Fire doors can greatly reduce the spread of fire, but it’s not always possible to fit them in historic buildings. In these cases we recommend you ensure that existing heritage doors are solid and fit well in their frames. There are many products available that allow an old historic door to be upgraded to make it more resistant to heat, flame and smoke.
Historic buildings, and buildings that have been altered over the years, can often have large void spaces, where a fire can go unnoticed for an extended period of time. Compartmentation surveys can be carried out to identify these voids, as well as remedial works like installing compartment walls.
Automatic Fire Suppression Systems (AFSS) include wet sprinklers, water mist, and gas suppression systems. They can be used to compensate for limitations in historic buildings – where some items are not moveable or may be particularly rare or valuable. Consider installing an AFSS as part of your fire safety measures.
Hot works include any work using open flames, or creating sparks or heat eg welding, grinding and soldering. A permit must be prepared before carrying out hot works. As this type of work increases fire risk, it should be avoided if possible, but if not, the conditions of the permit must be followed. Key points to consider are appointing good contractors, identifying risks and taking precautions. For more information see Heritage England's advice note on hot works.
It’s sensible to assess your current lighting system, and consider using low voltage or LED lighting throughout the building.
Carrying out thermographic testing of electrical installations can also help to identify any areas of too much heat.
To minimise the risk of a fire starting, establish procedures to ensure that: