External Wall Fire Spread – Coursework Example

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The paper "External Wall Fire Spread" is an exceptional example of term paper on engineering and construction. The main aim of safety in a building is to facilitate the relocation of the occupants in case of an emergency such as fires. Adjacent buildings need adequate space separation that usually meets the standards set in fire safety building regulations. The external wall can provide sufficient fire resistance from one building to another taking into account its height. Some regulations which address fire safety include BR 187, Bs 9999, approved document B, etc.

The risk of fire spread between adjacent buildings may not be eradicated completely, but the objective of calculating adequate separation distance between buildings is to make sure that the fire ignition in one building is delayed from spreading to the adjacent building to allow fire service to arrive and prevent the fire spread (Muckett and Furness, 2007). To ensure the safety of the occupants in case of an emergency such as fire, design standards, and codes have to be followed. The codes set out minimum requirements for the protection of the occupants and the contents in the building.

The correct building materials used to minimize the fire ignition, the rate of fire spread, and establish safe separation distances between adjacent buildings (Great Britain, 2006). The standards set out the requirements for the construction materials and building layout for various building types. It covers fire safety, precautions, prevention and the required procedures to prevent fire spread. The prevention deals with the prevention of the fire ignition to the spreading to adjacent areas. Functional requirements of external fire spread and space separation The requirements for space separation and exterior spread of fire are set out in the rule B4 of the building regulations.

It requires that the building’ s external walls should effectively resist fire spread over the walls and from one building to the adjacent buildings, taking into account the position, the use, and the height of the building. The provision also requires the roofing of the building to be resistant to fire spread over the roof and from one building to the adjacent buildings, considering the position and the use of the building (Great Britain, 2006). The possibility of fire spread between adjacent buildings depends on: The separation of the buildings The intensity and size of the ignited fire. Fire protection provided on each side The potential risk of occupants in adjacent buildings. Thus the provision requires the construction of the external elevation to minimize the risk of fire spread to other buildings.

This is made possible through the provisions of the excepted distance between the building walls and the boundaries depending on the extent of the unprotected area in the faç ade (Muckett and Furness, 2007; Great Britain, 2006). Section 13 of the approved document B4 provides guidance on external wall fire resistance and to minimize the likelihood of the ignition and the spread of fire on the external wall.

Flammable materials are required to be limited to 1m from the boundary for some buildings. Section 14 provides for limited openings and unprotected places so as to minimize the spread of fire through radiation. Flammable cladding is taken to be unprotected and must be minimized considering the boundary distance. In order to prevent the spread of fire between adjacent buildings on both sides of the boundary, B4 requires the following actions to be carried out (Great Britain, 2006).


Carlsson, E., & Lunds universitet. (1999). External fire spread to adjoining buildings: A review of fire safety design guidance and related research. Lund: Lunds universitet.

Building regulation, 2000, vol. 1, 46, section 9

External fire spread: Building separation and boundary distances: Fire Research Station. (2007). Bracknell: IHS BRE Press.

Great Britain. (2006). Approved document J: 2002 edition: Guidance and supplementary information on the UK implementation of European standards for chimneys and flues. London: TSO.

Read, R. E. H., & Fire Research Station. (1991). External fire spread: building separation and boundary distances. Fire Research Station, Building Research Establishment.

Muckett M., Furness A., 2007. Introduction to Fire Safety Management, Routledge,

Read, R. E. H., & Construction Research Communications. (1999). External fire spread: Building separation and boundary distances. Watford: Construction Research Communications.

Stephenson J., 2001. Building Regulations Explained: 2000 Revision, Taylor & Francis,

Great Britain., Wales., & Great Britain. (2006). Building regulations and fire safety: Procedural guidance. Norwich: Stationery Office.

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