Lifecycle of a building

Introduction

The lifecycle of a building is complex.  It refers to the view of a building over the course of its entire life – in other words, not just viewing it as an operational building, but also taking into account the various stages of its existence from preparation and brief to concept design, construction and finally through to adaption or disuse. 

Whilst every building is unique, the requirements of building structures are similar and frequently change during its functional working life.

This infographic is intended to help explain each phase of the building lifecycle.  As it moves through the lifetime of the building, it also identifies the key groups of people or organisations, which influence the life of a building structure and those, which would influence the use of sprinklers in the building.

1 Preparation and brief

The first phase of any building project involves discussions between the appointed architects/designers and the property owners, who will brief them on the proposed use of the building and outline any specific requirements.

Task/option:

  • Assess the potential risk, the importance of the facility and the values exposed at the start of this process
  • Sprinklers should be considered at the earliest opportunity; consider the protection they afford to offset the potential fire risk
  • Recognise the additional flexibility and design freedoms, which sprinklers can provide are often overlooked
  • Sprinklers can provide a more creative use of space giving rise to better and more creative design

Actors
Facility Managers
Insurers and Risk Managers
Property Owners and Investors
Local Government Authority
Architects, Designers, Engineers

Building lifecycle model courtesy of RIBA

2 Concept design

The concept design phase is led by the architects, designers and builders.  Having taken the initial brief from the property owners, the design team spend time looking at creative options and then present an initial concept of what the building will look like both internally and externally.  The property owners can then review the concept and ask further questions, request changes or make additional suggestions.

Task/option:

  • Consider the construction and design trade-ups from the installation of sprinklers
  • Consider the benefit of sprinklers to building users – the average property loss per fire is cut by one-half to two-thirds, compared to fires where sprinklers are not present
  • Consider the benefit of sprinklers to the local community and environment

Actors
Architects, Designers, Engineers
Builders, Constructors, Installers
Construction, Design and Maintenance
Facility Managers
Fire and Rescue Services
Insurers and Risk Managers
Property Owners and Investors
Insurers and Risk Managers

3 Developed design

Similar to the concept design phase, the developed phase is the next evolution of design concept.  The architects, designers, engineers and builders present a more detailed and finalised version of the concept incorporating any views, comments and requests from the property owners at the concept design phase.

Task/option:

  • Check the details of the fire safety measures before submission
  • Reduce building costs due to a reduction in passive fire protection systems
  • Increase the sustainability credentials of the building – beneficial to the submission

Actors
Architects, Designers, Engineers
Regulators, Inspectors and Enforcers
Builders, Constructors, Installers
Insurers and Risk Managers
Construction, Design and Maintenance
Product and Service Suppliers

4 Technical design

This is the final phase involving the architects, designers and engineers.  A final design of the building with full structural calculations will be submitted to the relevant local authority regulators and inspectors to ensure it adheres to the building regulations enforced by government.  Once approval is sought, but not before, the construction phase can begin.

Task/option:

  • Cross-check published guidance such as PAS 79, BS 5306-2, BS 7974 and BS 9999 as well as technical notes published by BAFSA to ensure the relevant design freedoms have been obtained through the use of sprinklers
  • Check whether the installation of a sprinkler system meets the need of the Approved Document B requirements of the Building Regulations

Actors
Arctects, Designers, Engineers
Builders, Constructors, Installers
Product and Service Suppliers
Insurers and Risk Managers
Product Testers and Certifiers
Construction, Design and Maintenance
Regulators, Inspectors and Enforcers

5 Construction

 The construction phase is the entire building process from initial construction to completion.  Whilst the builders, constructors and installers are the key people at this stage, there is a constant involvement from the regulators at the local authority throughout the process, to ensure the building is meeting the agreed specifications and requirements in the plan.

Task/option:

  • Ensure that all fire safety specifications included in the plan are being installed appropriately and as agreed with local planning authorities
  • Engage regulators and inspectors throughout the process to cross-check

Actors
Architects, Designers, Engineers
Construction, Design and Maintenance
Product and Service Suppliers
Fire and Rescue Services
Aftercare and Maintenance
Regulators, Inspectors and Enforcers
Builders, Constructors, Installers
Insurers and Risk Managers
Product Testers and Certifiers

6 Handover

The building is now complete and the official handover to the property owner takes place. The Fire and Rescue Service will become the enforcing authority and it is for the owner to ensure that the building meets all requirements and is safe for occupation.

Task/option:

  • Double check that all safety standards have been met prior to use of the building
  • Test all fire sprinkler systems to ensure they are working effectively prior to occupancy

Actors
Facility Managers
Property Owners and Investors
Fire and Rescue Services
Architects, Designers, Engineers
Construction, Design and Maintenance
Builders, Constructors, Installers
Insurers and Risk Managers

7 Use

The building is now in use by the property owners and/or tenants.

Task/option:

  • Remember that any owner or occupier is required to maintain their building in a fire-safe condition.
  • Establish who is responsible from the outset of the tenancy
  • Ensure that the sprinkler systems are regularly maintained by specialist installers

Actors
Occupiers and Duty Holders
Insurers and Risk Managers
Regulators, Inspectors and Enforcers
Property Owners and Investors
Aftercare and Maintenance
Facility Managers

8 Aftercare

If a building becomes vacant, it is still important to maintain the upkeep of the building.

Task/option:

  • Ensure that the sprinkler systems are regularly maintained by specialist installers
  • Ensure the fire risk assessment for the building is regularly updated by a competent person

Actors
Property Owners and Investors
Facility Managers
Regulators, Inspectors and Enforcers
Insurers and Risk Managers
Occupiers and Duty Holders
Aftercare and Maintenance
Fire and Rescue Services

9 Adaption

After the initial design and tenancy, buildings are frequently adapted for new occupiers or an alternative use.

Task/option:

  • Undertake a review of the existing sprinkler system
  • Adapt to meet new needs if required
  • Test and maintain as above

Actors
Facility Managers
Insurers and Risk Managers
Regulators, Inspectors and Enforcers
Fire and Rescue Services
Property Owners and Investors
Aftercare and Maintenance
Occupiers and Duty Holders

 

10 Disuse/Pending occupation

End of life of the building. Potential deconstruction or demolition.

Actors – Disuse
Insurers and Risk Managers
Facility Managers
Fire and Rescue Services
Regulators, Inspectors and Enforcers
Property Owners and Investors

Actors – Pending occupation
Insurers and Risk Managers
Fire and Rescue Services
Regulators, Inspectors and Enforcers