In recent years, the fire safety industry has had a massive shake-up. Events such as the Grenfell Tower fire and other large-scale fire disasters has meant that more duty holders are starting to ask the necessary questions when it comes to fire safety. Some property owners have reconsidered their Fire Strategy and many have begun to explore the different types of Fire Strategy services that are available, as they question which type is required for their buildings.
A Fire Strategy acts as ‘the bible’ for a building’s fire safety measures and consolidates all building information into one report. Consulting a Fire Strategy usually answers any questions relating to fire safety in a building. Having a Fire Strategy means it’s a lot easier to review fire safety measures and make certain decisions – on safe occupancy levels for example. Having said this, fire strategies often go missing during a building’s sale or changeover of management meaning that duty holders are left in the dark.
A Fire Strategy is a prescriptive document that will ensure that a building complies with the functional requirements on fire safety given in The Building Regulations. It should also include incorporate value-engineering solutions.
The functional requirements of a Fire Strategy are:
A Fire Strategy is usually produced at the design phase of a new construction but a Fire Strategy can also be produced prior to the significant refurbishment of a property and in certain other circumstances, after a property is built.
We discuss whether you need a Fire Strategy for an existing property in the ‘What are the different types of fire strategy?’ section, below.
Fire strategies can come in numerous forms. In its most comprehensive form, a Fire Strategy is a documented report, sectioned in a similar manner to a British Standard. Each functional requirement, from B1 – B5 (above), will be covered in this type of document. In addition, a Fire Strategy report contains sub-sections that will address each individual aspect, for example: requirements for management; fire safety systems; compartmentation; building construction; and fire service access/facilities.
To help give clarity, we have categorised the different types of Fire Strategy into 3 services, defined below:
The Fire Strategy report for a new development consolidates all fire safety information for a building. It addresses specific issues relating to the building design in terms of fire safety. Property owners submit a Fire Strategy report to Approving Authorities for comment and design approval, with completed building plans.
A Review of Fire Safety Measures report is for an existing property. If the layout of a property has changed since the original construction, then you will need a Review of Fire Safety Measures report. Like a Fire Strategy, a Review of Fire Safety Measures report consolidates all fire safety information. Specifically however, it will review the Fire Strategy based upon how the property exists today – not to demonstrate compliance.
A Retrospective Fire Strategy report is very similar to a Review of Fire Safety Measures but it is more in-depth. This means that it won’t just look at what’s in place now. A Retrospective Fire Strategy will instead give justification as to why the building was compliant and passed at the time of its development. The process of producing a Retrospective Fire Strategy involves a fire engineer looking back to codes of practice and regulations at the time of initial build. Therefore, this is a Fire Strategy that can be compiled if Fire officers request a Retrospective Fire Strategy to demonstrate compliance with The Building Regulations at the time the property was built.
We have a team of Chartered Fire Safety Engineers with a wealth of experience, meaning that we can deliver cost effective and compliant fire strategies to buildings of all types and sizes, no matter what development stage they are at. Subsequently, RM work on fire strategies for schools, offices, care homes, shopping centres, universities and more. Our Fire Strategy service covers Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Bristol & London and most of the UK.
Adding value, RM don’t just deliver a Fire Strategy document. We continue to work with our clients to smooth the path through the approvals process. RM will provide continuing support to resolve any issues that may arise in implementing the fire safety measures. We do this right through the construction process.