Special services which are sure to create confidence
Many fire protection standards and regulations have been issued in recent years, both on a national basis and in Europe. This trend is set to continue. The aspects of fire protection and evacuation in case of fire are particularly important in buildings which fall into the "special" category, such as very large or high buildings or hospitals and schools. Planning approval for both buildings and plant and equipment are affected. TÜV NORD is already extremely well prepared for these challenges.
We have at our disposal:
- officially-recognised fire protection experts who can create fire protection concepts
- experts for the testing of fire protection equipment who are recognised in accordance with the technical test ordinances of the individual German states
- inspectors for preventive fire protection in railway construction who are recognised by the Federal Railway Authority
- inspectors for rail vehicles, recognised by the Federal Railway Authority to perform inspections in the area of preventive fire protection, fire analysis and emergency rescue
The in-depth experience of our fire protection experts, which has been gathered over many years, are at your disposal from the planning and design phase up to operation - and also in the case of accident or damage - for all types and aspects of trackside equipment and rail vehicles. The experts from TÜV NORD are always ready to help and support you.
Creation of fire protection concepts
TÜV NORD creates fire protection concepts which enable you to increase the reliability of your planning and optimise the necessary safety measures, which makes the planning approval procedure easier. You therefore save costs and time. Creation of a fire protection concept is an important part of preliminary design and approval planning according to the HOAI architects' and construction engineers' planning structure. The purpose of the concept and its required features are laid down in ordinances, regulations and directives. Fire protection concepts for special structures have to be extremely flexible if no particular regulations apply or if it is necessary to deviate from the regulations to a significant extent. The declared aim of our solutions is to ensure that even unusual structural designs are provided with a safe fire protection concept which will win the approval of the planning authorities. To this end, we create individual fire protection concepts with fire protection engineering proofs, in particular with regard to safe rescue of people and to firefighting measures.
Support during the construction phase and site management
During the construction phase, we continuously check that the planned and accepted fire protection concept is being correctly implemented. On site, we are a competent contact for the planning and approval authorities and for all those involved in the building process. We collate the verifications of suitability of components relevant to fire protection and record and document defects in their implementation and elimination of these defects. Undesired deviations from the fire protection concept are therefore recognised at an early stage and unnecessary extra costs and time delays are therefore prevented before they can occur. If required, we perform inspections of technical equipment in accordance with the test regulations of the individual German states or their regulations pertaining to special buildings and structures. Following completion of the construction work, we certify to you that the building or structure has been implemented as agreed in the planning approval.
Fire simulation and evacuation calculation
Each year, fires in buildings lead to considerable injury and damage to people and property. Personal injury is generally attributable to the toxic fumes which arise during the fire, which spread to escape routes and make it more difficult for people to find their way out. In cases where the design of special buildings and structures means that it is not possible to adhere to the requirements of the standard building regulations, individual fire protection concepts have to be developed which fulfil the requirements arising from the usage in the particular case. Innovative methods, such as computer-aided fire simulations and protection concepts developed from them ensure that you are optimally prepared if a fire should occur. TÜV NORD makes use of the following engineering methods in order to justify planned or existing deviations:
- Fire simulations for determination of the spread of fire and smoke within buildings or building structures (computer simulations)
- Evacuation calculations
- Calculation and dimensioning of components so as to be appropriate in case of fire
- Consideration of the thermal material characteristics
- Smoke tests to check the design and implementation of the building
Fire protection documents
Fire protection concepts must be created for special buildings and structures, and these have to be correctly implemented by architects, specialist planners, manufacturers and installers. Experience shows that a large number of questions arise during this process, because individual aspects or contexts of the fire protection concept have not been recognised immediately or details have not been described precisely enough. Faults and errors often occur during planning and implementation of individual buildings or their technical installations and equipment, which cost a great deal to rectify once in place and which can cause considerably delays. In order to ensure that all those involved are aware of all the most important aspects and have the necessary information at their disposal, it is useful to provide a graphic representation in addition to the written description. This should include the most important constructional, equipment-related and organisational requirements of the fire protection measures. Even before a building is put into use, it is helpful to create the following important documents for operational fire protection:
- Visualisation of the fire protection concept
- Firefighting plans according to DIN 14095
- Fire protection ordinance according to DIN 14096
- Escape and rescue plans
Inspection of fire protection installations
Generally there are many fire protection installations in special buildings and structures which have to be inspected in accordance with the inspection and testing regulations of the individual federal states or their regulations concerning special buildings:
- non-automatic fire extinguishing equipment (e.g. hydrants, fire hoses)
- automatic fire extinguishing equipment (e.g. sprinklers, gas-based extinguishing systems)
- Smoke and heat extraction facilities and equipment (natural and machine-based)
- Smoke protection pressurising equipment, equipment for keeping escape routes free of smoke
- Ventilation equipment (as applicable to fire protection)
- Fire sensing and alarm equipment
- Electrical equipment (as applicable to fire protection, back-up power supply, maintenance of function)
In addition, TÜV NORD inspects and certifies the interaction of the individual elements in the sense of implementation of an integrated fire protection concept.
When fires occur in vehicles, buildings or technical plant or equipment, the cause generally has to be found. TÜV NORD performs fire investigations using experienced experts. First a site inspection takes place in order to establish the location where the fire started, along with documentation and securing of any clues or traces which could indicate the cause of the fire. Specialists from many fields are available to perform further investigations, for example with regard to electrical equipment or other materials, while laboratories are available within the TÜV NORD GROUP to perform specific investigations or tests. It is also possible to reconstruct the event and carry out fire tests and trials. Based on analysis of the substance- and energy-related results of these investigations, conclusions are drawn and an expert assessment is drawn up regarding the cause of the fire.