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Fire Safety & Building Regulations

8 things you need to consider when designing

2 Relevant Resources
Uniform Building By-Laws 1984 (latest version) - UBBL Guide to Fire Protection in Malaysia

3 Fire Safety Philosophies

Means of Escape Containment within compartment / buildings Detection and Extinguishment

2 Means of Fire Safety

Passive Active

#1 - Activity
UBBL Fifth Schedule
Types of Activities categorised under broad Purpose Groups, e.g. I. Small Residential, II. Institutional, III. Small Residential, IV. Office, etc. Checking the Fifth Schedule will tell you the maximum size of a compartment, either in floor area or volume Buildings can be sub-divided into compartments containing different purpose groups If the building houses multiple purpose groups, use the one that is more stringent

Useful Example: COMMUNITY CENTRE Purpose Group II. Institutional Hospital, school or other similar establishment used as living accommodation for, or for treatment care or maintenance of, persons suffering from disabilities due to illness or old age or any other physical or mental disability or under the age of 5 years, where such persons sleep in the premises Therefore, based on the Fifth Schedule: Height of building: any height Floor area of storey or compartment: 2000 m2 Cubic capacity of building or compartment: no limit

#2 - Building Volume
By Law 140
Building volume determines amount of perimeter access for fire vehicles.
Volume of Building (m3) Minimum Proportion of Perimeter of Building

7,000 28,000
28,000 56,000 56,000 84,000 84,000 112,000 112,000 and above

1/4 1/2 3/4 Island site

Useful Example: COMMUNITY CENTRE Assuming 2,000 m2 floor area, with average floor to floor height of 4m: Volume = 2,000 x 4 = 8,000 m3

Therefore, no minimum requirement for fire truck access to perimeter of building.

#3 - Building Height
UBBL (Various)
Active Systems
External Hydrants Fire Escape Stairs

Passive Fire Fighting

Firefighting Access

Single Staircase Building < 18.3m 18.3 30.5m 30.5 45.0m

45.0 <

Fireman Lift

Building Height


Party Wall

Fire Break

Hose Reel

Wet Riser

Dry Riser

#4 - Openings
UBBL Sixth Schedule
Amount of openings in a wall determines the distance that wall should be set back from boundary / adjacent building. The bigger the openings, or the more the number (calculated as a percentage of a wall), the further back the wall should be. It is useful to work backwards to determine how much openings to introduce if it is a tight site Sixth Schedule is based on purpose groups, height of wall, as well as percentage of openings.

#5 - Fire Escape
Some Tips about Fire Escape Stairs (FES):
Always have more than one (what if one catches fire?) Minimum distance between FES is 5m Never discharge from a protected zone (e.g. FES) into an unprotected one (e.g. lobby); always discharge people outside as quickly as possible FES running to the Ground Floor must not be allowed to continue into the Basement FES should be naturally ventilated, otherwise must be pressurised

#6 - Running Distance
UBBL Seventh Schedule
Based on purpose groups Gives the maximum running distance to an exit, in terms of dead end limits, unsprinklered and sprinkled corridors

Useful Example
Purpose group II. Institutional (Hospitals, Nursing Homes, etc.) Dead End Limit: 9m Unsprinklered: 30m / Sprinklered: 45m

#7 Exit Capacities
UBBL Seventh Schedule
Based on purpose groups Gives a projected occupant load per square meter based on activity, from which the total capacity of exits may be derived Number of exits may vary, as long as the total capacity is met with one exit to spare and each exit meets the minimum width Exit capacities must be tabulated for every floor, with the highest capacity adequately served.

#8 Active Systems
UBBL Tenth Schedule
Tenth Schedule lays out three basic active fire fighting systems: Extinguishing system, Fire Alarm and Emergency Lighting Again, these are classified under purpose groups, but more specific in terms of usage, e.g. school, nursing home, etc. If mixed usage occurs, always take the more stringent conditions Useful example: II. Institutional

1. Hospital and Nursing Home (ii) in patient treatment (c) exceeding 250m2 per floor: 3 or 4 storeys Extinguishing system: Hose Reel Fire Alarm: Automatic Fire Detectors & Signal Indicator Alarm System Emergency Lighting: Signal Point Units

Image References