The applied research scientists in our Fire Safety team work with industry partners to develop and implement practical solutions to a range of fire safety issues, from designing robust tests for innovative fire detection systems to preventing false alarms.
With the necessary financial and in-kind contributions agreed at the outset, the team collaborates with stakeholder groups on projects β that often attract funding support from the BRE Trust β proposed by the industry or initiated by BRE. The combination of our independent, technical expertise and industry involvement, gives this work the added credibility that promotes wider acceptance and support.
Leading facilities and expertise
The Fire Safety team conducts research in BREβs outstanding UKAS accredited laboratories (and at client facilities when appropriate), and has access to BREβs world-leading built environment expertise in areas that include fire safety engineering, building technology and social science.
Widely presented findings
The findings from the work are regularly presented to stakeholder group members for input and agreement throughout the programme, at the end of which they receive a comprehensive technical report on the findings and proposed next steps.
As a key aim of this research work is to make new knowledge widely accessible, in addition to the technical reports, freely available briefing papers are produced to summarise the main findings and recommendations for industry professionals. Short videos are also produced when the topic is of interest to non-technical people, summarising the findings and explaining the project. These have been very effective in delivering research findings to a much wider audience and are often played at conferences and exhibitions, and promoted on social media.
The impacts of the research completed by the Fire Safety team and industry partners so far include:
- being used to revise existing codes of practice e.g. BS 5839-1 or develop new ones, e.g. LPCB COP0001,
- supporting the development of product test standards,
- being adopted and integrated into processes used by fire and rescue services,
- leading to more research that has generated further knowledge,
- supporting the development of new product testing and certification services at BRE,
- providing guidance to building owners, managers and responsible persons,
- informing product manufacturers on how to improve their products.
How collaborative partnerships work
Collaborating with partners is vital when conducting research and developing and implementing practical solutions to fire safety issues. For more on collaborative research at BRE, see our infographic.
The effectiveness of Visual Alarm Devices: This project is researching the warning effectiveness of Visual Alarm Devices (VADs) and how factors such as the VAD colours, pulse durations of LED devices and whether the VAD is viewed directly (face-on) or indirectly, influence their attention drawing effectiveness. Additionally, this project is investigating how the colours of walls in the ambient environment and background light levels contribute to the perception of flashing lights used for warning. As well as providing vital data on how VADs can be used most effectively in buildings the findings from this work are expected to support revisions to the relevant codes of practice.
Contamination of heat alarms: Most fires start in domestic kitchens and heat alarms are vital to provide occupants with an early warning. Heat alarms in the kitchen are subjected to environmental factors that may influence their alarm response during a fire. A number of used heat alarms obtained from kitchens of different ages, types and with varying levels of contamination will be measured and the resulting data analysed. If you have access to a number of used heat alarms, then please contact us as these could be included in the study. The findings from this work may be used to support replacement periods of heat alarms in the future.
Loss Prevention Standard for Video Flame Detectors: Five detector manufacturers are working together with the Fire Industry Association (FIA) and have commissioned BRE Global to develop a Loss Prevention Standard to test and assess the performance of Video Flame Detectors. As well as writing a comprehensive and robust standard, the group are also funding any necessary research to develop relevant tests. This will ensure that when Video Flame Detectors are certified to the standard, they will be fit for purpose in the service environment responding in the event of a fire and demonstrating resistance to common false alarm phenomena. The Loss Prevention Standard is expected to be published early in 2022.
Engaging in research:
If you are interested in participating in the current projects above, or if you wish to be informed when they are published, then please let us know.
If there are other areas of research in fire safety that you have been considering or are interested in pursuing, either collaboratively or privately, then please email [email protected].
Below are links to published briefing papers (and some videos) of collaborative and private research work that we have performed to date.
BRE is keen to obtain your views about our publications. We would be grateful if you could spare some time to give your feedback. Thank you.