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    Help and Advice How does fire safety work in traditional heritage buildings?

    How does fire safety work in traditional heritage buildings?

    Heritage buildings and historic properties were built at a time when there were no fire safety regulations to adhere to. Traditional construction materials and methods would have been used which has left buildings such as these in a vulnerable position should a fire break out today.

    Parts of heritage buildings may not meet current safety standards, which poses a significant fire risk to the invaluable items they often house as well as visiting members of the public. This article will delve deeper into how fire safety works in traditional heritage buildings and the considerations that must be taken into account.

    How does fire safety work in traditional heritage buildings


    How does fire safety work in traditional heritage buildings?

    The ultimate aim is to strike a balance between providing maximum fire protection and preserving the aesthetics and contents of the building.

    Being aware of the most common reasons why fires can break out in such historic buildings will help in making sure they are prevented. To name just a few, these include:

    • Renovation work
    • Electrical faults
    • Outdated or damaged wiring
    • Lighting positioned too close to combustible materials


    Before commencing with any work, a bespoke fire risk assessment should be carried out at the building to highlight any potential fire risks and the action required to reduce or remove these dangers.

    There are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration when it comes to fire safety in traditional heritage buildings, as their unique designs can pose different challenges:


    Age of the building

    The fragility of the building must be considered, along with the housing regulations they would have been built under (if any). Older properties are also prone to containing asbestos, which is dangerous when disturbed, so any trace must be made known to the fire safety team installing the equipment.


    Accessibility and escape routes

    Despite their larger size, the unconventional layout of heritage buildings typically means they have limited space, which can make the installation, repair and servicing of fire safety equipment rather challenging. It also means that there is usually a lack of compartmentation, causing fire to quickly spread between rooms.

    With concealed access points and varying ceiling/floor heights, a great deal of thought needs to be put into the most suitable escape routes in the event that a fire should break out.

    Accessibility for fire and rescue service vehicles is another important consideration, as windy roads, narrow entrances and bridges with weight restrictions can all hinder the process.

    How does fire safety work in traditional heritage buildings



    When it comes to the installation of fire safety equipment and planning escape routes, the aesthetic value of heritage buildings must be taken into account. With this in mind, a fire safety expert must strategically safeguard the property and its contents from a fire while also preserving its historical style and design.

    Wireless fire alarms offer a more discreet option to protect the look of the building while still providing optimal fire safety. Installing Aspirating Smoke Detection (ASD) systems is also an ideal choice for larger buildings such as heritage properties, as they are able to detect smoke before it becomes visible and the pipework can be concealed.


    Kitchen areas

    The type of work and appliances used in commercial kitchens make this area of a heritage building a significant fire risk. As such, a fire expert will be able to advise on a suitable fire suppression system, as well as providing wet chemical fire extinguishers which are designed to tackle fires involving cooking oils and fats.

    If your commercial property needs the attention of an experienced fire safety company, look no further than City Fire Protection. Operating throughout London, we can keep you, your staff and the public safe – contact us today to find out more.

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