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How BIM Can Aid Fire Safety Compliance

Building information modelling, or BIM as it is known, provides an effective means for architects and engineers to share their vision and plans with clients and construction crews. It is the holistic process of managing and creating information to produce a digital representation of an asset, from the initial planning and design to building management after handover. Intelligent up-to-date information is accessible to all approved parties and is available throughout the life cycle of the building.

 

From initial surveyor involvement to demonstrating the progress of a build via 3D renders or walkthroughs, BIM gives the ability to identify clashes and allow for a more cost-effective installation. BIM also brings many advantages to the design and positioning of a new build. Choosing a company like The CAD Room that specialises in offering a complete BIM service could benefit when it comes to ensuring fire safety compliance. Having developed and implemented procedures that provide the necessary resources to any size BIM project, including fire protection services, such companies could also save time and costs when completing a project.

Government approval

The UK government has pledged their commitment to having collaborative BIM on future public sector projects. Their implementation and that of significant contractors means there is a growing need for architects and engineers to understand its impact, uses, and the benefits that incorporating BIM can bring. One such area is fire safety, identifying the best design for the critical structures and layout of the building, as well as siting equipment and safety features.

No building is ever designed with the expectation of tragedy. Still, there is an expectation that a building is intended to be the safest possible during a fire break out. Exit routes, internal layouts, fire doors, and staircases facilitate the quick and easy evacuation of a building.

BIM helps architects and service providers

To effectively plan fire safety measures within a building, it is essential to identify the size, layout, use and typical occupancy expected. For a new build, determining the most effective use of space and measures that should be taken to avoid human risk can be done as part of the initial design and amendments made easily using BIM. BIM can also identify retrofit possibilities for some measures on a completed building to maximise safety and reduce concerns.

BIM will identify the suitable placement of high-capacity escape routes to minimise human risk to the building occupants and the fire crews with the difficult task of tackling the fire whilst evacuating people and limiting the fire spread. Essential requirements include placement of safety doors, fire sprinklers and equipment to limit fire spread whilst enabling occupants to leave the building quickly and safely. The integrity of the building must make this possible.

BIM from a 3D perspective enables this spatial planning and helps keep projects on time and budget.

Ongoing safety compliance

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 sets out the responsibilities for ongoing safety compliance after the building construction is completed. The responsibility for the completed building is generally passed to the building operator, including responsibility for the integrity of the fire safety measures. The commitment includes requirements to undertake detailed risk assessments regularly and routinely review exit routes and identify safe procedures. A 3D BIM model enables this to be done quickly and is beneficial when a new owner or occupier moves in or for a fire service to review when needed. BIM is recognised as a great place to store the data, where it can be accessed readily.

 

BIM models canabe updated in the office or on-site and from anywhere in the world. Any new information is easily added, enabling transparency and availability more readily to all those interested in the project or building than paper or previous methods allow. For this reason and those stated above, it is well worth considering.

the application of BIM to help with fire safety compliance.

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