Fire protection engineering covers all the building systems that extinguish the fire and remove smoke, including complementary functions like detection, alarms and fire department communication. Many building systems cause inconvenience or discomfort when they malfunction, but with fire protection, there is zero tolerance for failure – the material and human consequences of uncontrolled fire can be severe.
Even if a building does not suffer a fire incident during its entire service life, there are many solid reasons to have well-designed fire protection systems:
- The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and local authorities establish stringent performance requirements for fire protection systems. If a project design does not have code-compliant fire protection, the owner cannot get a construction permit.
- Insurance companies normally offer better conditions for buildings with reliable fire protection. The long-term savings from insurance payments can be significant.
- If a building includes residential and commercial spaces for rent, fire protection measures can make them more attractive for potential tenants.
Fire protection system may seem expensive, but their price is minimal compared with the impact of an uncontrolled fire. In other words, if these measures prevent one major fire, you will have recovered the investment.
Avoiding Project Delays with Fire Protection Engineering
Changes in buildings projects normally cause delays, and this applies to both design and construction. In particular, real estate developers are strongly affected by this, since they have to wait longer before they can start charging rent.
A common cause of project delays is having to change design documents that don’t meet building codes. Fire protection engineering is subject to some of the most demanding codes, but you can prevent design errors by working with a qualified engineering company.
Experienced design engineers can help you achieve a swift project approval. They can also collaborate as supervisors during the construction process, avoiding installation errors and expensive corrections.
A property without fire protection measures can be reduced to ruins in a matter of hours, and occupants can be trapped inside by the flames and building damage. This is why NFPA standards are so stringent in their requirements.
The business case for a new construction project is based on the assumption that it will have a reasonable service life, and buildings are expected to last for decades. However, fire damage can lead to expensive reparations and legal consequences. Thus, a building with reliable fire protection systems can be considered a safer investment.
Insurance companies offer excellent conditions if your building is well protected since there is a lower chance that you will file insurance claims for fire damage. In addition to having a safe building, you can get better coverage in the unlikely event of major fire damage.
Residential and commercial tenants are normally aware of fire risks, and a property that includes fire detectors, alarms, and automatic sprinklers gives them confidence. In other words, fire protection engineering not only makes your property safer, but also offers a marketing advantage.