FSF develops AFD guidance for sheltered housing
The Technical Guidance Workstream of the Fire Sector Federation is developing a document to clarify the expectations for fire detection and alarm systems in sheltered housing.
Bringing together a wide cross section of the fire industry in its development – including the Fire Industry Association (FIA) and the National Social Housing Fire Strategy Group (NSHFSG) – the FSF hopes the guidance will aid understanding within the housing and fire safety sectors.
The document aims to expand upon existing guidance, such as that contained in Approved Document B Volume 1 – dwellinghouses and BS 9991: 2011: Fire safety in the design, management and use of residential buildings. Using case studies, the document aims to clarify how a risk-assessed approach to fire safety should be applied and how existing standards for fire detection and alarm can be used to reduce the risks that are identified.
It aims to explain the complexities of providing residential accommodation for older people, to enable the fire industry to understand the risk; and the technicalities of fire detection and alarm, so that the housing industry can gain an understanding of available solutions.
Workstream Chair Dave Sibert explains:
“A number of years ago, it was accepted practice in the fire safety industry to categorise accommodation used by older people as: general needs accommodation (private/rented houses flats etc); sheltered housing; care homes; and nursing homes.
“Today, as the number of older people in society has increased, those categories have been more finely divided into different types of accommodation that address quite specific needs of particular sections of the older population.
“Unfortunately, in general, the fire safety industry has not adapted to this change in accommodation provision and has largely continued to recognise only four different approaches.”
He explains that has caused confusion amongst fire safety professionals who have to specify and install equipment in buildings, and for the fire safety enforcement officers who have to assess whether or not fire safety provisions are adequate.
“It causes even greater confusion for those in the housing sector who want to provide fire safe buildings but they can’t find clear advice in any guidance and they are given a different interpretation by almost everyone they speak to in the fire industry,” he declares.
The FSF is seeking views from across the sector and will release the document for public consultation on completion.