FEMTC 2022

Assessing The Impact Of Changes To Guidance On Evacuation From Fire In Multi-Occupancy High-Rise Residential Buildings

Steve Gwynne - Movement Strategies, a GHD Company

Abstract

The Building Regulations in England are supported by Approved Documents which provide statutory guidance to meet the functional requirements expressed by the regulations. Fire safety is specifically addressed in the two volumes of Approved Document B (AD B). In response to the Grenfell Tower fire, and following a call for evidence, the government has commissioned a programme of research to examine future technical guidance contained within AD B.

As a result of the research programme, the authors of this paper are conducting research into the means of escape in high-rise residential buildings. This research has involved a review of expected occupant behaviours and factors that might affect evacuation behaviours in high-rise residential properties, interviews and surveys of residents of multi-occupancy buildings to assess perception of building safety with respect to a 'stay-put' strategy post-Grenfell Tower, and the subsequent modelling of an array of evacuation scenarios involving building designs to identify which behaviours, procedures and design features affect evacuation outcomes. This work employs performance-based tools to test the 'prescriptive' statutory guidance - supported by information on changing public perceptions - intended to make the guidance more sensitive and robust to conditions that might be faced within multi-occupancy residential buildings.

This paper provides an overview of the approach adopted so far in the project. This focuses on the integration between subject matter expertise across the multi-disciplinary team, the collection and application of survey results, and the modelling methodology adopted. This methodology involves two different evacuation tools and a means by which to investigate a wide range of scenarios with more refined simulation of key scenarios - including bounding cases and where step changes in results indicate the importance of the underlying factors.

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