Our last blog looked at fire safety in blocks of flats, particularly those flats on the 2nd floor and above (more than 4.5m above ground or main egress). Extended travel distances within flats can sometimes be compensated for with a fire engineered design. Today, we will look at some of the compensatory measures that might be employed to ensure fire safety where the design does not fall within prescriptive guidelines.
Last week's blog looked at fire safety in blocks of flats concentrating on the basement, ground and first floor flats, which have an advantage over flats on higher floors in that occupants can make escape to outside ground relatively easily through escape windows or additional doors. This week we will look more closely at the fire safety provisions for those flats which are on the 2nd floor and above. These are classified by being more than 4.5m above ground or access level.
There is specific provision made in the current guidance for flats which with floors no more than 4.5m above ground level, a premise which would apply to basement, ground floor and most first floor flats. This blog continues to look at means of escape, flat design, risk assessment and fire safety in this context.
When looking at means of escape for a block of flats, it can be considered most easily perhaps by breaking it down into two distinct areas. The means of escape to the flat exit door (front door of the individual flat) and then the means of escape from that point to the exit door of the block as a whole.
Last week's blog touched upon fire resistance of walls and floors in blocks of flats. Fire resistant construction and fire doors between flats and the common areas is an essential part of a fire safe design and is known as compartmentation.