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The original British Standard for fire safety engineering, BS 7974, was published in 2001. It has been supplemented by a series of later guidance documents: PD 7974-1 to 8*, covering each subsystem of application in greater detail.
As British Standards points out, the fire and construction industry sector, working practices and the regulatory framework have seen major changes since 2001, as well as new research, all of which prompted an update to the guidance framework. As a result, BSI has revised the 2001 edition of BS 7974 and has published a new version, BS 7974:2019 – Application of fire safety engineering principles to the design of buildings. The principal changes include:
• the incorporation of recommendations previously contained in PD 7974-0:2002 and PD 7974-8:2012
• a greater emphasis on the competence of the fire safety engineer
• additional recommendations for the quality assurance and verification of fire safety engineering reports
• the terminology has been simplified and consolidated. The underlying process of fire safety engineering based on the qualitative design review has not changed, but every effort has been made to ensure that the terms used to describe that process are consistent throughout the standard.
BSI says the standard sets out a reporting methodology which allows for a design to be readily assessed by approval bodies. It is intended to facilitate the practice of fire safety engineering and in particular to:
• provide the designer with a disciplined approach to fire safety design
• allow the safety levels for alternative designs to be compared
• provide a basis for selection of appropriate fire protection systems
• provide opportunities for innovative design
• provide information and assessment methods to support the design, construction, management and operation of buildings.
Ant Burd, Head of Built Environment at BSI, said: “As the demand for better and more innovative building design grows, the safety and protection of people, along with the asset itself, from fire remains of paramount importance. Based upon scientific and engineering insight this framework allows for a range of alternative and complementary fire protection strategies that enable all of the design objectives to still be fulfilled safely.”
BS 7974:2019 Application of fire safety engineering principles to the design of buildings, is a significant revision of the existing British standard BS 7974 published in 2001. More on the revised standard at the BSI website.