Safety for persons in buildings is of fundamental importance to all that design, manage and operate buildings. With fire safety, not only the safety of people using the building is important, also the safety of the fire-fighters has to be considered. However, compliance with fire regulations need not mean the sacrifice of vision, innovation, imagination and budget.
Moreover, bringing fires under control and thus creating repressive possibilities are important elements.
Peutz & Associés has gained extensive experience, in small and specialist projects as well as in large complex projects, in assessing and advising with regard to fire safety. To carry out the necessary calculations, Peutz & Associés use specifically designed software, some of which has been developed by the company itself. Other data is obtained by tests, on site tests as well as laboratory tests.
We advise fire safety precautions in the field of evacuation, smoke- and fire partitions and control of fire and smoke. The precautions can involve constructional provisions, but also installations. In addition, Peutz conducts research on different aspects of fire safety.
Fire is unpredictable. A situation may seem simple, the events in a fire often are unexpectedly complex. Therefore, the theory is not always reliable. Tests can give a good insight as to what happens during a fire. They can take place in a laboratory or in the field.
Peutz has a fire laboratory at its disposal. Here the fire resistance of constructions can be tested.
A fire test in the field can be executed when computational models fail or in order to verify the results of computational studies. Peutz executes fire tests in order to assess the smoke distribution in certain situations, to gain insight in the risk of fire spreading and to test fire safety precautions. An example is a test in a parking garage where the smoke distribution is determined by means of a test fire and an actual car set on fire.
Heat and smoke distribution
In an early (design) stage of a building development, heat and smoke distribution can be assessed by using CFD models. We can obtain an extensive 3-dimensional image, taking into account influences like mechanical and/or natural smoke exhaust. We can make a well founded prediction about/of sight lines, time in which the space will be too hot or filled with smoke and the related possibilities for fire fighters to locate and fight the fire.
Especially in buildings with complex exit routes, large seating areas or high occupation, evacuation simulations can provide a powerful instrument to assess bottlenecks and design safe evacuation possibilities. The software used by Peutz & Associés not only simulates an evacuation, but also simulates the influences of loss of sight, air pollution by smoke and heat. Thus, we can design a combination of provisions to avoid casualties in case of fire.
Several types of installations are in use to provide greater fire safety. The best known of these is probably the fire sprinkler installation, other well known installations are fire alarm and evacuation systems. Peutz & Associés has the knowledge and experience to incorporate those installations in the design to provide a safe solution and possibly to create different solutions.
Smoke- and heat exhaust installation
Large buildings often are provided with one or more atria. In a number of cases, evacuation must take place through these atria. When a fire breaks out in the atrium or in an adjoining space, the atrium will gradually be filled with smoke. The corridors will then be of no use for evacuation, because the smoke concentrations are too high. In addition, the rising temperature causes an increasing risk to spontaneous ignition (flash-over) of the materials in the atrium. The same problems can occur in other high spaces, like for instance industrial halls.
In these cases, a smoke- and heat exhaust installation can provide a solution. When a fire is detected in a room, these installations open intakes below the layer of smoke, and outlets in the top of the room in order to remove the hot smoke.
In order to determine the time within which the space or the corridors in an atrium will be filled with smoke and the temperature of the smoke layer, we can make a CFD model or a calculation, based on a conservative linear model. By calculating different situations, the optimal smoke- and heat exhaust installation can be dimensioned.