For those developing a fire a life safety strategy, the UAE Code offers sector-specific guidance to ensure code requirements, such as means of egress, smoke control and fire protection, align with the purpose of the building. For residential projects, as the residents are aware of their surroundings, the sleeping risks we identify will differ from that of a hotel, where guests are in a new environment and therefore unaware of their surroundings should they need to evacuate in the event of a fire. For low-rise, residential buildings under a height of 15 metres, a single stairwell is generally sufficient as the means of egress. In contrast, hotels, regardless of the height of the building, require a minimum of two stairwells to ensure compliance. For education projects, such as schools and universities, there are no sleeping risks. Still, the occupants may be children, so the risks posed are higher, and the means of egress and travel distance in the event of a fire must be shorter than that of an office or a residential apartment building.
Sector-specific planning also applies to healthcare projects, such as clinics and hospitals, as patient capability and active surgeries must be taken into consideration, along with the standard sleeping risks, non-sleeping risks and lack of familiar surroundings. For commercial projects, such as shopping malls with a high daily visitor footfall, some occupants may be aware of their surroundings whereas others may not, further increasing the risk in the event of a fire. In this instance, increased smoke control is required to permit extended travel distances.
By working with a dedicated fire and life safety consultant to navigate the sector-specific guidance outlined in the relevant country codes, stakeholders can be confident that their building is safe and secure for visitors, residents and occupants.
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