This section outlines some of the limitations with fire safety guidance and relays our thoughts on how these may be overcome in the future. Whilst the animation focuses on tall commercial buildings the suggested approach could be applied to any building of any height.
A perfect fire strategy is one that achieves an optimum balance between the risks of fire occurring and the costs of protecting against them. This requires a rigorous assessment of the chosen fire safety systems and at the current time there is no legislative requirement to do this for any building.
Such an approach requires a highly competent and able fire engineer to engage with all stakeholders, agree upon a clear set of fire safety goals and then choose an appropriate methodology to deliver the required results. This level of engineering is “beyond guidance”.
We believe that probabilistic risk assessment (PRA), akin to that adopted in other fields of engineering, could and should be used as part of an absolute approach for buildings which are not adequately covered by fire safety guidance (e.g. very tall buildings).