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Practice Problems

A building fire commonly involves the loss of human lives and destruction of properties.

1. A building fire commonly involves the loss of human lives and destruction of properties.

(a) List the four strategies which are taken worldwide with a wish to achieve building fire safety.

(b) Choose any one of the four strategies from your answers in question 1(a) above to discuss how it is now taken in practice in Hong Kong to achieve fire safety.

2. The Building Regulations 2010 of the United Kingdom is a statutory instrument to ensure the policies set out in the Building Act to be carried out. There are a number of regulations which involve building safety and fire safety.

(a) Name the number of regulation in connection with fire safety.

(b) Where the requirements about fire safety in the Building Regulations 2010 are specified ?

(c) From the fire safety requirements of the answer in 2(b) above, choose any two aspects of requirements to discuss briefly.

3. A proposed building project of a sprinkler protected office building of 10 above-ground storeys is designed to provide adequate means of escape and such features follow the Code of Practice for Fire Safety in Buildings 2011.

For the proposed building, except the ground floor all the above-ground floor layouts are the same. Assume the areas for all 20 rooms(that is those rooms provided with doors) in a floor are the same and each of which occupies an usable floor area of 45 square metres. A typical floor layout of the project building is given in Figure 1 below.

(a) What are the required performance requirements for means of escape in the project building ?

(b) Give the maximum staircase separation and minimum staircase distance between the two staircases ?

(c) Estimate the exit widths for following conditions :

(i) from room

(ii) for the passage corridor in the exit route, and

(iii) for the two required staircase if they are designed of the same width

4. The floor area size and volume of a building greatly determines the fire safety in building in the event of fire. In a large size open area within a building, heat and smoke may spread uncontrolledly. The Hong Kong International Airport Terminal was designed with extremely large volumes for the arrival and departure halls without compartmentation. It extends greatly the travel distances from the arrival/departure halls to exits. This obviously contradicts the principle of fire protection.

(a) Discuss and justify by Island Concept to justify the large size design on the aspect of fire safety in the Hong Kong International Airport Terminal. Besides, discuss to use Cabin Concept in the fire safety design as mitigations to control heat and smoke in the event of fire in the arrival/departure halls.

(b) The length of an exit route(corridor) on a floor also greatly determines fire safety in building in the event of a fire. A longer exit route involves longer travelling distance and subsequently longer travelling time. Besides, heat and smoke will spread along the corridor to a long distance. The results are unfavorable for a safe fire escape nor for the control of fire spread. To control the risk from the long corridor, therefore, smoke doors are intermittently erected across the exit route to form small fire compartments along the corridor.

In a convalescent hospital(See Photo 1 below), the corridor connecting two patient wards at both ends of the corridor respectively is so long that smoke doors are erected across the corridor. However, to facilitate the transfer of patients on wheeled stretchers, the smoke doors in the corridor are normally made to remain open to allow the stretchers passing through unimpededly.

Quote the source from local building code to justify the smoke doors can be made to remain open and discuss how fire safety can still be maintained when heat and smoke travel along the corridor.

5. Fire accidents have a long history while the development of fire engineering science to become an independent engineering discipline has only a short history since last couples of decade. Discuss as many as possible to include the knowledge of various engineering disciplines that a fire practitioner may require to perform his function as a fire


Management "The fire safety is a fundamental consideration in a building's design and management, but often, it's overlooked. Some of the fire safety techniques are : 1. Providing adequate means of escape.2. Outlining clear pathways to exit doors :It is important to provide enough exits, getting to that exist and so specifying the maximum distance a person must travel in order to access ...

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