Education buildings can represent the most challenging fire safety projects, and the critical success factors to enable design excellence and best value for money would typically include:

  • Addressing property protection and business continuity aspects, and general compliance strategy for BB100 for schools
  • Open-ness of design (atria, large compartments).
  • Smoke control systems, to enable smoke retardant construction and toughened glazing toachieve fire compartmentation performance, or to enable open balcony escape.
  • Extended travel distance and use of accommodation stairs for escape.
  • Choice of evacuation strategy. Progressive Horizontal Evacuation may enable best management of any evacuation, especially beneficial for special needs students and disabled persons.
  • Strategy for means of escape for disabled persons and coordination with the management of evacuation for the facility.
  • Cost-benefit analysis of sprinklered, partially-sprinklered, and non-sprinklered options.
    Integration of fire strategy with building service’s environmental strategy, particularly relevant for natural ventilation and low-energy solutions.
  • Integration of security and escape, and development of engineered fire alarm systems (BS 5839 L5 standard); particularly relevant in the design for partial-occupation situations e.g. where areas of the school are occupied (e.g. let for third-party/out of hours purposes) whilst remainder of school is unoccupied.
  • Account for effect of construction on any existing facilities and for any phasing of occupation.
  • Fire service access and firefighting
  • Negotiation with Building Regulations body and Fire Authority, to ensure an efficient approvals process and enable confident progression of the design

Education projects comprise: