Standard for fire safety in commercial buildings revised

BSI, the business standards company, has revised BS 9999:2017 Fire safety in the design, management and use of buildings – Code of practice. The revised standard is intended to provide good practice to safeguard the lives of building occupants and fire-fighters. BS 9999 provides recommendations and guidance on the provision of measures to control or mitigate the effects of fire, including business continuity and the environment.

The primary objective of the standard is to ensure that a reasonable standard of life safety can be achieved in the event of fire in the building. The revised standard is applicable to the design of new buildings, and to material alterations, extensions and material change of use of an existing building.

BS 9999 has been revised to align the standard with current good practice, new technology, and consistency with other fire recently revised safety standards, namely BS 9990 and BS 9991. The main changes in BS 9999 over the standard it replaces are:

-       An inclusion of a flowchart showing the sequential steps in the design process, to       assist users in the application of the standard

-       Revised clause on fire safety management with references to PAS 7

-       Inclusion of watermist fire suppression systems

-       Expansion of the guidance on voice alarms

-       Expansion of fire growth rates table to provide more information

The revised standard also features updated recommendations for smoke and heat control; fire curtain barrier assemblies; mechanical ventilation and air-conditioning systems; shopping complexes; and ducting.

Users of this British Standard are likely to work within the design environment associated with a particular construction project governed by legislation, processes, constraints, programmes and deliverables that might vary dependent on premises type, location, client and regulatory requirements.

BS 9999 will be of use to architects; building managers; fire safety engineers; fire risk assessors; building control personnel; fire and rescue personnel; installers of fire and smoke alarms, sprinklers and smoke and heat control systems; and inspectorate for certification and installation schemes.

BS 9999 is not applicable to the following types of buildings, which are covered in BS 9991: dwellings (single-family dwelling houses, self-contained flats or maisonettes); and residential accommodation blocks (e.g. for students or hospital staff), with individual bedrooms and the provision of kitchen/sanitary facilities constructed within a fire compartment.