There is now a fast growing awareness among the modern architects and engineers to plan, design and construct the buildings in such a manner that the safety of the occupants is assured to the maximum possible extent in the event of outbreak of fire in the building.
Hence, proper selection of material and the method of construction play an important role in minimizing danger from fire to the property.
Main fire protection requirements for building can be summarized as under:
The structural frame work can be in R.C.C. or steel. In case of steel structure, it will be necessary to encase the structural components of tiles, concrete or bricks. The fire resistance of load bearing walls, columns and beams should not be less than two hours.
2. Internal walls and Partitions
internal walls could be in brick, hollow concrete blocks, tiles or timber. The materials of the wall should be treated in such a manner that they should have fire resistance of less than one hour.
The enclosing walls of the main staircase should have a fire resistance of not less than one hour. The staircase enclosure should be of self contained type with one side preferably being adjacent to an external wall. Staircase should not be arranged around the lift shaft. Access to the staircase should be through doors having fire resistance of at-least half an hour. The doors should be of swing type opening in the direction of the escape. the door of the staircase enclosure at ground floor should open out into an open space. Adequate number of staircases should be provided to meet the travel distance requirements of the type of building.
4. Fire Escape or External Stairs
In additional to the main staircase it is necessary to make suitable provision of fire escape in the form of external stairs. All fire escapes should be directly connected to ground floor and their entrance should be away from the internal staircase of the building.
The basement should be property ventilated. The main staircase of the building should preferably terminate at ground floor and as far as possible the access to basement should be through a separate staircase. The staircase of the basement should be of enclosed type and should have fire resistance of not less than two hours. In case the basement is to be used for car parking, installation of electric sub-station, storage of combustible material, etc., it is necessary to install sprinkler system for extinguishing fire.
6. Water Storage Tank
There should be a provision of an underground water storage tank of one or two lac’s liters capacity exclusively meant for fire fighting purposes. The tank should have arrangement of replenishment of the water either by the municipal mains or by tube well.