provisions. BS7974 advocates the use of QDR as a method to engage stakeholders in communication to mitigate risk.
Establishing objectives leads to discussions of life safety solutions beyond those ‘deemed to satisfy’ life safety solutions into meaningful dialogue for assets, business criticality and management decisions for resourcing and training.
Through QDR, a wide range of stakeholders understand the interdependencies between design and operations, and where emphasis on safety is needed, with a broad input from a holistic range of knowledge, engagement is critical to use the resources available effectively.
The whole building life cycle (e.g. change control, product substitution, emerging information and handover) can all be appropriately interrogated through the QDR process to arrive at acceptable solutions to mitigate hazards.
The QDR team should take account of the possibility of failures of protection systems and management procedures when establishing the sequences of events to be considered. In a deterministic or comparative study, it is usual to identify a number of worst-case scenarios for further evaluation.
Successful QDRs are workshops, not presentations; they are delivered by team effort, not by adversarial argument; they are constructive, not divisive; they are continual, not disjointed; they are visible, not obscurantist.
|A whole fire event can be modelled, with different fire locations, different protection solutions, different management responses, and may include firefighting operations.
This article originally appeared as ‘Building a safer future’, in Issue 128 of Architectural Technology Journal, published by The Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) in Winter 2018-19. It was written by Dr Graham Smith MCIAT.
-  Application of fire safety engineering principles to the design of buildings. Code of practice.
-  Fire safety in the design, management and use of buildings. Code of practice.
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