The Enforcement Workstream of the Fire Sector Federation has released for open consultation a draft document on Compartmentation in Shops.
The document aims to to assist designers to meet the functional requirements of the building regulations and to demonstrate compliance with the Fire Safety Order. It is also recommends that building control bodies and fire & rescue services may use this guidance when assessing designs that are not deemed to be strictly code compliant, to help them achieve a consistent interpretation and implementation of the Building Regulations and Fire Safety Order.
Compartmentation in Shops explains that the current guidance contained in the latest edition of Approved Document B (ADB) Volume 2 recommends limiting the compartment size of single-storey shops to a maximum of 2,000m²; however, where sprinklers are provided there is no compartment size limit.
The Guide explains that because goods need to be accessible to customers, a volumetric figure was not used in ADB for shops as it was assumed that the height of stored goods would be low level. However, it suggests that shops have now evolved and low level fire loading is not always the case. It recommends that where fire loading will exceed a height of 4m above floor level, this should be justified in the fire strategy unless an appropriate fire suppression system is installed.
The document also discusses extensions to existing stores; alternative approaches to meeting the requirements of the Building Regulations; the installation of life safety systems; and provides advice on consultations between building control bodies and fire & rescue authorities and the potential impact of the Fire Safety Order.
The document will be out for open consultation for a three month period. Comments are invited from any interested organisations or individuals on the text, suggested additional text or on the document as a whole.
All comments must be returned to the Fire Sector Federation by 10 June 2016.