Development of a fixed firefighting system selection tool for improved outcomes
2014-01-27T13:34:22Z (GMT) by
The UK along with the European Union has experienced a recent proliferation in design approaches for potential fixed firefighting systems. Such systems are installed to mitigate fire hazards in buildings and equipment. In the UK, for example there were five general design approaches to fixed firefighting systems protection in 1986. This had increased to eleven in 2011. This is against the backdrop of the current non-prescriptive regulatory frameworks including the Building Regulations, the repeal of so-called ‘local acts’, the Regulatory (fire) Reform Order and associated guidance (Approved Documents, standards, codes of practice and guides). In response to this trend, as was intended, the market place is becoming increasingly competitive. However, the capability of each technology remains limited to protection against certain hazards, rather than offering a solution to guard against all possible scenarios. When selecting a fixed firefighting system, fire hazards and interactions can be difficult to assess and describe and the inequality or absence of satisfactory methods is notable in many recently published guidance documents. The absence of good quality guidance for non-expert practitioners (specifiers) and regulatory changes means a good quality source of impartial and expert knowledge is increasingly desirable. The challenge is to amass this knowledge and render it in an accessible format to the non-expert user. This paper reports on progress to-date; understanding the problem, amassing and structuring the knowledge base and developing a suitable knowledge management tool.