How do you manage your fire safety information?
Updated: Oct 12, 2022
BS 8644-1 is a NEW British Standard that gives recommendations and guidance to manage fire safety information digitally throughout the life cycle of an asset.
Digital management of fire safety information – Part 1:Design,construction, handover, asset management and emergency response – Code of practice.
The ability to coordinate and manage relevant fire safety information throughout the life cycle of an asset has long been an issue. This was particularly highlighted in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy in June 2017.
Following her review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, Dame Judith Hackitt recommended that duty holders of higher risk buildings should be required to develop and maintain a golden thread of information, which should be managed digitally by default.
BS 8644-1 is a new British Standard that gives recommendations and guidance to manage fire safety information digitally throughout the life cycle of an asset. It sets out processes to achieve this for all parties responsible for fire safety. The standard has been developed to ‘bridge the gap’ between the fire safety and information management sectors.
WHY should we use this standard?
Currently, fire safety information management practices are inconsistent and unstructured, with the inability to provide evidence for legacy fire safety information being a systemic problem. To implement a consistent and coordinated approach to fire safety information management, the fire safety industry can use BS 8644-1 as a starting point.
BS 8644-1 has been developed for those who are responsible for the development and management of fire safety information. This captures a number of potential contributors, including:
• clients/appointing parties
• fire engineers
• BIM coordinators/information managers
• building services engineers
• construction contractors
• facility/asset managers
• fire and rescue services
• other regulatory bodies
How should I implement the
BS 8644-1 can be applied to newly constructed construction projects as well as to existing buildings. Additionally, the standard can be implemented strategically within an organization (such as a developer or housing association) to provide a consistent approach to fire safety information management.
Implementing BS 8644-1 in accordance with BS EN ISO 19650 is preferable.
However, the fire safety sector is less familiar with this guidance and will require time to fully mature a consistent, sector-driven methodology for fire safety information management.
In response to this challenge, processes for managing fire safety information digitally without using BS EN ISO 19650 are also described within BS 8644-1. It is the intention that this approach will act as a ‘stepping stone’ for those readers aspiring to achieve a fully matured digital process for managing fire safety information. As per BS EN ISO 19650, this is the way to go.
What will some of the benefits be?
•At a suitable point within a new project, being able to instruct and receive the desired level of fire safety information from the supply chain
• Providing relevant and accurate fire safety information to stakeholders, such as building occupants and law enforcement
• Confirming the desired level of fire safety information to be captured and managed in existing built assets
• Having the ability to access relevant and accurate fire safety information digitally for a new or existing asset or element of infrastructure
• Demonstrating a best practice approach to fire safety information management when operating in regulatory regimes where this is (or will be) a legal requirement
• Adequately preparing for information handover requirements on completion of construction phases, and ensuring that fire safety information is in an appropriate digital format
All persons having responsibility for the development and management of fire safety information will benefit from the use of a fire safety information management framework, as described in BS 8644-1. The framework sets out recommendations for when information should be exchanged between relevant parties and at which stages. This makes clear the roles, responsibilities and accountabilities for each taking part in the process.
Fire safety information on existing built assets BS 8644-1 can be applied to both brand-new developments and existing built assets, the latter representing significant challenges for effective fire safety information management.
A significant portion of fire safety information is invariably unavailable for existing built assets. There may be a substantial "fire safety information gap" for those wishing to adopt the recommendations of BS 8644-1 at first.
To substantiate and confirm relevant fire safety information, users of BS 8644-1 are encouraged to gather information and confirm it. Various methods are available to achieve this, many of which are commercial products under development, therefore falling outside the scope of this British Standard.
Information about fire safety should not be viewed as a byproduct of arbitrary activities or tasks implemented during an asset's lifecycle. It is suggested that it is used as a tool to enable better levels of fire safety. With better information management comes more effective, pragmatic decision making.
Generally, this will mitigate the safety risks associated with most of the physical assets that make up the built environment. In addition, it will help users of the built environment to avoid the effects of fire.
FD Fire Door help their clients meet the new British Standard BS 8644-1
FD Fire Door record all fire door compliance events in a digital format, helping clients achieve the requirements of this new standard.