Fires in enclosed car parks

Fires in enclosed car parks

BRE carried out a three year project to examine fire spread in car parks, including new and emerging risks from modern cars and alternative fuels.

Fires in car parks are fortunately quite rare and there have been few deaths or injuries recorded to date in the UK. However, there are concerns regarding new and emerging risks from modern cars and alternative fuels. The UK Government’s Communities and Local Government Sustainable Buildings Division commissioned this research project.


Report summary

It is essential that the Building Regulations, via Approved Document B (AD B), are able to offer the best practicable and proportional guidance for the fire safety and fire protection of buildings which are above, or contain, enclosed car parks.

The basis for the previous guidance in AD B for fire safety strategies in car parks related to fire initiation and fire growth, and was based on research involving cars whose design was, by then, decades old. There was increasing and widespread concern about the effect of modern car design on the ignition and growth of fires, including factors like increasing electrical power, greater use of insulation materials and plastic fuel tanks. There was also concern about how these fires may spread to other vehicles parked adjacently or nearby; by thermal radiation, direct flame impingement or running fuel fires (from a fuel spill or tank rupture). This concern has been heightened by the increasing numbers of cars powered by alternative fuels such as LPG, and the possibility of cars using hydrogen.

There was therefore a need to gather up-to-date information on all aspects of fires involving cars in car parks so that the current fire safety guidance could be reviewed and, where necessary, updated.

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Read the full report

Read the full findings and recommendations regarding fires in enclosed carparks in the report.

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