Reducing the Risk of Fire

If you’re in charge of the design of a building, particularly the MEP aspect, reducing the risk of fire should be one of your main concerns. Fire hazards can take on many different forms in a building, depending on the layout and materials used. Thankfully, innovations in building materials and structural features have been made that can drastically reduce the risk of a fire.

In case you want to know what your options are when it comes to designing the structure of your building to reduce the risk of a catastrophic fire, here are a few structural implementations you might want to consider.

1. Fire-Resistant Roofing

Heat rises, which means that in event of a fire, your roofing material can help or hurt you in a big way. One strategy for fire-proofing the roof of your building involves using concrete roof tiles in place of more flammable material. Concrete is incredibly fire-resistant and won’t break out in flames even if exposed for long periods of time.

2. Suppression System

Every building needs some type of fire-suppression system in case a fire does break out. Sprinklers, smoke detectors, fire curtains, and other fire-suppressing features should all be included in a building to prevent a fire of any size from completely consuming the building. If installed in strategically-wise places, a good fire suppression system can contain a fire and even put it out before it becomes a larger problem.

Depending on a variety of factors, you may have different fire suppression requirements for your building. Many buildings only require smoke detectors and sprinklers as part of a fire suppression system, but adding in some smoke curtains as well can be just the extra effort you need to minimize the threat of a fire in your building.

3. ICF Construction

Many building frames are built with wood, a highly flammable material that is difficult to control once it’s caught fire. One way to drastically reduce the threat of fire damage in your building is to have it built with ICFs.

Insulated concrete forms are hollow blocks of concrete sandwiched between insulating, non-flammable panels. Instead of using wood frames to support the weight of your building, insulated concrete forms provide a comprehensive wall system that can’t catch fire.

It’s also incredibly airtight, preventing much air from getting in and feeding a fire should one start. This makes it impossible for anyone wall to be consumed with flames and collapse, making fire-containment and suppression much easier.

Fire Suppression Starts with Structural Implementations

Fires happen, but they don’t have to be a fatal occurrence in your building. If you want to prevent a fire from breaking out or suppress and contain one into non-existence should one start, the structural implementations we’ve listed here are a great place to start.

By following your local fire code to a tee and implementing some extra features on top of that, you can effectively minimize the risk of a fire breaking out in your building and sleep well at night knowing your building is safe and secure.

Skylar Ross is a contributor to Innovative Building Materials. He is a blogger and content writer for the architecture industry. Skylar is focused on helping architects and building designers discover new techniques, find ways to save on costs, and discover new modern innovative materials to use in their next project.