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Planning Gateway One - Glossary

Planning Gateway One - Glossary

The content in this section is provided by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)1

  1. https://www.hse.gov.uk/index.htm
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The following glossary is not exhaustive but seeks to provide an explanation of the words, terms and acronyms used in our advice to local planning authorities. These are terms that planners and others, who don’t have a fire safety design background, may be unfamiliar with.

A2 s1 d0 - The minimum non-combustible fire rating for materials used on the external walls of tall residential buildings.

accessible rooms - Rooms that are designed or adapted for use by people with a disability.

amenity area - A communal area that can be a room or an outside space, used for the enjoyment of the residents and their visitors.

ancillary accommodation - Rooms or spaces in a building used to support the residential use, such as refuse stores, cycle stores, plant rooms and storerooms.

active fire protection system - Fire protection system which in the event of fire can function only

Approved Document B (ADB) - The statutory guidance produced by government on how to meet the fire requirements in the building regulations in some common building situations.

Area of higher fire risk - Room or other area which, because of its function and/or contents, presents a greater risk of fire occurring and developing than elsewhere.

Automatic Opening Vent (AOV) - A vent provided for smoke control in common parts, which opens automatically when smoke is detected by smoke detectors.

Basement - A storey with a floor which at some point is more than 1.2 m below the highest level of ground adjacent to the outside walls

Bridgehead - A safe position inside a building from which to carry out firefighting operations. Usually, a bridgehead will be established 2 floors below the fire.

BS:7974 - BSI fire safety standard for fire engineered designs

BS:9991 - BSI fire safety standard for the design, management and use of residential buildings.

BS:9999 - BSI fire safety standard for commercial buildings

Building control process - The process of reviewing a proposed building to see if it’s design meets the functional requirements of building regulations.

Building control body (BCB) - A local authority or approved building inspector that makes decisions on building regulations applications.

Building management - The processes and arrangements for managing health and safety measures in a building.

Building regulations - Legislation that set standards for the performance of buildings including structural and fire safety requirements.

Building Safety Regulator (BSR) - A function of the Health and Safety Executive that is responsible for overseeing the safety and standards of all buildings, improving the competence of the built environment industry, and implementing the regulatory framework for high-rise buildings.

Charged hose or pipe - Not empty, already filled with water.

Cluster accommodation/flat - A group of habitable rooms with shared facilities such as a kitchen and communal lounge, commonly found in student accommodation.

Code-compliant - A design or design feature that has followed a fire safety standard or guidance.

Covered carpark - A car park that has a roof.

Defend in place evacuation strategy - Used in purpose-built blocks of flats where residents not in an area directly impacted by fire stay inside their flat with doors and windows shut. Also referred to as “stay put” strategy or policy.

Dry riser/dry rising main/dry fire main - A water supply pipe installed in a building for fire-fighting purposes, fitted with inlet connections at fire service access level and landing valves at specified points, which is normally dry but is capable of being charged with water usually by pumping from fire and rescue service appliances.

Duplex - A flat with two storeys.

Escape staircase - A protected staircase primarily intended to be used by occupiers and residents to escape a building from upper floors.

Evacuation lift - A protected lift that is designed to work during an emergency to evacuate residents.

External wall system - The external wall of a building includes all of the following.

  • Anything located within any space forming part of the wall.
  • Any decoration or other finish applied to any external (but not internal) surface forming part
  • of the wall.
  • Any windows and doors in the wall.
  • Any part of a roof pitched at an angle of more than 70 degrees to the horizontal if that part of the roof adjoins a space within the building to which persons have access, but not access only for the purpose of carrying out repairs or maintenance

Fire and rescue service (FRS) - The local fire brigade.

Fire appliance - A fire engine.

Fire compartment - Enclosed space, which may be subdivided, separated from adjoining spaces within the building by elements of construction having a specified fire resistance.

Fire curtain - Moveable screen designed to close an opening or divide an area within a building so as to prevent or restrict the spread of fire, smoke or fire gases. Deployed during an emergency.

Fire door - A door that is designed to resist the passage of fire and smoke for a period of time.

Fire engineered design/performance based design - A bespoke fire safety design for a building that includes the application of scientific and engineering principles to the protection of people, property and the environment from fire.

Fire hydrant - Assembly contained in a pit or box below ground level and comprising a valve and outlet connection from a water supply main.

Fire load - Quantity of heat which could be released by the complete combustion of all the combustible materials in a volume, including the facings of all surrounding surfaces.

Fire main - Water supply pipe, fitted with an outlet and control valve at specified points, installed in a building for fire-fighting purposes.

Fire risk assessment - Process of identification and evaluation of fire risk to people, property or the environment.

Fire separation - Separation or compartmentation within a building or area to restrict the spread of fire.

Fire service access - The point from outside at which firefighters can gain access to the firefighting shaft from the fire appliance.

Fire service access level - The floor from which firefighters can access the firefighting shaft. On a sloping site, this may not be the ground floor level if there is a lower ground floor.

