Jensen Hughes Middle East Newsletter Q4


Ali Al Musabih, MSc , CFPS, CFI-I Lead Consultant at Jensen Hughes

Impacts of Fire in High-Rise Buildings

can vary significantly depending on the combustible nature of the internal linings. + Vertical spread fire propagates from one floor to another through openings or gaps in the facade, such as windows, doors, balconies or cladding. This can be caused by unrated cladding materials that are combustible or have poor fire resistance. Vertical spread fire can pose a serious threat to occupants above the fire floor and firefighters who may have difficulty accessing the upper floors. Vertical spread fire can also increase heat exposure and structural damage to the building facade and columns.

Fires in high-rise buildings can cause devastating consequences not only for the structure and integrity of the building itself but also for the lives and safety of the occupants and the surrounding environment. Flames, smoke, heat and toxic gases can spread rapidly and affect multiple floors, making evacuation and rescue difficult. Fire safety challenges in high-rise buildings include: Types of Fires in High-Rise Buildings Fire configuration refers to the way a fire spreads and develops within a building, which depends on factors such as fuel load, ventilation, compartmentation and fire protection systems. Different types of fire configurations can have different impacts on the safety of occupants and firefighters, as well as the structural integrity of the building. + Horizontal spread fire spreads along a wall, floor or corridor through openings or gaps in the walls, such as doors, ducts or penetrations. Typically caused by poor compartmentation or lack of fire doors, horizontally spread fires can endanger the occupants on the same floor as the fire as well as those who are trying to evacuate through the corridors or stairs. Horizontally spread fires can also increase smoke production and toxicity within the building, which

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), it can take up to 90 minutes to evacuate a high-rise building during a fire. High-rise buildings have a limited number of stairways and exits – which can be blocked by smoke or flames – and a high volume of occupants, who may panic or be unfamiliar with the evacuation plan.

The facade plays an important role in a high-rise building’s appearance, energy efficiency and weather resistance. But it also can promote fire spread. Fire can spread from one floor to another through windows, doors or vents in the facade or combustible materials in the exterior wall assembly. High- rise buildings are also usually located in densely populated areas, where fire can spread to adjacent structures, causing traffic congestion and hindering emergency response.

Fire can weaken or destroy the structural elements of a high- rise building, such as columns, beams or floors, which can lead to partial or total collapse. Structural failure can also cause debris to fall on surrounding buildings and people, creating secondary hazards and injuries.

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