What are the different types of fire strategies, and do I need one for my building?

In recent years, the fire safety industry has had a massive shake-up. In light of recent events such as the Grenfell Tower fire, and other large-scale fire disasters, there has been uncertainty from building owners and property managers regarding the fire strategy for their buildings. Necessary questions are now being asked by the responsible figures as to whether they have a suitable fire strategy, or whether they need one at all.

A fire strategy acts as the bible for a building’s fire safety measures and consolidates all the building information into one simple report. Any questions surrounding fire safety for the building can usually be answered by consulting the strategy. However, fire strategies often go missing or get lost during a building’s sale or changeover of management.

So, what is a fire strategy?

A fire safety strategy is a prescriptive document that will ensure your building will comply with the functional requirements on fire safety given in The Building Regulations, and will incorporate our value-engineering solutions. The functional requirements are:

  • Means of warning and escape
  • Internal fire spread (linings)
  • Internal fire spread (structure)
  • External fire spread
  • Access and facilities for the fire service

The keyword above being ‘will’, a fire strategy is usually produced at the design phase of a new construction, or significant refurbishment of a property. Whether you need one for an existing property will be covered below.

Fire strategies can come in numerous forms, however the most comprehensive form is a documented report, which is duly sectioned in a similar manner to a British Standard – covering each of the above functional requirements from B1 – B5, containing sub-sections within addressing each individual aspect – such as requirements for management, fire safety systems, compartmentation, building construction, fire service access/facilities, and so on.

What are the different types of fire strategy?

To help give clarity, we have categorised fire strategies into 3 types, defined below:

  • Fire Strategy (for a new development)
  • Review of Fire Safety Measures (for an existing property)
  • Retrospective Fire Strategy (for an existing property)

Fire strategy for a new development

A fire strategy report for a new development is developed to consolidate all fire safety information for a building and address specific issues relating to the building design in terms of fire safety. This type of report is usually submitted in conjunction with completed building plans to the Approving Authorities for comment and design approval.

Review of Fire Safety Measures

A fire strategy report for an existing property recognises that since the original building was constructed there have been changes to the layouts. We therefore package this as a ‘Review of Fire Safety Measures’. The purposes of this type of report is to consolidate all fire safety information, review the fire strategy based upon how the property exists, not to demonstrate compliance.

Retrospective fire strategy

A retrospective fire strategy report is very similar to a Review of Fire Safety Measures, however the document is more in-depth and will not only look at what is in place, but will give justification as to why that was compliant and passed at the time of the building’s development. This will involve a fire engineer looking back to codes of practice and regulations at the time of the initial build.

How can RM Risk Management help?

RM Risk Management can ensure a strategic approach to meet your fire strategy needs.

We have a team of Chartered Fire Safety Engineers with a wealth of experience, delivering cost effective and compliant fire strategies to buildings of all sizes, no matter what development stage they are at.

We don’t just deliver a fire strategy, we continue to work with the client to smooth the path through the approvals process, and to provide continuing support in resolving any fire issues that may arise in implementing the fire safety measures right through the construction process.

For more information, contact us on support@rmriskmanagement.com and one of our team will be happy to assist you.

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