PREVENTING THE SURFACE SPREAD OF FLAME

Building fires are regularly spread by the surface spread of flame. The BB100 Design for Fire Safety In Schools (section 2.1.3) describes flame spread by convection as being one of the primary ways that fires proliferate in schools.

Fire spreads from the point of ignition along the surface of wall linings and furniture surfaces as the flames seek out new sources of fuel.

Building regulations specify the use of fire resistant materials in key areas of public buildings to help prevent the surface spread of flames, protecting the building from unnecessary damage and, more importantly, delaying the progression of the fire so that the building can be evacuated safely.

WHAT THE REGULATIONS SAY:

In 2014 the EFA published the BB100: comprehensive building guidelines for fire safety in schools.

These guidelines are used by fire services to assess the safety of school buildings in the event of a fire.

The guidelines identify certain areas within a school building to be high risk areas for fire and require added precautions to ensure people and property are safe from the spread of flames.

The guidelines also state that in corridors that are protected fire escape routes or that have only one route of exit, notice boards should be fitted with a cover. In protected corridors, boards should be no more than 3m wide and there should be a  gap of at least 1m between notice boards on the same wall.3

1. Fire Safety Approved Document B, Vol 2. Section 6.1, Table 10 (2013)  2. Building Bulletin 100, Section 3.1 (2014)                                                            

3. Building Bulletin 100, Section 3.1.6(2014)