BHP conducts life saving smoke tests in high rise blocks
Published by Nadia Khan for Brent Housing Partnership in Housing and also in Environment
Brent Housing Partnership (BHP) conducted a sector leading ‘real life’ smoke testing exercise in a council high rise block which was scheduled for demolition. These tests ensured that the fire safety measures being put in place across BHP managed properties can stand the effects of a real fire and can keep residents safe.
In the event of a fire, people are much more likely to be injured or killed by smoke than fire itself. These tests allowed BHP to analyse the potential spread of smoke within a 18-storey high rise building and to study the effectiveness of passive fire protection in restricting this.
BHP used an empty high rise blocks due to be demolished as part of the London Borough of Brent’s regeneration of the South Kilburn area. The smoke testing exercise is part of BHP’s £8million fire safety programme across high rise blocks in Brent which includes major upgrades to passive fire protection.
The tests were carried out by BHP working closely with the Association for Specialist Fire Protection, BM TRADA, Hillmore Fire Protection and Gerda Security to ensure the integrity of the tests.
These tests were a unique opportunity for BHP and the fire safety industry as a whole to really demonstrate the benefits of passive fire protection. They proved that large volumes of smoke can spread rapidly within a very short time within unprotected areas. In contrast where passive fire protection is in place the smoke was fully contained and did not allow any movement which is essential to for life safety in a real life fire. The tests have also allowed BHP to highlight the importance of passive fire protection and the risks of not having these measures in place.
Gavin Pierson, Fire Safety Manager at BHP said: “Like many social housing providers, BHP are in the process of an extensive programme of upgrades to passive fire protection within our housing blocks. The results of these tests are a fantastic reminder that the work we have done to continue to undertake upgrading passive fire protection really does create a safer environment for our customers and will save lives.”