IntroductionThis report comprises two parts, and provides an overall assessment of and general plan for fire safety at the Anywhere Community Centre. The first part describes the configuration of the building, assesses its resistance to fire spread, describes appropriate detection, alarm, and fire-fighting features, and details evacuation paths from the building. The second part discusses a plan for maintaining fire safety at the Community Centre, including staff training, attention to special conditions in the facility, and significant upgrades that must be made to the building. Part One: Fire Safety Strategy1.1 Stability of the StructureThe overall stability of the structure is dependent on the internal and external resistance to fire spread, which are detailed in the following two sections.
The general interior configuration of the Anywhere Community Centre is a single-level, vaulted space arranged around a large central hall. In general, the largely masonry construction of the Anywhere Community Centre provides a robust structure that should not aggravate fire spread, and remain stable for a long period of time even in a severe fire. The one exceptional area of concern is the wood-plank style ceiling throughout the building, which does not meet applicable guidelines.
A second concern is the need to insure that appropriate cavity barriers are installed in the external walls, since the building plan diagram does not indicate their presence. 1.2 Internal Fire SpreadFlooring is of vinyl asbestos throughout the building, except for the lobby (fore or east portion of the entry hall) and chapel portion of the central hall, which are floored with quarry tile; the stage and assembly areas of the central hall, which are timber-floored; and the boiler and oil storage spaces, which have ceramolithic flooring.
Interior walls and lintels consist of concrete hollow blocks. The ceiling is 19 mm tongue-and-groove softwood boarding. Paragraph B2.ii of Approved Document B, Volume 2 Buildings other than DwellInghouses, Building Regulations 2006 (p. 63) exempts the upper surface of floors from the regulations because they are not significantly involved in a fire until its later stages. Thus in general the contribution of the flooring throughout the building to internal fire spread can be disregarded. The possible exception to this is the balcony and stairs construction within the Youth Room; the materials for these are not described, but it is assumed they are of ordinary wooden construction.
However, since they are contained within a single room, it is unlikely that they would significantly affect the building as a whole in terms of internal fire spread. The masonry interior walls are of National Class 0 material, and will not contribute to internal fire spread. The ceiling, however, is of National Class 3 material at best, and would significantly accelerate internal fire spread. Standards for fire-resistant ceilings are described by Paragraphs 6.7 and 6.8, ff.
of Approved Document B. (p. 64)1.3 External Fire SpreadThe building is completely free-standing, bounded on three sides by roads or open areas. A portion of the south-west corner of the building is separated by 3.185 metres from some existing shops. The external walls of the Community Centre are constructed of cavity walls with masonry materials on both their outer and inner faces. Notwithstanding the need to ensure that compliant cavity barriers are in place on these walls, the facing material on both sides is fire-resistant, and should not contribute to external fire spread.
Additionally, the wall has no unprotected area and is more than 1000 mm from any relevant boundary, and so meets the requirements of Paragraph 12.6 and Diagram 40c. of Approved Document B. (pp. 93-95) Similarly, the interlocking concrete tile surfacing of the roof is sufficiently fire-resistant considering the distance from the nearby shops, the guidelines for such distances being described by Table 16 of Approved Document B. (p. 103)