BB100: Designing & Managing Against the Risk of Fire in Schools

Scope and Principles
"This guidance on fire safety design covers all schools maintained by Local Educational Authorities (LEAs) in England and Wales: that is nursery schools, primary and secondary schools, boarding schools, community, community special and voluntary schools as well as pupil referral units. It also provides useful advice for the design of independent schools. The guidance is aimed at head teachers and governing bodies of schools, LEAs, design consultants, building control bodies, the Fire and Rescue Service and to all those involved in the design and management of schools.

Figures from the Office of the deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) show that over 1300 school fires a year in England and Wales are attended by local authority Fire and Rescue Services. Around 70% of these are started deliberately. We therefore need to greatly reduce the risk of fire occurring in schools, and, when a fire does occur, reduce the risk of it spreading. This guide shows how to do that through good design and management. While our primary concern is for the safety of the users of school buildings, a fire can have a serious impact on children's education due to disruption and loss of course work. This guide therefore gives advice on property protection as well as life safety issues.

Generally all new building works in schools is subject to approval under the Building Regulations, which are based on functional requirements. The principles followed in this guide are based on identifying and assessing the risks presented in the different areas of a school and, where necessary, taking action to reduce them. This document provides practical guidance for designers on the use of robust alternatives in areas such as materials specification, on fire detection and suppression systems, and highlights the importance of interaction with other regulatory requirements, such as those for the disabled.

While the guide concentrates on new school building work, the principles can be applied to extensions to existing buildings and major refurbishments where these create a material alteration to existing buildings and affect means of escape. The extent to which this guidance should be applied to extensions or refurbishments will very much depend on individual circumstances. " BB100

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