Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Technical event in Dubai. Topic: Fire rating in facades.

Last 11th of July I attended a technical event organized by the Society of Facade Engineering, focused on the very relevant current topic of fire safety in facades.
The programme was formed by two presentations and a final panel discussion. The first presentation was carried out by Susan Lamont, Fire Engineering Leader at Arup. The second presentation was exposed by Sandy Dwerk, Vice President of Thomas Bellright. Finally, the panel discussion was moderated by Andy Dean, General Manager of Exova.
 The brochure of the event.
The attendance was a success and the public made several questions, so the discussions were long and in depth. This means, the fire rating topic is in fashion.
As a brief sump up, I would like to set out some of the points that I caught during the presentations in the following list:
  • Due to a number of reasons, it is clear that one of the topics today is the fire spread. The main reasons are the education and enforcement for Designers and Owners. The perception is greater than before when a fire occurs in a building.
  • The Fire Engineer has become a key professional member in construction.
  • Facades in buildings provided with sprinklers do not need to be fire rated.
  • Fire stopping at slab edge is a key component of fire safety but will not stop fire spread if facade is combustible. The fire stopping at slab edge is presently involving Facade Engineers, Fire Engineers and Suppliers to research for better technical solutions, improving the performance of the systems whilst optimising the installation on site.
  • Facades in sprinklered high rise have to be non combustible or limited combustible not fire resistant.
  • Nowadays, it is essential to carry out fire testing of facade systems and materials to ensure those systems fully meet or exceed the standard, codes and local regulations.
  • Fire tests are conducted according to four main reasons, such as understanding material behaviour, approving systems, verifying the performance of fire rated products and assemblies and verifying code and regulation compliance.
  • The following topics were set out: the main fire testing techniques, cladding systems tests and curtain wall fire tests in accordance with the standards.
As a conclusion, I would note that fire rating has to be analyzed as an essential item of the facade specifications. It is essential that the design meets the standards.
If you are interested in further information, please note that I published an article about how to improve the fire rating systems in facades.

Photographs of a recent fire in a skyscraper.


1 comment:

  1. In large buildings there are several ways to deal with this. Doors may have an automatic shut mode if fire is detected. This way people can keep the doors open most of the time. Other doors simply need to be kept shut and many automatically close after they’ve been opened.


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