NEW FIRE SAFETY REGULATIONS RECENTLY DEVELOPED IN REPUBLIC OF BULGARIA
The control of implementation of fire protection requirements during the process of design, construction and operation of buildings and structures in Republic of Bulgaria is performed by the "Fire Safety and Rescue" Directorate Generale which is a structural unit of the Ministry of Interior.
The obligatory fire safety requirements for buildings and structures in Bulgaria are regulated by two ordinances developed and issued jointly by the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works and the Ministry of Interior. One of the ordinances covers requirements during the design and construction of buildings and structures and the other - during the process of operation.
Until 06 June 2010, the fire safety requirements during the process of design and construction of buildings and structures were settled in an ordinance, issued in 1987 and amended in 1994. This ordinance contained some obsolete requirements and did not contain requirements to the design of new project solutions (atriums, etc..), a new type of structures, but also new obligations which has arised from the adoption of Bulgaria into the European Union in 2007.
In this respect at the end of 2006 on the initiative of Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works and the Ministry of Interior has been set up a working commission. It consisted of 24 specialists in various technical fields and had to develop a new ordinance for fire preventon requirements in the process of design and construction of buildings and structures.
After two years of working the commission prepared a draft of a new ordinance, which was coordinated with the European Commission. On 06/05/2010 the new Ordinance on constructional-technical rules and standards for ensuring fire safety entered into force and repealed the old one.
The ordinance was developed in accordance with the following: • Synchronization of technical regulations on fire safety of buildings with the EU legislation; • Introduction of the EU specifications in the field of fire safety within the scope of CouncilDirective 89/106/EEC of 21 December 1988 on the approximation of laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States relating to construction products:
Decision 2000/367/EC establishing a classification system for resistance-to-fire performance for construction products, amended by Decision 2003/629/EC as regards the inclusion of smoke and heat control products; • Decision 2000/147/EC implementing Council Directive 89/106/EEC as regards the classification of the reaction-to-fire performance of construction products, amended by Decision 2003/632/ЕC and Decision 2006/751/EC;
Decision 2000/553/EC and Decision 2001/671/EC implementing Council Directive 89/106/EEC as regards the classification of the external fire performance of roofs and roof coverings, amended by Decision 2005/823/EC; • EN 1990:2003 “Eurocode - Basis of structural design”
For ensuring safety against fire impacts, the construction works or parts thereof are divided into new functional fire-hazard classes: • F 1 - Residential buildings and buildings used for provision of education, healthcare, social welfare, accommodation and other services to the general public – inhabited permanently or temporarily (including on 24-hour basis) (as a general rule, the rooms of these buildings are used on 24-hour basis, their inhabitants can be people of different age and physical condition, these buildings typically include bedrooms).
F 2 - Buildings used for provision of cultural and artistic services to the general public, sport facilities (the main rooms/premises of these buildings typically accommodate large numbers of people for a certain period of time);
F 3 - Buildings used for provision of services to the general public in the sectors of trade, catering, transport, communications and services; administrative buildings (the visitors on the premises of these buildings typically outnumber the host staff);
F 4 - Educational establishments, research institutions, design bureaus, administrative buildings of local and central authorities (the premises of these buildings are used for a certain period of time during the day, as a general rule they are occupied by permanent groups of people, who are familiar with the layout and are of certain age and physical condition);
F 5 - Industrial and storage buildings, facilities and rooms/premises (typically these buildings are occupied by permanent groups of workers, including on 24-hour basis).
The following are taken into account for developing the new functional fire-hazard classes: • function of buildings and facilities; • category of building residents - age, physical condition, knowledge of the layout of the building; • presence of bedrooms in the building; • time period of operation of a building – non-stop or at certain periods of the day; • presence of stands and areas with specified number of seats.
Depending on the risks of fire and explosion associated with the substances and products, which are used, produced or stored in the buildings and facilities, the amounts of such substances and the specificities of the technologies used, the buildings and facilities belonging to functional fire-hazard class F 5 are subdivided in new fire-hazard categories:
F5 А - Buildings, rooms/premises, outdoor installations or plants related to obtaining, processing, usage, keeping and storage of: • Combustible gases, including liquefied combustible gases; • Fluids with flash point 28C or lower (petrol, ligroin, acetone, toluene, pyridine, ethyl alcohol, dichloroethane, dioxane, ethylbenzene, and other); • Substances and products, which ignite or explode by contact with water or by interaction with oxygen from the ambient air;
F5 B - Buildings, rooms/premises, outdoor installations or plants related to obtaining, processing, usage, keeping and storage of: • Fluids with a flash point from 28C to 55C inclusive (kerosene, gasoil, chlorobenzene, acetic acid, acetic anhydride, and other; • Fluids, which are heated above their flash points during manufacturing, production, processing, usage or storage processes; • Powder materials or fibres with lower flash-point concentration limits of 65 g/m3 or less.
F5 C - Buildings, rooms/premises, outdoor installations or plants related to obtaining, processing, usage, keeping and storage of: • Fluids with a flash point greater than 55C (aniline, asphalt, heavy fuel oil, glycerine, ethylene glycol, formalin, oils, creosote, and other). • Powder materials or fibres with lower flash-point concentration limits greater than 65g/m3 (zinc powder, cellulose-lignite powder, acetyl cellulose powder, carbamide-formaldehyde resin powder, and other). • Technological processes, where the products are processed at temperatures up to 180C and which do not fall in fire-hazard categories A or B.
Solid combustible substances and products. • Non-combustible substances packaged in combustible packaging materials. • Combustible substances in bulk or packaged state.
