Structural Fire Protection in Buildings
Regulations and laws, with which the hazards caused by fires are to be kept as small as possible, form an important basis of the German building legislation. It is not without reason that § 14 of the Model Building Code (Fire Protection) states: Buildings and structures shall be arranged, erected, modified and maintained so that the development of a fire and the spread of fire and smoke (fire propagation) is prevented and in the event of a fire, the rescue of people and animals as well as effective firefighting operations are possible.
Preventive fire protection and protecting escape routes are particularly important wherever lots of people gather together. This is naturally particularly true in buildings with many storeys or in facilities where people are more difficult to evacuate, e.g. because of illness.
Separation of building services engineering on escape routes
Technical building equipment (TGA); separation of fire and smoke sections
The main objective of preventive fire protection is the protection of people and thus securing escape and rescue routes.
A rescue route is a structural route, which people can use in the event of acute danger to get to safety or which allows them to be rescued with the help of others.
Rescue routes must be designed as a safe escape tunnel so that a building can be exited safely and evacuation is possible. This means: Escape routes must be kept free of fire and smoke for a certain period of time and additional fire must not be sparked by combustible material such as fire loads of electrical installations.
Maintenance of performance of electrical security systems
In the event of fire
Electrical wiring systems for safety-related systems and equipment must be designed so that they are protected against external fire and remain functional for a certain period of time in the event of a fire.
Both cables as well as distribution boards are components of electrical wiring systems. To achieve this end, fire protection housings and such are used to protect distribution boards from external fire.
Electrical Operating Rooms / Functional Units
Ensuring functional integrity
If electrical distribution boards are to be accommodated in separate rooms to ensure functional endurance, the Model Pipe and Cable System Guidelines (“Muster-Leitungsanlagen-Richtlinie” – MLAR) specify the following regarding verification:
For example, according to Section 5.2.2 Distribution boards for electrical wiring systems with functional endurance according to Section 5.3 shall be accommodated in separate rooms not used for other purposes, which are separated from other rooms by walls, ceilings and doors with a fire resistance corresponding to the necessary functional endurance period and – with the exception of doors – are made of non-combustible building materials.
Smoke extraction and smoke control
Smoke dampers for smoke protection pressure systems
According to building law, required corridors and stairwells must be usable for a sufficiently long period of time. The use must not be compromised by smoke. For this reason, smoke vents play an important role in fire protection concepts.
Safety stairwells are especially important security features when incorporated in fire safety concepts and rescue plans. They must be especially secure and are subject to special regulations. No smoke must penetrate safety stairwells at all.
This is the only way to ensure that the safety stairwells are usable at any time by both inhabitants of a building and emergency services.
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