Owners, management companies, architects, civil engineers, developers and planners are constantly confronted by complex and variable lifesafety and fire protection design decisions. Unfortunately, they are not the right people to decide about such important matters ! Compliance with building codes and insurance requirements no longer ensures complete and economical firesafety. We provide a cost-effective approach and planning services for all types of buildings on an international basis. Many high-rise buildings, hotels, resorts, hospitals, offices and apartment buildings, palaces, museums and buildings of national heritage are all made safe by FPC.
The high concentration of occupants and other determining factors such as day/night situations, make emergency evacuation a prime concern. Safety systems and response teams will have to assure that no time is lost during an emergency. The objective is to find shortest safe exit routes leading immediately to the outside of the building or 'defending in place'. An accurate knowledge of building activities, building fire performance, occupant capacities and behaviour, is therefore of utmost importance.
Even though fire load and potential ignition sources in buildings are relatively low, it is well known that fire risks do exist. These often relate directly to ongoing renovation and repair work, electrical failures or even arson.
A specific desire of architects and management companies is that the exposed fire protection components such as fire doors, piping, wiring and detectors need to harmonise with the aesthetic characteristics of the building. This consideration becomes more profound for deluxe hotels, museums, palaces and embassies. Creative fire engineering is the key !
FPC Total System Approach
Many of FPC's clients are European and American based companies and as such a great deal of our work is based upon prescriptive rules (NFPA, EU directives, ...). However, FPC's work is not limited to code compliance studies only. Whenever possible or required, this rather static approach is given an extra dimension through introduction of performance based fire engineering. Objectives are then first expressed in terms of property damage, monetary loss, business interruption, replacement costs and loss of life and translated into fire engineering criteria. These objectives determine to which extent the building has to perform and should be protected. In a second stage, the potentials for fire and smoke development, fire suppression and evacuation are evaluated in Time. If the performance of the building does not meet the presupposed objectives, improvements are suggested to achieve the pre-set goals.This approach enables the fire protection engineer to identify bottlenecks that would otherwise jeopardise effective fire suppression and evacuation of occupants. Testing the building capabilities during a hypothetical 'life situation' directly exposes weaknesses with respect to Life and Firesafety. It is therefore obvious that the parallel tracking and interaction of fire growth - fire suppression - occupant evacuation, automatically generates the most appropriate cost effective solutions. This specific approach, avoids superfluous and over designed fire protection and safety systems and subsequent accumulation of costs. Many clients praise FPC for finding a perfect balance between code compliance and creative engineering !
The conceptual and detailed design of fire protection systems is implemented at the FPC office in Belgium once the means and extents of protected measures are defined. This is accomplished with the greatest caution for performance optimisation and an eye for aesthetics. The design services include the detailed engineering and specification of emergency voice annunciation-, sprinkler-, special suppression-, detection- and fire alarm systems. In addition, FPC provides follow-up during implementation and installation of the systems, including commissioning and certification. Existing fire fighting and emergency plans are usually rather static and at FPC we give these plans an extra dimension through preparing fire crews against specific hazards. The performance based analysis directly generates time related fire fighting and emergency response plans.
Due to the work performed in more than 100 different countries, FPC has obtained unrivalled experience with local and governmental requirements for the building industry. However, FPC's particular strength is to come forward with case specific solutions by means of creative fire engineering.