The Grenfell tragedy is rightly making all parties involved in design, construction management and fire safety of the built environment reflect and consider what needs to be changed.
In most cases, concrete does not require any additional fire-protection because of its built-in resistance to fire. It is a non-combustible material, and has a slow rate of heat transfer. Concrete ensures that structural integrity remains, fire compartmentation is not compromised and shielding from heat can be relied upon.
Because of concrete’s inherent material properties, it can be used to minimise fire risk for the lowest initial cost while requiring the least in terms of ongoing maintenance. Other materials rely on fire protection, fire safety engineering or rate of loss of combustion. This reliance on fire protection, fire safety engineering and rate of combustion makes them unforgiving of workmanship errors, future changes as simple as changing light fittings, compliance with management procedures and human behaviour. The acoustic properties of concrete are defined as its ability to reduce the transmission of sound through it. Concrete is a good insulator of sound, which can reflect up to 99% of its total energy, however, it is also a relatively poor absorber of sound and can propagate within enclosed spaces.
BLP Members supervised the concrete frame construction of this Northampton project.