Fire safety is a perquisite of new building construction. The use of precast concrete can assist in ensuring a building is fire safe and meets the relevant building codes for fire safety, to protect both the lives of occupants and the property itself.
When building residential, commercial or industrial properties, fire resistance and fire containment must both be covered in order to construct a safe building. Here is a short guide to using precast concrete in the context of fire safety.
Overview of Building Fire Safety
It is not enough to design a building based on its capacity to withstand flames. Flames in a fire are not the only dangerous factor to be recognised. There are other factors to take into consideration when ensuring a building is fire safe, including the ability to contain high heat and to contain smoke. A building or structure must also be able to contain toxic gas, which can be deadly to life. The building or structure must also contain the fire within its structure, not allowing it to spread to other parts of the building. In addition, a new structure should be created using as few flammable materials as possible and should be built to avoid the risk of structural collapse if frames are compromised.
If a building’s design can cover all these elements, it is more likely to be deemed fire safe.
Precast Concrete and Fire Safety
Precast concrete can help with most, if not all, of the above considerations. As a starting point, precast concrete is non-combustible. This means that if a fire starts within its boundaries, the concrete will contain it. Precast concrete retaining walls provide good fire barriers within and on the edge of buildings. This also helps to prevent fire from spreading outside of a structure into another. In addition to compartmentalisation, precast concrete helps to ensure that fire does minimal damage to life and property.
Precast concrete is the ideal choice for a fire safe building, whether it is residential, commercial, or industrial.
Types of Precast Concrete Structures
Precast concrete elements include planks and wall panels which can structure a building either horizontally or vertically. Precast concrete can be used to build insulated walls. It can also create beams, columns, and floors in order to resist heat and to provide a material that is not combustible and will not add fuel to any fire.
Precast concrete can be used effectively within a building in order to minimise the damage caused by fire and to protect people from the effects of fire. The initial benefit of precast concrete is that it contains the fire within its boundaries for the longest possible time. Plus, it helps to cut down on the amount of combustible material contained within the building’s structure. Precast concrete is an economical way to meet fire requirements and to put buildings in line with insurance requirements for fire protection. It is also a simple material to use that is available in a variety of different configurations.