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Architecture and Building Regulations

Design

We all live within a set of rules and regulations that help us govern our lives in a manner in which we can live amongst a larger group, in our case on beautiful islands! From laws regarding crime to building restrictions, the most important regulations are intended to help mitigate risks and prevent tragedy.

As architects, engineers and designers, an important aspect of our work is to design buildings that meet the requirements of building codes and safety regulations. We are trusted to design these protocols into buildings. Although some requirements are obvious, other regulations are not immediately recognisable or understood which may result in unnecessary risks to the building's users.

Things such as the travel distance to the nearest exit, the capacity of an exit and its components (corridors, doors and stairs), the required fire ratings, the specifications for fire rated and emergency hardware, and identification of exits and safety zones are essential for proper risk reduction. In addition, the building’s set back from the street, distance from neighbouring structures and appropriate use of cladding materials, ensure that a structure is code compliant upon completion. They are all intended to provide for safe and quick emergency egress from a building whenever required and under all circumstances.

However, in spite of code compliant planning and construction, it is not unusual to observe instances of noncompliant use by tenants and users. Observations have been made where emergency exit corridors and emergency staircases are used as storage spaces, emergency exit doors have bolts and locks, and adequate fire/smoke detection systems are missing or in ill-repair. Also, all too frequently ground level exits leading into the street are locked down. Instead, these exits should have an emergency exit device installed at the gate allowing emergency escape.

Although these safety codes and regulations are considered throughout every step of the design process, from initial concept to construction in order to be effective, they must be adhered to throughout the structure’s life. It is important that the general public becomes aware of the codes and regulations governing building construction and use. It could be the difference between being trapped in a disaster or escaping that disaster in a safe and orderly manner.

If you have any questions or want more information please don't hesitate to contact us! We're happy to share our knowledge regarding architecture and building regulations.

by: Cedric Holder