The upgrading of fire safety in historic buildings

KINCAID, Simon (2018). The upgrading of fire safety in historic buildings. Historic Environment: Policy & Practice, 9 (1), 3-20.

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There is a seemingly continual erosion of our cultural heritage due to fires in historic buildings. Some of these fires result in partial loss of the asset, some result in total loss – in all cases irreplaceable historic fabric is destroyed. Accurate recording for fires in historic buildings is problematic, but such data as has been collated indicates that the level of loss is high. One of the key factors in achieving robust fire safety in historic buildings is the upgrading of physical fire protection measures. It has been suggested that we should assume a fire event is probable, and together with a context in which outside help might be some time in arriving, such measures are considered crucial in containing the fire and raising the alarm as quickly as possible. This article considers passive and active fire protection measures, using case study material to provide illustrative examples. Where it might be expected that conservation requirements, aiming to avoid negative impact to character and significance, might hinder disruptive physical interventions to improve fire protection, in fact a great deal can be achieved. Such a pragmatic approach is arguably necessary for the safety and preservation of built heritage, when the alternative might otherwise be yet another burnt-out shell.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: historic buildings, heritage management, historic building fires, fire safety, fire protection measures, passive fire protection, active fire protection.
Departments: Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities > Natural and Build Environment
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Jill Hazard
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2017 15:37
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2018 20:11

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