ENGINEERING SAFE, EFFICIENT BUILDINGS

More than a requirement, fire prevention systems are a necessity in any modern building. Regardless of whether the space in question is meant for commercial, residential or office use, international building regulations require that it be properly equipped against fire hazards, so as to protect both the equipment or furnishings contained within and the lives of the people living and working in it. This makes choosing the right level of fire protection a priority for most contractors when carrying out construction on a new building, as well as for property owners or managers looking to renew or renovate a piece of real estate.

With as many types of fire protection system as are available on the market, the process of choosing the right one for a building or property may initially seem relatively simple and straightforward, but the opposite is actually true; choosing the right level of fire protection is a challenging task, involving a significant amount of factors which need to be taken into consideration and juggled when attempting to make a decision. Some of those key factors are detailed in the paragraphs below, which aim to provide helpful information on choosing the right level of fire protection to any property managers, building contractors or simply residents who may benefit from it.

Fire Regulations

Fire regulations are, of course, the most important factor to bear in mind when choosing the right level of fire protection for a building or property. Any real estate property is required by law to pass a number of fire safety requirements and regulations in order to be deemed appropriate for use, and both constructors and building managers should keep track of these when attempting to decide which type of fire protection system to install in the new property.

In most western countries, including the United Kingdom, fire regulations are set in place by the government, and effective on a nationwide basis. Failing to comply with them may result on the property failing inspection, as detailed above, which in turn can lead to delays in occupancy, fines for builders and property owners alike, and an overall negative impact on the potential return on investment for that particular property. As such, few if any contractors or landlords tend to neglect these rules; on the contrary, most are eager to see to it that they are strictly adhered to, so that the property is deemed fit for use, and can begin to be explored commercially or for residential purposes as quickly as possible.

Evidently, the need to comply with these rules and regulations significantly impacts the process of choosing the right level of fire protection for a building or property, as factors such as the surface area of the property or the type of use it will be put to directly influence the type of fire protection system each property gets equipped with.

Client Needs

Of course, while keeping abreast of fire regulations is essential, it is also paramount that both building contractors and fire protection system providers, such as Thermotech, do not lose track of their client’s needs. Not all real estate properties are the same, and obviously, each will have very specific needs and requirements which much be honoured by the contracting company. As such, any attempt at choosing the right level of fire protection will necessarily have to take those into account as well.

Factors which might influence the choice of fire protection for any given property, from the client side, include the purpose the property is being used to, the number of people who might use it on a daily basis, and the presence of any sensitive equipment. For instance, an office building, which is likely to have electronic equipment inside, will require a type of sprinkler which can ensure said electronics do not get damaged in case of a fire scare. Similarly, an industrial site, where there is heavy machinery, will forcibly necessitate a type of fire protection system which will not suffer damage from, or deal damage to, these types of implements. Building managers and contractors alike must be aware of any such types of specificities, and are highly advised to network with fire protection experts before deciding on any particular type of fire protection system, to prevent any misfortunes stemming from ignorance.

Business Continuity

The two factors detailed above can be considered ‘general’, and apply to properties meant for both residential and business use. The latter, however, necessitate an additional consideration exclusive to them, and not applicable to residential properties – namely, thought about business continuity.

In fact, the ability to carry on with their business once the crisis has been averted is one of the most important priorities for business owners when installing security and preventative systems, and should therefore be taken into consideration when choosing the right level of fire protection for a business, regardless of size. Whichever sprinkler or alarm system is installed in one of these premises, builders and installers alike should strive to ensure it will not in any way affect the business owner’s ability to continue operating as normal once the fire hazard has been dealt with.

When dealing with this issue, it is also recommendable that specialists be aware of the property’s insurance coverage, as this could directly influence the type and level of fire protection to be installed on said property.

Conclusion

As the paragraphs above clearly demonstrated, there are a number of factors which should be considered when choosing the right level of fire protection for a building or property. Governmental regulations for fire prevention, the individual characteristics of each property and the purpose they are meant to fulfil will all impact the decision about which sprinkler and fire detection system should be installed, with business customers also requiring additional consideration regarding continuation of business. Constructors, building managers and providers of fire protection systems should therefore work together to ensure all of these factors are carefully balanced and weighed ahead of any decision regarding the choice and installation of a fire prevention system.

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