Fire standards - Standards that set recommendations for fire safety design in different types of buildings.

Fire sterile - Free of obstructions, flammable/combustible material and ignition sources.

Fire strategy - A fire strategy is a document which sets out how adequate fire safety may be achieved in a building, subject to it being properly constructed and managed.

Firefighter physiology - The physical capacity of a firefighter to operate in onerous conditions.

Firefighting shaft - A protected enclosure that is vented and contains a firefighting stair, firefighting lobbies and, if provided, a firefighting lift together with its machine room.

Firefighting lift - A lift that meets minimum size requirements, that can be controlled by firefighters and used to transport firefighters and equipment vertically in a tall building.

Firefighting operations - Any action or procedure used by firefighters to protect life and property.

Firefighting water - Water used to extinguish a fire.

Gateway 2 (GW2) - The building control approval application process for higher-risk buildings. Approval must be given by the Building Safety Regulator before work can start.

Gateway 3 (GW3) - The completion certification application process for higher-risk building once a building is complete. For new higher-risk buildings, the building cannot be occupied before the Building Safety Regulator issues a completion certificate.

High-reach/aerial fire appliance - Fire service vehicle with an integrated ladder/platform system allowing access for firefighters and the delivery of water at heights in excess of those capable by removable ladders.

Hose laying distance - The distance from a fire main outlet in a firefighting shaft and the furthest point on the same floor (around any obstacles).

Land use planning matter / material planning consideration - A matter that should be taken into account in deciding a planning application or an appeal against a planning decision. Usually, but not limited to matters that affect the layout, use, external appearance, landscaping of a development, and its impact on the surrounding environment and amenity of others. Issues such as loss of view, the effect on the value of a property and minor internal alterations are not land use planning matters.

Lobby - An enclosed space out of which one or more other rooms or corridors lead.

Manual opening vent (MOV) - A vent provided for smoke control in common parts which is operated manually rather than activated by smoke detectors.

Mechanical smoke ventilation - Mechanical smoke ventilation systems use powered elements such as fans to force the movement of smoke to allow it to escape through ducts, vents or smoke shafts to outside.

Mist/fog sprinkler system - Water discharged from a nozzle in finely dispersed form (mist) at high pressure, used to rapidly absorb heat, eject smoke and minimize water damage.

Mobility impaired person (MIP) - A person with evacuation requirements that influences the fire safety construction, design and/or management of a building.

Multi-stair building - A building with at least 2 escape staircases serving all storeys.

Passive fire protection system - Fire protection system that carries out its function without requiring any manual or automatic initiation of its operation in the event of fire.

Performance based design - A bespoke fire safety design for a building that includes the application of scientific and engineering principles to the protection of people, property and the environment from fire.

Planning Gateway One (PGO) - The service provided by HSE as the statutory consultees for planning applications that include a relevant building.

Pressurised lobby - A lobby in which air is introduced by a fan to create pressure within the space to prevent smoke from entering.

Protected corridor - Circulation area consisting of a lobby or corridor enclosed with fire resistant construction (other than any part that is an external wall of a building).

Refuge - A protected area / safe space for people to await further evacuation.

Relevant building - A building that is 18m or more in height or 7 storeys or more, which contains at least 2 dwellings or educational accommodation.

Rising main/falling main - Vertical pipe installed in high buildings for the supply of water for firefighting

Simultaneous evacuation strategy - Procedure in which all parts of a building are evacuated following the giving of a common alarm of fire.

Single stair - A staircase which is the only means of escape and only firefighting access serving a building or a part of a building.

Small building -               A residential building less than 11m in height.

Smoke control - Measures to control the spread or movement of smoke and fire gases during a fire within a building.

Smoke shaft - Shaft provided to remove smoke in the event of fire

Sprinkler - Thermosensitive device designed to react at a predetermined temperature by automatically releasing a stream of water and distributing it in a specified pattern and quantity over a designated area.

Sprinkler system - Entire means of providing sprinkler protection in premises, comprising one or more sprinkler installations, the pipework to the installations, and the water supply/supplies, except town mains and bodies of water such as lakes or canals.

Stay put evacuation strategy - Used in purpose-built blocks of flats where residents not in an area directly impacted by fire can stay inside their flat with doors and windows shut unless directly affected by heat and smoke or directed to leave by the fire and rescue service. Sometimes also referred to as “defend in place”.

Tenable conditions - If exposed individuals are able to perform cognitive and motor-skill functions at an acceptable level, the exposure is said to be tenable.

Travel distance - Actual distance to be travelled by a person from any point within the floor area to the nearest storey exit, having regard to the layout of walls, partitions and fittings.

Wet riser - A water supply pipe installed in a building for fire-fighting purposes and permanently charged with water from a pressurised supply, and fitted with landing valves at specified points.


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    The Planning Portal is delivered by PortalPlanQuest Limited which is a joint venture between TerraQuest Solutions Limited and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). All content © 2024 Planning Portal.