Spate of high-profile building fires highlights role of rational design

7 September 2018
A recent spate of high-profile fires has highlighted the need for rational design of performance-based fire-safety systems, according to ASP Fire CEO Michael van Niekerk.

On 4 September, a devastating fire ripped through the Hilton Court apartments in Eastleigh, while on the same day the Heartfelt Arena in Thaba Tshwane in Pretoria was damaged extensively after a fire broke out. The following day there was a deadly blaze at the Gauteng Health Department building in the Johannesburg CBD.

It is important to highlight that all buildings in South Africa need to comply with the requirements of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act, 1977 (Act No. 103 of 1977), Fire Protection, as set out in SANS 10400 Part T: 2011, points out van Niekerk.

“Rational design takes into account the behaviour of a building during a fire, meaning the structure must be designed accordingly, thereby minimising any potentially devastating impact,” van Niekerk explains.

A rational design is the performance-based design of fire safety and prevention mechanisms and strategies in a building in order to provide the same or better fire safety levels as prescribed in the National Building Regulations.

A rational design commences with a fire-risk consultant such as ASP Fire visiting the premises, or reviewing a set of new building plans, to undertake a comprehensive evaluation of all areas of the property to inspect all areas of fire safety and risk in detail.

Correct and proper fire-engineering principles are applied to ensure that the design complies with the life, building, fire behavioural, and environmental fire-safety objectives as required by law. According to Van Niekerk, the three main causes of fire are electrical, arson, and heating equipment.

Upon completion of the fire-risk assessment and drafting the rational design report, ASP Fire provides the client with practical actions to implement. The report comprises a detailed and documented objective fire-risk assessment, as well as fire-engineering calculations and analysis where required, covering all aspects of fire risk and safety.

“This guides the client in protecting its business, employees, and customers by providing prioritised recommendations for action, in order to rectify problem areas and strengthen existing fire-safety procedures. This also ensures that the client complies with fire-safety regulations for the protection of life, property, and the environment,” van Niekerk elaborates.

As part of its value-added service, ASP Fire also works closely with insurance brokers and underwriters to address a client’s fire risk based on the outcomes of the fire-safety risk assessment report. This assists in preventing damage to property and products, loss of life, financial loss, consequential loss of profit, loss of productivity, and insurance repercussions.

Ends

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Notes to the Editor
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About ASP Fire
ASP Fire operates across the entire African continent from its Gauteng base, providing professional, accredited fire risk management and support to its clients. ASP Fire designs, installs and maintains a full range of fire detection and suppression equipment suited to clients’ needs. ASP Fire provides a holistic, proactive and preventative fire solution based on integrated fire risk assessment, training and consulting, with the installation and maintenance of fire detection and suppression systems that meet SABS, NFPA, FPASA, FDIA and SAQCC standards.

ASP Fire Contact
Michael van Niekerk
ASP Fire CEO
Phone: +27 (0) 11 452 2169
Cell: +27 (0) 83 779 1701
Fax: +27 (0) 86 505 1030
Email: michael [at] aspfire [dot] co [dot] za
Web: www.aspfire.co.za

Media Contact
Nomvelo Buthelezi
NGAGE Public Relations
Phone: (011) 867-7763
Fax: 086 512 3352
Cell: 083 4088 911
Email: nomvelo [at] ngage [dot] co [dot] za
Web: www.ngage.co.za

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