THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BUILDING DESIGN AND FIRE SPREAD: HOW THE SHAPE, FORM AND FEATURES OF A BUILDING CAN INFLUENCE THE BEHAVIOUR OF FIRE


The research has the following objectives:

1. To assist the Inquiry by helping to determine and explain what went wrong at Grenfell;

2. To enable a greater understanding of how fire behaves and spreads on the exterior of high rise buildings, and develop a means of predicting this;

​3. To establish a set of principles based on Objective 2 which can be applied to architectural design;

4. To develop a safety assessment which can determine the likelihood and severity of external fires based on façade design, which will allow the fire risk to be fully assessed;


This research work began in direct response to the Grenfell Tower fire, to explore the influence that building shape, geometric form and architectural features have upon fire behaviour.  The significance of this study is its use in the design of high rise buildings, and if certain features are capable of facilitating the spread of fire, they can be eliminated at the design stage before construction even begins.  It is also necessary to raise awareness, especially as the issue of shape, form and features in relation to fire is something which is little recognised or understood within the building industry.  Although plenty of research has been carried out over the years into the behaviour of fire on edges, in corners and in trenches, there has been little - if any - attempt to apply this directly to buildings.  If certain shapes and materials are not compatible with each other and present a recognisable risk, then this should be dealt with at the design stage, whether it be for new buildings, retrospective alterations or refurbishments.

FMP ARCHITECTURE​, Northampton

IFSS STANDARDS SETTING COMMITTEE (see photo below):  This is taken at the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) HQ in London.  I am on  the left at the back.

FIRE SAFETY WORK.