Fire Safety in Construction and Design
Every year, fires destroy thousands of acres of land and numerous buildings, taking several lives and releasing harmful gases into the environment in the process. Every 24 seconds, a fire department in the country responds to a fire somewhere in the nation.
When constructing a building, fire safety should be top of mind. Whether you own a single-family home or a multi-family property, consider complying with building standards outlined by the local authority an absolute necessity.
Some appropriate fire-resistant materials to use in construction include:
- Bricks: Bricks are known for its high endurance to heat and temperature. Brick walls are rated fire resistant. Depending on the thickness and construction style, a brick wall can achieve a 1 to 4-hour fire-resistance rating.
- Concrete: Concrete is non-combustible and fire-resistant, thanks to its low thermal conductivity. It is the most widely used construction material. Builders use it for constructing foundations and load-bearing structures. It is also used to reinforce and protect steel structures from fires.
- Fire-resistant glass: Traditional windows include flammable materials such as wooden frames and glass material. Use fire-resistant windows instead of traditional windows. Fire-resistant glasses have a high energy absorption capacity and are up to four times more durable than conventional glass.
- Gypsum: Structural materials are attached underneath with gypsum sheeting to prevent fire hazards. Manufacturers chemically treat gypsum boards to enhance the fire-resisting properties of gypsum. Multiple layers of gypsum coating are used on gypsum boards to enhance their fire protection performance.
Design Considerations to Keep in Mind
- To reduce the risk of a roof fire, use non-combustible roof framing and non-flammable insulation.
- Use non-flammable wall and ceiling insulation.
- Use earth walls such as compressed earth, mud brick, or rammed earth.
- Decking, facades, doors, and stairs should be non-combustible.
- Make sure to unblock escape routes and exit doors.
- Toxic materials can pose a significant fire hazard. Use non-toxic wall linings, paint, and floor coverings.
- Load-bearing walls should be thick enough to retard a fire’s progression.
- Framed structures made from reinforced concrete should have a sufficient concrete cover.
- Use reinforced cement concrete, asbestos cement board, or reinforced brick concrete for building fire-resistant partition walls.
- Doors and windows should be glazed and fitted with reinforced glass panels.
- In the case of multi-story buildings, stairs should be accessible from different points.
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- Posted On December 16, 2020