Summerland recommendations

This page provides a large extract from the recommendations of the Summerland enquiry, many of which have stood the test of time, and are of continuing relevance. The remainder of the report and recommendations are obtainable from Alan on request.
1. In the designing of a building a named person should be in charge from the outset and take and be known to be taking the major design decisions.
2. If manufacturers, fabricators and other participants in a project are expected to take responsibility for some part of the performance of the building these responsibilities should be clearly agreed in writing and the client should be informed.
3. Architects and clients together should carefully consider the requirements and performance of a building-in-use at the stage when conceptual designs are proposed and before proceeding with the details of the design and the later submission of plans to the authorities. “Performance” embraces efficient and comfortable occupancy and usage and safety, including safety in case of fire.
4. Early in the design stage designers should consult the authorities concerned with byelaws, town planning and fire regulations. Given this collaboration and advice, the designers must take responsibility for agreed decisions.
5. Architectural training should include a much extended study of fire protection and precautions.
6. Building inspections during construction should be conducted formally and precisely, both by architects and local authority inspectors. They should be duly recorded to confirm that the building is being built in accordance with the approved plans and the relevant byelaws and regulations.
7. On the completion of the works, after a satisfactory official inspection, a completion certificate should be issued. No public building should be occupied until after this has been done.
8. A set of detailed and up-to-date plans of the premises, showing the essential structure and services, should be available in all occupied public buildings.
12. Before granting an application for a waiver of a byelaw or regulation an authority should satisfy itself that the standard of safety for occupants which is set by the byelaw or regulation will be maintained by some other means. (See para. 126).
13. Both architects and regulating authorities should ensure that full provision of means of escape and protection against fire spread, with due regard to maximum foreseeable occupancy, is incorporated in the design of a building from the beginning.
14. When a large public assembly or entertainment building will contain by virtue of its proposed occupancy any substantial quantity of flammable materials (notwithstanding any proposal for flame retardant treatment) the design should include the installation of a sprinkler system unless special reasons apply. A typical special reason would be the risk of water damage to exceptionally valuable contents, as in a museum, when alternative provision should be made.
15. Voids with combustible interior surfaces should not be unnecessarily incorporated into a building intended for public assembly. If they are functionally essential they should be provided with permanent and reliable fire stopping or with sprinklers.
16. Manufacturers and suppliers should provide the fullest possible information about the fire properties of building materials to intending users.
17. In applying the results of British Standard and other standard fire tests on building materials and structures, architects and designers should bear in mind the difference in scale between the standard test and the conditions of use in full size. If necessary, special investigation should be made on a suitable scale to supplement the standard test.
21. The proprietors and managers of places of public assembly and en-tertainment should review their fire routines, including evacuation procedures, to ensure that they are satisfactory. Advice should be obtained, if necessary, from the fire authority for the area. Fire routines and evacuation procedures, once established, should be regularly checked and practised.
22. The staff of public assembly and entertainment buildings should be instructed and trained in fire routines, including evacuation procedures. Advice should be sought on this also, if necessary, from the fire authority.
23. Buildings used for public assembly and entertainment should be regularly inspected while the public are on the premises by the authority responsible for imposing requirements for public safety so as to ensure that the appropriate regulations, conditions of licence or certificate and codes of good practice are being complied with.
24. The staffs of public buildings, or a proportion of them, should be in-structed in the use of fire-fighting equipment provided in the building. If a special fire-fighting party is maintained it should have a high standard of efficiency and engage in drills and practices. If this cannot be assured to the satisfaction of the fire brigade for the area it is better to dispense with the special fire-fighting party. The fire brigade should be called to every alarm of fire.
25. The managements of public buildings should assure themselves, in consultation with the fire authority for the area, that access to their buildings for fire-fighting purposes is satisfactory.
26. Fire alarm systems should be regularly tested and a record kept of the tests.
30. Where a fire alarm system incorporates a mechanism whereby either the public warning signal or a call to the fire brigade can be placed on delay the mechanism for this purpose should, if possible, be so designed that the period of delay cannot readily be altered without reference to the fire authority.
31. Planning for the erection of a public building should include the preparation of a schedule of the means of escape. Means of escape should conform to modern regulations and codes of practice, including suitable provision for alternative escape routes, limited travel distances on unprotected routes, adequate width in escape routes and exit doors and the correct design of protected escape routes and stairways.
32. Public buildings in which the disposition of facilities involves separation of parents from their children should if possible be so arranged that the separate facilities are confined to one floor level. Where parents and their children are likely to use different floors the building should be provided with generous means of escape and the arrangements for marshalling during an evacuation of the building should be designed to give special confidence both to parents and children during the emergency.
33. Diagrammatic plans showing escape routes should be publicly displayed in assembly and entertainment buildings. They should be supplemented by prominently displayed directional signs showing the routes to be taken to emergency exits.
34. In places of public assembly and entertainment doors intended for use in an emergency should never be locked while the public are on the premises, even if keys for the locks are provided in adjacent boxes. All exit doors should be readily openable from within at all such times. Advice as to suitable fastening should be sought, if necessary, from the fire authority.