Fire engineering combines a scientific knowledge of how fires start, spread, are contained and extinguished, with a behavioural knowledge of how people react to them. The result is an engineering discipline that protects people, property and the environment from fire.
Strategic fire engineering
Every development needs a fire strategy. Defining a fire strategy involves examining how all the elements that need to be considered for a masterplan or building will work together — the site access and fire fighting infrastructure provisions, building structure, the services, the façade, the occupants and the fire defences.
The sectors we provide fire engineering strategic advice for are:
• Industrial/ Science
• Residential/ Hotel
• Sports/ Leisure/ Arts/ Culture
The process of reviewing each of the fire strategy elements is done in a number of ways, with computer modelling playing a key role. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) are used to model the action of fire in a building, the smoke and heat it produces and the effects of different fire-fighting options. We use STEPS software to model evacuation strategies which is capable of simulating evacuation scenarios in all types of buildings and combines people’s behaviour during a fire with a particular building type and layout. We also use finite element analysis software to determine the behaviour of structural elements with varying fire loads.
Strategic fire engineering on projects
There are usually five stages to our strategic fire engineering work. We assess the design and develop an outline strategic fire engineering report, identifying risks (where the design is non-compliant with the prescriptive standards) and opportunities for improved value. We stay with the project throughout construction to ensure the strategy remains appropriate and is implemented correctly, and to provide on-going specification and construction advice.
Fire system design
Automatic systems for detection, alarm and suppression are often required to meet building regulation requirements. Modern buildings are becoming increasingly intelligent and the use of systems integration methods during the design phase is both a specialist and integral requirement. Our system design engineers provide bespoke solutions for developers, project design teams, contractors and end users, ensuring a complete project life-cycle service.
Fire risk assessment
Ramboll offers fire risk assessments to allow existing building owners/occupiers to re-examine their strategic fire plans. We make recommendations including a property protection/business continuity plan on how a business can survive a fire and also offer a mandatory risk assessment.
Structural fire engineering
Structural fire engineering is a specialist area of fire engineering assessing buildings in terms of their fire resistance and analysing the true response and behaviour of structural elements in a fire scenario. The added value can be commercial by achieving considerable savings on fire protection for the client or visual in keeping with the architectural aspirations. The main objectives are reducing fire rating and reducing / omitting passive fire protection to steel structures.