Balancing Fire Safety and Aesthetics
Balancing the fire safety requirements while remaining true to the architect’s intention requires a carefully considered approach. Bijan Fard at Fire Design Solutions discusses the role of fire engineering in providing the required level of design flexibility to achieve this while ensuring occupant safety.
All architects dream of seeing their innovative creations come to life in front of them, but in this day and age with fire regulations and security measures so important, architects have to find a way for aesthetics and fire safety to work in tandem.
In recent times, building materials are coming under severe scrutiny to which the government has announced a ban on the use of all combustible materials on building facades. More recently the London Fire Brigade Commissioner, Dany Cotton, has spoken out to encourage the government to implement stricter building regulations “without further delay”.
With many solemn reminders of the importance of the correct use of building materials, it is encouraging to know that new materials are constantly being developed and tested to provide increased fire safety while not compromising on aesthetics.
Manufactures are pushing the envelope of what is possible with an aim to create fully compliant materials that prioritise fire safety and enable architects and designers to realise the aesthetic quality of the design intended for the building.
Fire Design Solutions strive to stay ahead of new developments and work closely with a number of manufacturers to ensure our recommendations are not only the safest option but also the ones that offer our clients and architects and design the most flexibility in terms of design.
Here at FDS, we highly encourage early engagement with a fire safety consultancy. Implementing consultancy services at an early stage of a project can help highlight all the options for building materials that will contribute to the overall fire safety scheme for the building. Our highly experienced team can provide consultation services from early design stages, helping architects and designers achieve compliance while retaining the design integrity of the building.
How to achieve this
Full compliance with fire safety regulations should be considered as one of the initial goals of a project alongside functionality, aesthetics, accessibility, sustainability and so on.
A whole team of planners, designers, engineers and stakeholders should be involved from the very initial stages of a development to ensure all these goals are met with a particular focus on fire and safety compliance.
Complying to fire safety regulations should be prioritised to the extent that aesthetic challenges such as the size of windows and overall look of a building are held within the very same conversations as emergency exits, fire doors and smoke ventilation solutions.
Architects and designers are always pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in order to make their building stand-out, provide maximum space or to improve the user experience of a build. It’s important for fire safety components to evolve in line with the demands of architect’s design while retaining full compliance with fire safety regulations.
Fire safety and smoke ventilation solutions are now just as sophisticated as some of the designs they are commissioned. Early engagement with a fire safety consultant will ensure the appropriate use of the most innovative systems available. Consultation at an early stage in a development can ensure full compliance with fire regulations and provide excellent space saving and aesthetic properties for an architect to implement into their design.
If an expert is enlisted at the start of the project, there is no need to compromise on aesthetics as the aesthetics of the building will not be compromised by prioritising fire safety.
At FDS we have the capability to take you right through the construction process, from initial consultation to discussing the design and the installation, all the way through to ongoing service and maintenance.
Our friendly experts have the experience you need to ensure you won’t have to compromise the aesthetic properties of a building to adhere to fire safety regulations.
Get in touch today for a free consultation and to find out more about FDS and the full range of services we can offer.