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What is this standard about?
This is the 'go-to' document for fire safety engineering (FSE) in the UK. It provides a framework for an engineering approach to the fire safety of buildings, giving recommendations and guidance on applying scientific and engineering principles to the protection of people, property and the environment from fire. It applies to the design of new buildings and the appraisal of existing buildings.
Who is this standard for?
Primary users will be fire safety engineering practitioners. Other users include:
- Members of the fire and rescue service
- Structural engineers
- Government departments such as the Ministry of Defence
- Universities (for teaching and research)
- Related industries such as insurers and systems engineers
Why should you use this standard?
The general approach to fire safety engineering (FSE) described in the standard can be applied to all types and uses of buildings or to facilities such as tunnels and process plants.
When correctly implemented, its recommendations will help preserve life in an emergency situation and ensure the protection of buildings themselves.
The standard can be applied to new or to existing buildings to show that regulatory requirements can be met.
The intention is that BS 7974 is applied in three main stages:
- Qualitative design review (QDR): the scope and objectives of the fire safety design are defined, performance criteria established and one or more potential design solutions proposed
- Quantitative analysis: engineering methods are used to evaluate the potential solutions identified in the QDR
- Assessment against criteria: the output of the quantitative analysis is compared to the acceptance criteria identified in the QDR
The standard provides guidance on these procedures, while sub-systems in a series of accompanying Published Documents (PDs) provide data and analytical methods for tackling the relevant quantitative analysis, and advice on acceptance criteria and suitable design approaches.
NOTE: The risks associated with installations used for the bulk processing of explosives or flammable liquids and gases necessitate special consideration which is beyond the scope of BS 7974 and its supporting documents.