If housing is more expensive, is it safer?


How modern buildings are protected from fire and how do security systems depend on the class and cost of housing?


The head of the heating and ventilation and air conditioning department of the Metropolis company Sergey Bryuzgin and his colleague, deputy department head Alexander Arkhipov, helped the readers of the Real Estate Bulletin understand the issue of building safety.

An apartment in a new building and a new car - what can be in common between them? Of course, these are two things that modern man first of all tries to acquire. And the main criteria for choosing both real estate and vehicles will be quality, comfort and safety. But if you conduct a further comparative analysis, you can find amazing paradoxes.

If we talk about quality and comfort, then the cost factor in this case comes to the fore. As well as when buying a new car, the more expensive the price segment of real estate we will consider, the more pleasant facts we will find: good location, convenient and well-developed infrastructure, high-quality modern materials and technologies, etc. But if we talk about fire safety, then the purchase of elite housing does not guarantee the owner higher security than an apartment from the mass segment.

If a car has a different price class the safety level may differ, then in capital construction objects it will be the same. All buildings must have a sufficient number of fire protection systems for people and property. It would be strange if some number of victims were allowed in budget new buildings. In this regard, the general rule more expensive means better is not applicable in this case.

The fire safety of a building depends primarily on its architectural, planning and engineering solutions, and the cost of the used equipment practically does not play a role.

Since 2009, the regulatory requirements for fire safety of capital construction facilities have been significantly tightened. Therefore, when choosing a property, we recommend paying attention not only to the cost, but also to the "age" of the house.

So, for example, in buildings designed according to regulatory documents that were in force until 2009, there is a lag behind modern standards. In those days, corridors and rooms equipped with smoke exhaust ventilation did not provide systems that compensate for the combustion products removed during a fire. - . This can lead to tragic consequences - there will be no opportunity to open the evacuation doors due to the large pressure drop.

We conclude: the younger the building, the greater the number of modern regulatory requirements for fire safety in it is taken into account and, therefore, it is potentially safer.

Fundamental principles of building fire safety systems

- Space-planning solutions to limit the spread of fire

- Evacuation routes that meet the requirements of safe evacuation of people in case of fire

- Fire detection systems (installations and fire alarm systems), warning and evacuation of people in case of fire

- Primary extinguishing media

- A complex of smoke control engineering systems

Smoke ventilation systems provide smoke-free escape routes. Automatic fire extinguishing systems limit or prevent the spread of fire. Automatic control and power supply systems ensure the operability of the corresponding engineering systems in case of fire.

If we switch to a simpler and more understandable language, then when choosing a typical modern house (we are talking about buildings with a height of 28 meters and above), you need to pay attention to the following aspects.

- As a rule, in floor-mounted elevator halls (possibly with the exception of the first floor), fireproof areas should be provided for temporary shelter of people with limited mobility (people who are not able to evacuate independently on non-smoke stairwells).

A distinctive feature of the security zones - high-quality entrance doors with a seal of the narthex - the so-called smoke-tight doors. In the safety zone, air is secured (providing excessive pressure in the protected room) in case of fire (see the presence of a ventilation grill), and the air supplied to the safety zone is heated in the winter. This allows to exclude hypothermia of the sheltering people.

- In the common floor corridors, two grates of smoke control systems should be provided: under the ceiling - the grate of the exhaust smoke ventilation system, in the lower part of the corridor - the grate of the compensation system for the removed combustion products.

- Also, fire cabinets and other equipment (sensors, detectors, etc.) must be placed in the general floor corridors that ensure fire detection and safe evacuation.

Living in a home that meets all these requirements will be safe enough.

The issue of the quality of the commissioning work during the installation of systems and the conduct of appropriate routine maintenance during operation is the responsibility of the managing services and supervisory authorities. Positive changes are also taking place here.

Supervisory authorities take fire safety measures very seriously and do not give permission to put the facility into operation until all regulatory requirements are met and the systems are brought into design condition.

Separately, it is worth noting the complexity of developing fire protection systems in unique (including high-rise) buildings. Without going into engineering details, we can note the main factors that complicate the design of such objects:

- ensuring safe evacuation, given the increased number of people;

- complex architectural and planning decisions (the presence of atriums, passages, combining premises of different functional purposes in one building);

- the presence of unique design solutions that are not governed by standard regulatory requirements.

Despite this, such buildings should not be feared. Specialists carefully approach their fire safety: special technical conditions for fire protection are being developed, which are coordinated in several instances, and all deviations from the norms or the uncertainty of decisions are checked and double-checked by specialists of the highest level several times.

And in conclusion, we add: the requirements for modern engineering systems of fire safety of buildings are constantly increasing, and the systems themselves are being improved.

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