We work as a key part of the project design team to fulfil our clients design aspirations while helping to ensure that the regulatory requirements for fire safety are met.
We provide clear and concise fire safety design advice and report through all the RIBA Stages 1-7. We advise on fire safety designs by applying the appropriate fire safety code guidance (Approved Document B, BS 9999, BS 9991, BB 100, and other international standards) to the Building Regulations, in the first instance.
Meeting design aspirations without compromising fire safety
Where the generic code guidance goes against the client brief or aspirations, we draw on our wide and varied experience to review challenges and apply fire engineering first principles to ‘engineer’ the building to satisfy the functional requirements of the Building Regulations. This is achieved through both quantitative analysis and qualitative risk assessment and is then documented in our fire safety strategy.
We engage with the building control body (local authority or Approved Inspector) and other statutory consultees (local fire and rescue services) as early as possible to agree the design principles and so gain the earliest possible in-principle approval for the designs with these bodies. Ongoing discussions with all relevant stakeholders takes the project forward into, and through, construction with all parties in agreement with the principles of the fire strategy.
We have a dedicated, diligent and highly experienced team of Fire Engineers that work closely to ensure we provide the most up-to-date advice in what is a very fast moving fire engineering world of regulatory and guidance updates.
In accordance with the requirements of the ‘Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure and Section 62A Applications) (England) (Amendment) Order 2021’, a development which shall have one or more relevant buildings shall require a fire statement(s) which shall contain information of the fire safety design principles, concepts and standards that have been applied to the development. All Fire Statements are required to be completed by suitably competent engineers.
Fire safety statements to meet all required regulations
At Ashton Fire, we produce fire statements to satisfy both Town and County planning regulations as well as local authority regulations.
The existing building stock in the UK and overseas is constantly undergoing layout changes, alterations and extensions with little or no knowledge of the fire safety principles of the existing building and how the proposed works might affect it.
Ensuring existing buildings meet latest fire safety legislation
We have significant experience in the provision of fire safety advice for existing buildings undergoing these upgrade, extension, alteration and change-of-use works. We review the building as it is, the proposed works and provide a retrospective fire safety strategy to ensure the project aspirations are met while also respecting the existing buildings (particularly if it is a Listed property) fabric and function, all while satisfying the functional requirements of the Building Regulations and progressing through the RIBA Stages and regulatory approvals process.
We provide and facilitate bespoke and specialist fire engineering services, e.g. Structural Fire Engineer, Evacuation Modelling and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling. These services are usually provided as part of a holistic fire safety strategy, although can be standalone projects in some cases. Such quantitative analyses can be used to support and substantiate qualitative risk assessments of proposed designs and demonstrate with an appropriate safety factor that safe conditions are present for life safety in and around a new or existing building.
Modelling and analysis to assist in risk assessment
We have tools that enable us to realise the clients design aspirations while helping ensure we satisfy the functional requirements of the Building Regulations or other statutory documents. We can offer:
Our team includes experienced specialists in the delivery of computational modelling to assist in the fire safety design of buildings. Our capabilities cover the use of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) based fire and smoke modelling, zone modelling, evacuation modelling, fire dynamics calculations, and probabilistic assessments. We use these computational methods to quantify fire dynamics and human behaviour to support performance-based design as part of an integrated fire safety strategy. As a result, we can accommodate building situations in which the adoption of prescriptive guidance recommendations may not be appropriate or feasible, ultimately providing our clients with designs that achieve the necessary level of safety while preserving the desired architectural intent.
Members of our team sit at the forefront of research in fire engineering and are regular contributors to the progression of the discipline, ensuring we stay up to date with the latest technical developments and fully understand the range of computational tools available to us. With this expertise available in house, we know when and where it is appropriate to adopt complex methods to assist in the performance-based design of buildings, never advocating for the use of complex modelling when simpler, less costly, and more suitable alternatives are available.
Our team of Fire Engineers and Fire Safety Consultants have a comprehensive knowledge of the construction process, fire safety review and implementation of fire safety strategies to existing buildings, from construction through to handover.
The fire engineering industry and regulatory guidance and advice continues to evolve. This is particularly reflected by the recent changes to the requirements for the external walls of residential building stock following the Grenfell Tower tragedy of 2017. At Ashton Fire, we continue to apply our knowledge and skills to help our clients navigate these changes and help ensure their residential buildings can be managed safely and effectively.
Our team are able to undertake door and partition assessments, project manage research and development projects, plus support and advise on product testing.
The integrity of passive fire protection within a building is essential and underlines the life safety expectations within any fire strategy or means of escape process. Understanding and being confident in the ability of key elements such as doors, floors and walls to resist the passage of fire is vital when considering life safety in our built environment.
In many cases, it is not practical to remove and test or, remove and replace, existing built elements within a building’s fabric and consequently, demonstrating fire resisting performance becomes extremely difficult. Such situations may come about due to the historic nature of the building, a change in use of the property or as identified by the buildings fire risk assessment as part of a planned maintenance programme.
Our team has extensive experience in testing and assessment
The team at Ashton Fire includes individuals who have significant experience in fire testing and therefore have the skills to establish fire performance of existing and installed separating elements such as doors, floors and walls. Much of that experience has been gained from being directly involved in establishing fire test programmes for product manufacturers through work with test laboratories and the subsequent provision of assessments to extend test data results.
By undertaking on site assessments and surveys of existing building elements, Ashton Fire has the expertise to provide insight into inherent fire performance against the current fire test standard. The team is also able to provide a risk-based approach to account for the fire growth expected within a specific space and the consequential ‘actual’ performance needed against the real fire condition. Undertaking a survey by one of Ashton Fire’s team can prevent unnecessary demolition or replacement and provide a determining conclusion on whether the extent of upgrades necessary are in fact, cost effective and appropriate.
Where new or bespoke installations need to be designed to meet or match an existing condition, the required design may not be available with pre-determined fire performance. In these cases, it may be more appropriate to carry out physical fire testing in order to confidently determine fire performance. With experience in running testing programs, the team at Ashton Fire has the understanding to assist in preparing research testing so as to help demonstrate required performance economically.