Fire Safety Regulation, a comparative perspective, Ireland v Poland. Piotr Smardz

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1 Fire Safety Regulation, a comparative perspective, Ireland v Poland Piotr Smardz

2 Overview of the presentation Basic facts about Poland Fire statistics Fire and rescue service arrangement Building Law Regulation on construction and design professionals Fire safety regulations Technical regulations for new and altered buildings Examples of fire safety related technical requirements for buildings Implementation of the eurocodes Current issues and proposed legislative changes

3 Poland basic facts Population = 38 M (x 8.6 IRL) Area = 312,000 km 2 (x 4.5 IRL) Member of the EU since voievodships (provinces) 379 powiats (similar to counties) Large cities: Warsaw (capital), Cracow, Gdansk, Wrocław, Łódź, Poznań, Katowice Located on main transit routes east/west and north/south

4 FIRE STATISTICS RoI Poland UK Germany Fire deaths (2007) (2006) Fire deaths per 100,000 persons Cost of direct fire loses ( ) - 230M 1860M 3400M Total number of fires 34K (2007) 183K (2012) - - Source: World Fire Statistics 2010, F.I.A.I, PSP Recent large fires in Poland: 2012 Cosmetic wipes factory in Luban, 15,000 sqm building burnt completely 2009 Social accommodation building in Kamień Pomorski 21 dead, 20 injured 1994 Fire at concert in Gdansk (7 dead)

5 Fire and Rescue Service in Poland State Fire Brigade (Państwowa Straż Pożarna) formed after a major reform in 1992 Fire brigade headquarters in Warsaw, 16 regional headquarters (in all voievodships) and local commands in powiats Approx. 500 fire stations (full time) in all cities and towns of powiat status The country fire and rescue service system is supplemented with volunteer fire brigades in small towns and villages (approx. 3800) Fire brigade prevention officers involved in control of high hazard (SEVESO) industrial sites, final inspections during commissioning of large buildings, approval process for non-compliant designs etc. Involved in the process of approving, nominating and supervising of fire experts (of whom later)

6 Legal aspects Building Law In Poland the Building Law (Act) covers the scope of both the Building Regulations and the Building Control Regulations Fundamental requirements for building design such as structural safety, fire safety, hygiene etc. are referred to but not defined in detail Detailed requirements are set out in several acts (e.g. Technical Requirements for Buildings Act) issued by the relevant ministries The stakeholders in the building design and construction process are named (the investor, the investor s supervision inspector, the designer and the site manager) and their responsibilities defined All stakeholders except investor must hold a valid building license The procedure for preparing and executing construction works is defined (the required documents, permits etc.) The Act also defines the role of the local government institutions and building control bodies in approval process

7 Regulation of construction and design professions The system is based on the concept of an independent construction professional i.e. a person with ability to analyze and solve technical problems relevant to the construction process. This concept applies to designers (i.e. architects, structural and civil engineers, M&E engineers) and well as investor s inspectors and site managers. The main requirements are qualifications and professional experience After the required period of professional experience (3-4 years) the candidate must pass an exam In order to maintain a valid license all professionals must be members of the relevant chambers which are self-governed but operate in the legal framework set-out be the state. The membership includes a nominal professional indemnity insurance. Separate regulations introduce a role of a Fire expert who is a professional authorized to review building designs with respect to fire safety requirements

8 Fire Safety Experts Their main role is to review building designs prepared by architects with respect to fire safety requirements and regulations. This process is compulsory for most large / public use buildings They also undertake technical reviews of existing buildigns which are to be extended / altered if those building can not comply with the current technical requirements for fire safety Mainly former fire brigade officers 5 year professional experience is required Candidates must pass a written and oral exam Fire safety experts are supervised by the State Fire Brigade The main area of expertize is fire safety regulations. These fire experts should not be confused with Fire Safety Engineers

9 Technical Requirements relevant to fire safety The Technical Requirements for Buildings have the status of a ministerial act so they are in fact the law and must be fully complied with. A special exemption is require if the designer wants to deviate from the fire safety requirements which are mainly prescriptive Fire safety requirements are also subject of separate acts (eg. The Fire Safety of Buildings Act, The Fire Access Routes and Water Supply Act etc.) Some of those acts apply to existing buildings. However, an alternative route procedure is available in this case. The requirements cover fire resistance of elements of structure, fire compartmentation, means of escape, internal linings and permanent fittings, fire safety of building installations, separation between buildings, fire safety requirements for car parks, agricultural buildings and temporary buildings