F5 D - Buildings, rooms/premises, outdoor installations or plants related to obtaining, processing, usage, keeping and storage of: • Non-combustible substances and materials in hot or incandescent states, in which these substances or materials emit radiant heat, sparks or flame; non-combustible substances and materials processed at temperatures higher than 180C, other than those falling in fire-hazard categories A or B; • Combustible liquids, gases or solid products (powders), which are used as fuels provided that there is a guaranteed source of permanent ignition.
F5 E - Buildings, rooms/premises, outdoor installations or plants related to obtaining, processing, usage, keeping and storage of: • Non-combustible substances and products; • Combustible substances and products used in wet technological processes.
Another changes which has been set out in the new Ordinance: • Construction elements, structures and installations are classified on the basis of their resistance to fire performance in accordance with Commission Decision 2000/367/EC as regards the classification of the resistance to fire performance of construction products, construction works and parts thereof as amended by Decision 2003/629/EC as regards the inclusion of smoke and heat control products:
Load-bearing capacity (R); • Integrity (Е); • Insulation (I). The resistance to fire performance is rated (measured) in minutes for each load-bearing or partitioning element, using the symbols R, REI, RE, EI, E:15, 20, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, 180, 240 or 360.
New terminology and requirements to ensure the safe evacuation of people from buildings: • The evacuation requirements are described using the terminology of ISO 8421-6 “Fire protection – Vocabulary. Part 6: Evacuation and means of escape”. • New requirement: The layout of evacuation exits are deemed uncentred, where the angle between the escape ways leading to them, starting from the most distant point of the room, is greater than 45:
New requirements for width and number of room exits - determined with reference to the number of persons in such rooms as follows: - up to 50 persons – one exit with minimum net width of 0.9 metres; - up to 100 persons – at least two exits, each with minimum net width of 0.9 metres; - up to 200 persons – at least three exits, each with minimum net width of 0.9 metres, or two exits, each with minimum net width of 1.2 m.
- the required aggregate width of elements within the evacuation routes of premises for more than 200 persons, separated from the remaining rooms/premises, shall be determined as follows: 1.for rooms/premises at semi-underground and ground floors – 0.6 m per 100 persons; 2. for rooms/premises at aboveground floors – 0.8 m per 100 persons; 3. for rooms/premises at underground floors – 1.2 m per 100 persons.
New requirement: The lengths of escape routes in the various rooms/premises and buildings is determined with reference to the number of exits, the number of staircases and the number of final evacuation exits:
New classification and requirements for buildings with atriums: • Fire safety requirements for building with atrium depend on the functional fire-hazard class of the building, the height of the atrium and the type of separation of the atrium of the adjacent floor area. The following requirements may be obligatory, depending on the type of atrium: • automatic fire alarm system in the adjacent levels to atrium and within atrium; • automatic fire extinguishing system in the adjacent levels to atrium; • smoke hatch on top of the atrium;
mechanical ventilation system for lead of smoke and heat out of atrium and building; • forming a smoke reservoir at the top of the atrium; • voice alerting systems in the building; • controlled or no combustible load at the base of the atrium.
New classification and requirements for buildings with a height over 28 meters. • For gradation of the safety measures, works higher than 28 metres (production, residential and public) are classified in four groups: • Group I – works with height ranging from 28 to 50 metres inclusive; • Group II – works with height ranging from 50 to 75 metres inclusive; • Group III – works with height ranging from 75 to 125 metres inclusive; • Group IV – works higher than 125 metres.
Works higher than 28 metres are designed to fire resistance grade and such that the floor area of one fire dam within aboveground floors is not more than 2200 m2. • The vertical load-bearing elements of Group IV works must be executed to REI 240. • Other requirements about presence of fire alarm systems, fire extinguishing systems, requirements for evacuation, etc.
New requirements for building ventilation systems for smoke and heat removal. • The type and presence of these systems depend on the size and height of the premises and the density of the thermal load; • Smoke and heat removal in case of fire are achieved by means of smoke and heat removal systems, which include facilities and installations for supply of fresh air and for smoke/heat removal and containment.
These systems can be implemented be means of: • smoke vents – natural systems • mechanical fans – forced systems • The forced suction fans of these systems must be capable of withstanding a heat load of 300°С in the course of 60 min. • These systems cannot be designed in rooms/premises which are provided with automatic firefighting systems using gases. • Other requirements;
The new Ordinance arranged a totally new chapter of the design documentation of a construction project – “Fire Safety”, which has to be developed by a fire engineer and has to include all project decisions for ensuring fire safety in the building.It consists of:
Part І. General 1. Project background: • specify the chapters of the design documentation of the investment project, which have been used for elaboration of this chapter; • specify the bulgarian and international regulatory documents and standards, which have been used for elaboration of this chapter.
2. Description of the works: • location of the works; • intended use of the works; • sub-sites; • footprint area, gross floor area, height, adjacent area
Part ІІ. Passive fire safety measures 1. Regulatory requirements for the general layout of the works: • distances between buildings and facilities; • entrances from the plot to the works; • fire roads; • aprons for fire ladders; • clearance from the buildings and facilities within the works to any underground or aboveground utilities crossing the territory of the site or passing nearby.
2. Fire resistance grade of the works and its structural elements: • load-bearing walls and columns; • inter-floor structures; • façade walls and internal walls; • walls of fire escape routes; • staircase flights; • shafts for installation of utilities; • walls of warehouses and production premises; • doors in fire barriers; • packing/sealing of utility holes in the barriers.
3. Internal layout: • footprint area of the building; • staircases – number, layout, execution, lighting; • lift shafts, separation; • rooms for electric distribution boards; • storerooms and production premises; • roofs.
4. Linings: • specify the regulatory reaction-to-fire class of floor, wall and ceiling lining materials depending on the type of the building and the function of the premises; • specify how the linings will be applied.