The City of Johannesburg has announced an ambitious plan to convert 500 dilapidated buildings into affordable accommodation over a two-year period to stem a critical housing shortage. However, repurposing or adapting older buildings poses unique challenges in terms of fire-safety requirements, according to ASP Fire CEO Michael van Niekerk.
Businesses that experience significant damage due to fire â such as the loss of warehousing space, equipment, or stockholding â struggle to regain their competitive advantage. This is why it is critical for all businesses to ensure that they have adequate fire-safety measures in place, ASP Fire CEO Michael van Niekerk argues.
A discussion about the fire that broke out at the University of Stellenbosch residence, here to unpack the incidence is ASP Fire CEO Michael van Niekerk, also known as the fire safety expert. Michael says the fire broke out on the top floor, the investigation into the fire is ongoing and nobody was injured despite there being some property loss. Michael gives tips on how to prevent such fires.
Fire-safety requirements for student accommodation are by nature more onerous than other building types. This warning from ASP Fire CEO Michael van Niekerk comes in the wake of the fire that gutted the iconic Huis ten Bosch student residence at Stellenbosch University on the evening of 12 August. Although 160 students had to be evacuated and two were injured, fortunately there were no fatalities.
Repurposing shipping containers for residential dwellings is a new trend in Cape Town. However, it is important to note that so-called container homes still need to comply with all building and fire-safety regulations, in addition to the architectural plans receiving council approval prior to construction.
From concentrated solar power (CSP) systems to oil-seed extraction plants, printing plants, and even explosives manufacturing facilities, fire engineering specialist ASP Fire offers a range of solutions for highly hazardous environments.
Buildings that accommodate large numbers of the public are often not designed with specific occupant characteristics in mind. Shoppers are often unfamiliar with the layout of the emergency escape paths and are unaware of sounding fire alarms and other emergency systems.
Automatic sprinklers and smoke-control ventilation systems are not incongruous. However, they must be designed explicitly with each other in mind when approaching a fire-safety system design for a building.
The qualitative review under rational design includes an architectural review, fire-safety objectives, fire hazards and risks, trial fire-safety designs, and worst-case fire scenarios for analysis. For example, consultants often ignore the building roofâs geometry, and the required substitute rectangular volume used in smoke-fill formulae.
Back-up power supply such as gensets becomes critical during load shedding. It is important that such important equipment is maintained properly and serviced regularly in order to be able to cope with extended electricity outages.