Buildings

Design stage

Fire safety matters are crucial to effective building design and should always be considered at the outset. This is covered by the Building Regulations but many developers are unaware of the need for early discussions, with the result that expensive changes often have to be made late in the design process - or even during construction - in order to comply with the Regulations and provide reasonable safety levels.

We advise on and specify measures in buildings to meet the fire safety requirements of current legislation (Our clients include architects, surveyors and builders) for both passive and active systems.

Access for fire appliances is also a critical matter at the outset and we are able to advise on this.

Refurbishment and Alteration

Often, refurbishment or alterations are made to existing properties without prior reference to the Chief Building Control Officer, resulting in inadequate fire safety measures. This may be simply due to poor organisation of the works, resulting in hazards only for the duration of those works. Other instances show that the initial concept was wrong and the increased hazard is not only permanent but is sometimes very serious. Almost always in these cases, the responsible person is completely unaware of the dangers.

We are able to advise on unusual fire safety matters relating to listed buildings and to innovative emergency escape schemes in existing buildings where restrictions are imposed by such parties as English Heritage (Clients include Beefeater Inns and Lomax, Cassidy and Edwards, Architects)

Buildings Under Construction

As construction progress, so the fire safety risk alters. In addition, fire safety measures, such as fire-resisting partitions and doors, may be installed incorrectly due to ignorance of the essential criteria; or even due to financial pressures. We are able to provide advice on these matters to help builders to ensure that fire safety is not compromised.

Buildings in Occupation

When taking over a new building, it is reasonable to expect that it will conform to current standards of fire safety: and it may well do so. However, the continued effectiveness of these measures relies on good fire safety management—and this is sometimes lacking.

Taking over existing premises can be an even greater fire safety risk, because there is often no indication of whether or not the building provides an inherent degree of safety. Alterations made in the past are oftentimes completed without reference to the local building control office. And even if they had been, they may have been suitable for the specific requirements at the time but not necessarily for the needs of the new occupants. Landlords have neither the knowledge nor inclination to make prospective tenants aware of any problems in this area.