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Technical Update Fire Safety – BS 9999: 2017

British Standard 9999 Fire safety in the design, management and construction of buildings – Code of practice was first published in 2008 replacing much of the suite of fire safety documents under the BS 5588 series. It offers a half-way house between the base standard of Approved Document B and the advanced approach offered by bespoke fire engineering. The guide uses a more detailed method for establishing fire safety precautions based on assigning risk profiles, a combination of occupancy and fire growth characteristics to the building. Enhancements over the minimum required fire safety package can offer design flexibilities such as extended travel distances and reduced door and stair widths.

Next year the standard will have been with us for a decade, but before it celebrates its 10th birthday it’s had a revamp. In January 2017 the revised standard was published by BSI, we’ve had a good look at the new document and while it remains broadly similar to its previous incarnation we thought we’d share some of the more salient changes; 

  • A brand new flow chart is introduced which aligns fire safety design stages alongside that of the RIBA plan of works
  • Management section has been rewritten with now only two levels,  Enhanced (Level 1) and Adequate (Level 2)
  • The definition of atrium has been revised so that the precautions contained within Annex B only need be applied if the void passes through a compartment floor. This change brings the guidance in line with the recommendations within Approved Document B
  • Inclusion of Watermist fire suppressions systems
  • Table 3 (Fire growth rates) has been expanded to give a more in depth description and examples, greater focus is given to manner in which the fire load is distributed
  • Revised equation(s) for calculation of merging flows
  • Revised guidance/examples of floor space factors (Table 9)
  • New concept that limits the occupancy capacity of doors with an effective clear width less than 1050mm
  • Revised guidance on natural smoke ventilation within atria
  • Revised guidance of shopping centre design

 Approved Design have been working with 9999 since its publication back in 2008 and have a great understanding of the supporting principles behind the guidance and expertise in the nuances of its application to many building types.  Above are just some of the changes contained within the revised guide, for more information about these changes and others or to better understand how BS 9999 could be applied to your project please get touch with a member of the team.