Fire occurrences are very real and erupt when we least expect it. As we go about our daily routines, at work, enjoying a meal at our favourite restaurant, watching a movie at the local cinema, or just strolling through one of the many mega-shopping centres, rarely do we consider the possibility that our lives and the lives of our loved ones might be placed in jeopardy by an outbreak of fire.
To some, such consideration would seldom arise.
To others, the knowledge, and in some cases the assumption that the design and construction of buildings are already subject to strict regulatory controls, mean that there must be a degree of protection from such an occurrence. But is this real or have we been led into a false sense of security? How can be we sure that our building code is being properly interpreted and implemented by our building certifiers and construction industry participants? Are the perceived levels of safety and protection accorded new or renovated buildings justified?
In this new millennium we face ever increasing populations and commercial activities. The need for shelters, be they medium or high-rise multi-storied residential, or corporate high-rise complexes is on the increase.
For decades building regulations have imposed stringent requirements for the fire protection of such buildings, to minimise the occurrence of fires. However, when they do occur, the impact on inhabitants and structure can be severe. In some instances, structural damage can require months of closure and millions of dollars in economic loss.
Today our view of building regulations is changing. With progress in materials sciences and computational modelling techniques, we find that we have moved away from prescriptive regulations to performance based solutions.
Ideally, is it possible to make a building absolutely 'FIRE-PROOF'?
Is it always possible to prevent a fire outbreak?
Careful investigation and scientific experiments show that fire can be controlled, and its destructive force minimised by the use of certain materials and construction methods, combined with a well thought out and designed- building lay-out.
Acceptance of Fire Engineered principles is reducing construction costs. However, the stability of primary structural elements during a fire remains as critical as the containment of smoke. We must ensure that these elements will continue to support both their design load and further loads imposed during a fire.
In addition, to minimise the spread of fire, building regulations now require compartmentalisation as an integral part of building design. This means that it is necessary to ensure maximum containment of fire by eliminating or minimising the risk of the spread of fire.
For the LAF group the protection of shelters is synonymous with BUILDING FIRE PROTECTION. It is about alleviating the effects a fire can have on building elements, its occupants, and the emergency services personnel called upon to tackle the fire. Since 1960, LAF has been at the forefront of research and development into fire protection systems to assist building designers with innovative fire compartmentalisation systems for use in the modern built environment.
Irrespective of the country of origin, building owners, operators and their delegated designers, and certifiers, are solely responsible for the maintenance in accordance with the relevant building laws, standards as well as fire and building codes. These rules are enforced by local or national authorities. Unless there are particular dispensations, building structures must be erected in accordance with the most current version of the building code that is in effect when the building approval application is lodged. Private certifiers are engaged to check that particular elements and components of the building comply with the relevant construction rules.
The Building Code of Australia provides us with a specific classification system for a building or part of a building and is determined by the purpose for which it is designed, constructed or adapted to be used.
The LAF Group is Australia’s foremost specialist manufacturer and installer of elements of building PASSIVE FIRE PROTECTION SYSTEMS. With over 50 years’ experience, we have a solid track record of providing sound technical advice on fire, thermal and acoustical solutions to infrastructure as well as building and civil construction projects that are proven and world class. The measure of our success is our consistency in securing contracts for the thermal, acoustic and fire protection scope of works for landmark projects worldwide. Since 1960, the company has successfully completed several thousand projects across Australia, Asia, Europe, India, and The Middle East.
LAF are global leaders in the engineering of on-site installation as well as pre-fabricated fire resistant construction. We specialise in designing and constructing project specific solutions based on our extensive library of tested and suitably certified IP protected designs from our extensive project experience. We also manufacture and in control first hand, of the quality of all the fire rating materials used in our designs.