Fire and the Design of Buildings
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Fire is one of the major hazards to life and property in buildings. Regulations in respect of fire safety therefore constitute a major part of every building bylaw. These regulations naturally influence the design of almost every building. Good building codes are based on the best information available, but since they must be written as minimum regulations, they inevitably contain compromises and some features that are almost arbitrary. The careful designer will not be satisfied with merely meeting minimum regulations but will wish to base his design on first principles. In this way he can hope to achieve fire safety as an intrinsic characteristic of his design and not something superimposed upon it and possibly conflicting with it. When this is done, the designer will almost invariably find that his design meets requirements such as those in the National Building Code of Canada and in various building bylaws. It is the purpose of this note to outline and to discuss these basic principles of building design in respect of fire safety.