Promoting Fire Safety in Heritage Buildings and Establishments

13 March 2020

Heritage building and establishments are a hodgepodge of old documents, precious artwork and impeccable craftsmanship. As observed, these premises boast of preserving the ambiance and appearance of the era it represents – resulting into a mesmerising atmosphere of history. The items found in these buildings and establishments are priceless yet they do not remain immune to the hazards of fire damages. Below are ways of promoting fire safety in heritage buildings and establishments.

Incorporating Fire-Suppression Equipment

In order to protect historic buildings, sometimes structural engineers, preservation specialists and the building managers must get involved in addition to the fire protection experts.  Together, they must design a solution that must comply with fire safety standards without ruining the historic character of a building.  For example, a historic door cannot be replaced with a fire-proof door; however installing sprinklers on either side of the door may be the answer.

Adapting Equipment to Building Needs and Aesthetic

Ideally, fire protection systems must sufficiently protect a building but remain aesthetically pleasing.  For example in this case wherein a fire sprinkler is equipped, one common cause of concern is the possibility that not only do fire sprinklers damage a building’s contents, but they can deface the historic structure. However, there are ways to address this. One is the use of copper tubing instead of black or steel pipe to blend in with the building’s architecture. Faux materials can also be used that resemble the buildings time period to conceal fire sprinkler pipes. You could also install painted fire sprinkler heads to match the area.

Another form of hidden fire protection commonly used in historic buildings is the use of wireless fire alarms.  Wireless alarms are an ideal, minimally invasive solution when needing to preserve the look and feel of a building.  Wireless alarm monitoring provides faster response, no cables are required for installation and they eliminate false alarms, which can be costly for non-profit buildings.

Updating Outdated Utilities

Many historic facilities have poor water pressure.  This renders a fire sprinkler upgrade useless unless an underground line, additional line, or fire pump is installed. Regardless of the fire protection systems installed, working to minimise the ignition of a fire should be a priority.  Scheduling fire safety inspections annually is important to maintain a safe environment for the building and its occupants.

Know more about how to promote fire safety in heritage buildings and establishments. We here at Key Compliance are established to specifically assist owners and property or asset managers in fire risk assessments and address fire safety issues in properties. We are an independent fire safety and compliance consultancy servicing the property industry. Our objective is to conduct fire safety inspections and to work with owners and managers to mitigate the fire risk in achieving and maintaining essential services compliance.