Fire Safety Staggered Risers could save lives.

Staggered risers a boon to fire safetyI can hear every architect, surveyor, plumber, electrician, and comms provider shouting ‘What a stupid idea!” And as an ex-fire alarm engineer I can fully understand that viewpoint.
Utilities would take a deal longer to install if risers were not placed inline on every floor. Cables and pipes would have to snake across floors before reaching the next riser; both the original installation and future remedial work would be more difficult – Yes… but it could save lives.
Risers are essentially a flue-like construction – We’re building chimneys in multiple locations around high-rise buildings. Risers, should compartmenting between floors be breached, would rapidly draw smoke and flames between floors.
“Well compartmenting must be in place!”, shouts the plumber. True, but how many buildings, that are no longer new, have breached compartments in risers? In our experience it’s as high as 70 to 80%.
Retrofit work is rarely checked and often only on a fire-risk assessment is the problem discovered. Breaching of compartmentation in risers is widespread – fact! So if risers were not inline and didn’t form a flue the problem would be much less severe.
Is a longer install and more awkward retrofit a reasonable price to pay for vastly increased fire safety? Money no-object I think everyone would answer ‘Yes’. But money is an object isn’t it? So it’s highly unlikely to happen.
Tell us your thoughts – good idea or totally unworkable?

2 thoughts on “Fire Safety Staggered Risers could save lives.

  1. Janet Brooksbank

    Makes - perfect sense - Has nobody thought of this before? Or is it just that cash is king when it comes to safety Vs economics?

  2. Janet - I'm sure somebody must have thought of it before but as I travel around assessing properties time and time again I see riser cupboars that would act like flues. So many have had sealents between floors breached, broken and smashed to allow for new wires, pipes etc.
    If staggered risers are to economically non-viable then hefty fines should be introduced for contactors who damage fire compartments.

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