What is Fire Safety Engineering?
- The objective of the Building Code of Australia (BCA) is to ensure new and refurbished buildings achieve minimum performance requirements relating to various matters including fire and life safety.
- The BCA nominates a number of prescriptive building design techniques which are “Deemed to Satisfy” these minimum performance requirements, which are called “DTS” solutions. In the case of fire and life safety, there are various DTS requirements, including those relating to fire compartmentation & separation, fire resistance levels, access & egress, fire services & measures, and smoke hazard management.
- These fire safety DTS solutions are intended to cover around 10 basic building categories on a “one size fits all” approach, so they can be cumbersome, inadequate and/or inflexible from the perspective of
- architectural design (such as for innovative, unusual and even heritage buildings), or
- property and content protection, and business continuity,
- DTS solutions can also be expensive and disruptive to retrofit into existing buildings, in particular sprinkler and hydrant systems.
- Fire Safety Engineers are accredited to develop alternative “performance-based” solutions which are demonstrated to meet the BCA minimum performance requirements without using DTS solutions.
- To do this, they use various statistical information and analytical tools, to develop “alternative fire solutions” which can preserve the architectural design and deliver practical and cost effective outcomes by providing fire prevention and protection measures where the real risks are, and reducing over-specification of fire measures elsewhere.