Fire Safety Design in Change of Use or Refurbishment Projects

Due to the fantastic savings that can be achieve when working with an existing superstructure rather than a new development, it’s no wonder that change of use and refurbishment projects are very common.

These types of developments are commonplace in cities and town centres, where residential land prices are high. Converting abandoned commercial and office building for a residential purpose can be extremely lucrative.

These old buildings have a certain character and period features, which can be very attractive to potential clients. However, when undertaking a project of this nature close attention must be paid to the fire safety of the building in its new intended residential use.

In many cases this may require new fire safety systems such as smoke ventilation systems that are adequate for the renewed usage and to ensure compliance with current regulations. Many older buildings would not have been designed to modern day fire safety guidelines.

It’s best to incorporate Fire Safety design in a project of this nature and we recommend seeking expert advice as early on in the development as possible. The Fire Design Solutions team can advise on the best course of action, helping to prevent delays or increased project costs that may arise with last-minute changes to system specification.

There are many factors to consider with a change of use project. One of the most obvious is the building occupancy levels. These will change with a conversion to residential, so checks need to be undertaken and the fire strategy analysed to ensure safe exit from the building, in the event of a fire.

Fire Design Solutions take an engineered approach to fire safety and will provide a cost-effective solution, keeping the required changes to a minimum.

Our engineered approach was demonstrated on one of our latest projects. The Fire Design Solutions team utilised existing service risers in place of smoke shafts and fitted actuators to windows so they operated as Automatic Opening Vents (AOV’s).

Recent work on a 19th Century Hotel refurbishment saw FDS install a mechanical smoke ventilation system without compromising the hotels period features. The MSVS uses smoke shafts and powered fans to remove smoke from escape routes and was fitted with great consideration to the aesthetics of the hotel.

No matter how big or small the refurbishment project is FDS can provide expert consultation and are available to identify the most suitable Fire Safety solution, in order to reach an appropriate level of fire protection.

If you are currently taking on a Change of Use or Refurbishment project and would like to know more, contact us by emailing or call +44 (0)1322 387411.

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