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Fires are bad for the environment. The combustion products such as carbon dioxide and sulphur oxides, there are contaminants from fire fighting activities, the run-off water containing fire fighting foams, and the risk of land contamination from disposing of fire damaged materials that may contain heavy metals.

Innovative building methods developed to improve sustainability can be a source of fire safety concern.

Innovative building methods are becoming difficult to distinguish from traditional construction and fire fighters are therefore concerned about choosing the safest and most effective strategy when attending a fire.

Experts are careful to caution that green building designs do not associate to increased fire- and life-safety hazards. Owners of green buildings might have to be aware that the green designs can present previously unconsidered challenges that arise as a direct result of construction choices.

The new methods and materials that are used to support green building concepts can result in specific fire hazards, just like in traditional building design.

It is advised the contractor or facility managers responsible for new construction with green design elements to use performance-based design metrics.

Performance-based design identifies the level of safety that is to be provided without identifying exactly how it is to be accomplished.

Performance-based design requires more engineering effort.

At the same time, it results in a more efficient design based on a building’s unique features.

On the positive side, this is helping to raise awareness of sustainability in fire and rescue services.

There are also instances where innovations to improve sustainability may seem to be stifled by the prescriptive fire safety guidance approved by fire and rescue authority.

For example, modern construction materials may conflict with the recommendations approved by fire and rescue authority but there should be flexibility in the building regulations and while the approved fire and rescue authority documents offer one way of meeting the regulations’ functional requirements, there are other options.

Fire safety engineering solutions can help innovative building designs to meet the building regulations using an evidence-based approach, rather than following approved documents fire and rescue authority recommendations.

Source : facilitiesnet and  info4fire.

(this article written for 1BINA.my)