CIBSE updates fire safety engineering guidance

Following the second anniversary of Grenfell Tower fire in West London in which 72 people died and 70 were injured, The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) has published a revised and updated version of its 'Guide E: Fire Safety Engineering'.

It takes account of recent changes in regulation 7 of the Building Regulations in England, which prohibit the use of combustible materials in the external walls of buildings over 18 metres high containing residential accommodation. 

The latest edition also incorporates additional content on international best practice, including in North America, Australasia, and the Gulf region. CIBSE says the new guide was close to publication prior to the Grenfell Tower fire, and the steering committee has subsequently made further updates and enhancements to reflect regulatory changes since. It includes additional guidance on building facades and external wall construction.

Anticipated further changes to the UK’s fire codes of practice, guidance documents, and means of enforcement, will be incorporated into later revisions, with significant updates posted online as soon as they are available.

CIBSE said: “There are generally two ways of demonstrating compliance with Building Codes and regulations – to follow the prescriptive guidance in the codes and accompanying guidance, or to use a fire engineering approach. Guide E is focused on fire engineering, and is intended to be the ‘go to’ document that provides building services engineers and fire life safety consultants with guidance on a broad range of fire engineering issues. It will be particularly useful for those involved in innovative or unusual building designs where the prescriptive approach may not be suitable.” 

CIBSE Guide E covers both fire protection engineering – where the designer is responsible for the design of automatic fire suppression systems and fire detection systems, and fire safety engineering – relating to fire strategies including the location and number of stairs and smoke control regimes.  The Guide was first published in 1997; the fourth edition ‘addresses the full range of fire safety issues’ – from evacuating the building and giving access to firefighters, to controlling the spread of smoke and fire.