According to the document published in 2012 by the European Environment Agency (EEA), Europe will experience over the next few decades some effects caused by climate change. The expected changes are not uniform throughout the mainland, but they can be summarised in a number of homogeneous areas. Table 1 illustrates the qualitative trends provided in seven climatic regions. Continue reading “Fire risks and new threats from climate change to libraries and archives”
The standard describes principles and practices of protection for cultural resource properties (museums, libraries, and places of worship etc.), their contents, and collections, against conditions or physical situations with the potential to cause damage or loss. The updates for the 2017 edition include:
- expanded provisions for outdoor collections and archaeological sites and their protection against wildfire;
- further clarification of sprinkler system corrosion protection criteria;
- mandated integrated system testing per NFPA 4, Standard for Integrated Fire Protection and Life Safety System Testing;
- the addition of numerous events to Annex B, Fire Experience in Cultural Properties.
According to the 909 code, libraries, museums, and places of worship housed in historic structures have also to comply with the requirements of NFPA 914 (Code for Fire Protection of Historic Structures).
The standard includes provisions for fire prevention, emergency operations, fire safety management, security, emergency preparedness and inspection, testing, and maintenance of protection systems.
As in the previous editions, criteria are provided for new construction, addition, alteration, renovation, and modification projects, along with specific rules addressing places of worship and museums, libraries, and their collections.
VENICE – SCUOLA GRANDE DI SAN GIOVANNI EVANGELISTA
20 September 2012: International Workshop – Protecting historic centres during emergencies
The Italian National Fire Corps (CNVVF) has organized the meeting, which will address to historical centers emergency. The use of IT technologies in this field and the techniques used to put in place provisional works to save historical buildings after an earthquake will be shown, with reference to the l’Aquila earthquake experience.
Some presentation will show problems of fire protection in historical buildings.
Session 1 – Technical codes and case studies –
Chairman Maurizio Crovato (Chief editor of RAI International)
- 10.00 Nfpa 909 and 914 and statistics – Donald Moeller – Deborah Freeland (NFPA)
- 10.20 Fire standards in Italy: problems and solutions – Luca Nassi (CNVVF)
- 10.40 Toronto Distillery district – Fred Leber (Leber/Rubes Inc.)
- 11.00 Protection of the Historical Architecture and criteria of Equivalent Safety – Renata Codello (Soprintendency of Venice)
- 11.50 Thun Castle – Francesco Notaro, Emanuele Gissi (CNVVF)
- 12.10 Lexington Historic district – Danny Mac Daniel (Colonial Williamsburg Foundation)
- 12.30 FSE applied to historical building in Venice – Andrea Ferrari – Luciano Nigro (AIIA – SFPE Italian Chapter)
- 12.50 Alaska Historic Area – Steve Peterson (US Department of the Interior)
13.10 Questions and discussion
Session 2 – Emergency management – Chairman Loris Munaro (CNVVF)
- 14.30 ICT and emergencies in historic districts – Stefano Marsella (CNVVF)
- 14.50 Mass Notification – Tom Norton (Norel Service Company) – Wayne Moore (Hughes Associates, Inc)
- 15.10 Heritage buildings and the L’Aquila and Emilia earthquakes: lessons learnt – Marco Cavriani (CNVVF) – Stefano Grimaz (Udine University)
- 15.30 Training the staff to fire and other emergencies: the National Trust experience – Steve Emery (English Heritage)
DOWNLOAD THE LEAFLET: Venice Provisional Program – vers. 29.8.2012
The strategy of protection of historical building against fire risk is different from almost any other type of building. In the most of case, the objective of fire protection, in fact, is preserving occupants of buildings or the their structure. Sometimes the concern is both. In the case of fire protection of historical buildings, preservation must find solutions that are consistent with the particular needs of the building: such goal needs freedom e cannot be achieved with prescriptive approaches, which have been developed with the typical building in mind.
The most common gap of prescriptive systems, when applied to heritage buildings, in that they do not work well in unique buildings, when the possible solutions are constrained. Frequently encountered constraints include aesthetic objections to:
- the degree of compartmentation required in the regulations;
- the inability to meet egress requirements such as the required number of exits or maximum travel distances;
- The frequent impossibility in installing active fire fighting systems
When these situations occur, designers usually use the equivalency provisions included in most prescriptive regulations. But such provisions normally have been studied for specific occupancy types and must be continually recalibrated as the prescriptive requirements evolve.
In this situation, performance-based regulations allow to meet conservation needs with safety standards provisions.
Explicit goals and objectives for life safety and historic preservation can be applied to performance solutions. Hazards and safety deficiencies should be identified in order to determine compliance options that satisfy safety objectives, respecting historical/aesthetical features. Solutions can be selected from traditional, prescriptive solutions or performance analysis approaches. Using such method, it’s fundamental that all parties involved in the construction understand the significant features that are to be preserved.
Other issues of paramount importance in dealing with fire safety of cultural heritage is the need for special care during:
- work projects when the structure is particularly vulnerable. When there are temporary collections of combustibles and construction equipment as well as operations that can represent sources of ignition not normally present. Ceilings and walls may be open for repair, exposing combustible structural elements and void spaces that might allow a fire to spread throughout the structure. Existing fire protection equipment may be disabled or removed as a part of the work.
- special events that may bring large occupant loads, consumption of alcohol that may impair these occupants, and catering or special food preparation activities that can involve additional quantities of combustibles and ignition sources. All activities at special events need to be evaluated and precautions taken to avoid threats.
Performance-based approach can help all the parts interested in preserving and using cultural heritage buildings in reaching safety goals without sacrificing the buildings themselves or their possibility to be used. Fire safety engineering can help in designing safety features as well as special events and construction/renovation works. Existing codes can be used as reference in order to check the performance of the buildings against safety level of common buildings.