10 Technical Requirements - Fire Resistance Five fire resistance classes of buildings are defined (A to E) For industrial and storage buildings the required class depends on the height / no. of storeys as well as the average fire load density expected in the building For other buildings (i.e. public use and residential) the fire resistance class depends on the nature of the building (residential / nonresidential, number of occupants unfamiliar with the building) as well as building height For the highest fire resistance class A the requirements are very onerous, including R240 fire rating for the main loadbearing elements. Examples: high-rise office buildings and hotels, multi-storey industrial buildings with average fire load density exceeding 4000 MJ/m 2 In the lowest fire resistance class E there are no requirements for fire rating of the elements of structure. Examples: single-storey storage and industrial buildings with low fire load density

11 Technical Requirements - Compartmentation For industrial and storage buildings the maximum allowed floor area of a fire compartment depends on the height / no. of storeys, the average fire load density expected in the building and the presence of explosion-risk zones within the compartment For other buildings (i.e. public use and residential) the maximum allowed floor area of a fire compartment depends on the nature of the building (persons with limited mobility / other) as well as building height. Compartment floor areas can be increased by 50%-100% if an automatic smoke removal system is provided and/or by 100% if an automatic water-based fire suppression system is provided In single storey industrial and storage buildings there is no limitation on the compartment size if both smoke removal and water-based fire suppression systems are provided

12 Technical Requirements - Industrial/storage bildings Requirements for single-storey industrial and storage buildings with no explosion-risk zones: Average fire load density Q [MJ/m2] < >4000 Fire resistance class Maximum compartment size [m 2 ] E D C B A 20,000 15,000 8,000 4,000 2,000 Fire resistance class can be lowered to E if an automatic smoke removal system or a water-based fire suppression system is provided If explosion risk is present the allowed maximum compartment sizes are 40-50% of the above values.

13 Technical Requirements - Industrial/storage bildings Approach based on expected fire load density seems be more factbased than simple normal risk / high risk distinction However, this approach does not deal with the issue of how quickly the fire can grow. High fire load density does not necessarily mean rapid fire growth and vice-versa. The average fire load density may not reveal local areas of high fire load (i.e. a high-rack storage area in a production plant) Declared values often exceeded by users

14 Technical Requirements - Means of escape Basic concepts i.e. requirements for exit widths, limitations on travel distances, protection of vertical escape routes are similar to the Irish requirements. There are however some significant differences: Travel distances can be extended for rooms over 5 m in height as well as spaces protected with a smoke control system and/or sprinkler system. TD of up to 100 m are allowed in industrial buildings! Travel distance is divided in to the unprotected part (rooms and general areas) and the protected part (corridors/stariways) Inner-inner rooms are allowed! There are no requirements with respect to internal layout of apartments (bedrooms can be inner rooms) Stairways in buildings exceeding 25 m in height must be protected with a pressure differential system.

15 Implementation of the Eurocodes Since 2009 the European structural design codes (the Eurocodes) are referred to in the Technical Requirements Act and they can be legally used as design basis for structural design of buildings All fire-related parts are now translated into Polish so theoretically there is no obstacle in their widespread adoption and use Unfortunately the structural engineers seem reluctant to start using the Eurocodes in general, they also have very limited knowledge of structural fire behaviour problems, as this topic is generally ignored be most Civil Engineering Departments in Technical Universities The National Annexes are also of little help

16 Fire Safety Regulations Define the responsibilities of building owners / users as well activities which are dangerous from the fire safety point of view and therefore prohibited Set-out rules for storage of fire-risk materials (e.g. combustible gases, liquid fuels with ignition temperature of less than 55 o C etc.) Define requirements for ensuring safe evacuation conditions on escape routes Provide requirements for provision of automatic fire detection and alarm system, voice evacuation systems, sprinkler protection and fire extinguishers Provide requirements for hose reels installations, wet risers etc. Set out rules for hot-work and explosion risk assessments

17 Current problems and debates Implementing the European legislation (directives) Reform of the Technical Regulations pertaining to Fire Safety in order to allow performance based design Upgrading of the technical and fire safety regulations to better reflect current architectural trends and construction practices and to deliver value for money Rethinking the role of the State Fire Service (PSP) in the building control process

18 THANK YOU

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