Review of the fire safety in commercial buildings

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Review of the fire safety in commercial buildings


Author: Leung, Wai-yip
Title: Review of the fire safety in commercial buildings
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 1999
Subject: Commercial buildings -- Fires and fire prevention -- China -- Hong Kong
Fire prevention -- China -- Hong Kong
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Multi-disciplinary Studies
Dept. of Building Services Engineering
Pages: x, 67, [117] leaves : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
Abstract: Building fire safety encompasses many issues. It achieves a multiple functions of fire prevention, ignition, fire growth and spread, smoke control, fire detection, suppression and limitation, evacuation and rescue. The analysis of building fire safety is as complicated as the physical processes of building fires. Hong Kong is a metropolitan city with more than one thousand commercial buildings. After the disastrous fire on Garley Building 1996, the public began to pay more attention to fire safety in commercial buildings. Government of the HKSAR therefore introduced a new ordinance, Fire Safety (Commercial Premises) Ordinance, and set up a funding for loan to building owners to improve the fire services installation for old type commercial buildings. In order to have substantial data and information, consent was given by a renowned property developer for taking the building data of three class A commercial buildings for the purpose of compiling this dissertation. The criterion of fire safety standard and management of these buildings were reviewed. This dissertation also aims to studying the current practice of fire safety aspects of commercial buildings in Hong Kong. A survey of the above-mentioned buildings was carried out to evaluate the actual design criteria and the application of code of practice on building fire safety in commercial buildings. Results revealed that the fire safety standard in current practice is adequate but room for improvements are identified. Recommendations are therefore made for future design considerations based on the findings. It was also recommended that refuge room for the disabled shall be constructed on each floor of commercial building and legislation for application of intumescent coating for lift doors and lateral clearance in fire damper. Two considerations are also necessary for designing the fire protection systems in curtain wall type commercial buildings. They are (i) Unique exhaust air duct for gas released fixed fire protection system and (ii) Drain valve for sprinkler system at each floor to facilitate the refilling of fire water. Based on the survey result and findings, it was found that "Prescriptive" approach is generally applied to the fire system design in commercial buildings of Hong Kong. However, some drawbacks were observed by using this method and most developed countries are using another approach called "Performance-Based" approach. This approach was considered as being more cost-effective, more flexible in design and can achieve a measurable and consistent level of safety.

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