It’s often easy for people to overlook the amount of thought that goes into the choice of fire resistant elements of construction in their home or place of work.
Of course, there are times when building regulations have not been followed by unscrupulous builders in an effort to save money.
It is therefore vital to increase awareness of fire resistant materials and why building regulations are important. Below are the important factors related to building design and fire safety and the rules that have been put in place to keep us safe from day to day.
Fire resistant Elements of Construction
The choice of materials for construction are based on the avoidance of a fire spreading. But which materials are best for preventing fire damage?
Made by mixing cement and aggregate, concrete is one of the greatest success stories for the construction industry. It’s strong, highly heat-resistant, and can be used in any part of a building from foundations to roofing.
Despite its delicate nature, gypsum is used extensively as an interior fire-resistant material. Often treated with additional chemicals to improve its fire safety rating, gypsum is most often used in dry wall panels and can help prevent the spread of fire from room to room.
A plaster made from cement, sand and lime, stucco is used as a finishing render on many surfaces such as wood or blocks, and grants an additional one-hour fire rating to a partition.
It is important to use fire resistant glass on areas such as escape corridors to ensure the integrity of the corridor it maintained for a specific period of time.
Why building regulations are important
Approved documents are provided by the government and ensure that all new and existing buildings adhere to the minimum standards expected of them to help prevent structural failures and potentially fatal situations. And there are a lot of them.
In England and Wales, these documents (labelled ‘A’ through ‘R’) each refer to different aspects of building safety and cover topics from toxic substances, ventilation, and sound resistance, to security, drainage and, of course, fire safety.
Amended every few years, these documents keep millions safe every day, and hold companies who plan to cut corners to account. Construction sites are routinely visited by building inspectors who enforce these rules through detailed assessments, closing any sites that flirt with incompetence.
These documents also affect the design of the building itself. While an architect may have a vision for a development, if this vision contravenes regulations, such as failing to provide multiple fire escape routes, the plans will be rejected.
Even once the building is built, the approved documents also mandate the placement of fire, heat and smoke alarms, as well as the implementation of sprinkler systems where viable.
Ultimately, by promoting knowledge of fire resistant elements of construction and why building regulations are important, new construction projects will be safer for the future occupiers, and we can help to prevent the tragic loss of life due to fires and bad planning.
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