An Overview of Fire Safety Design Philosophy ( FSDP ) – Part 1

Any project development clustered as a ‘high hazard’ requires special consideration and approval from respective authorities. In Malaysia, the industrial practitioner is expected to be commonly exposed to such reports prepared by professional consultants such as the Control of Industrial Major Accidents Hazard (CIMAH) report of the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report by Department of Environment (DOE) for example, but very rare to hear about the Fire Safety Design Philosophy (FSDP) report that has been widely practised since 2003 altogether with Performance-Based Approach (PBA) for the non-compliance of the prescriptive code.

So, what is the Fire Safety Design Philosophy ( FSDP ) all about?

In principle, FSDP is a technical assessment scrutinized by professionals in order to determine the potential fire hazard and risk including possibilities of the explosion to occur (radius impact study) and dissemination of toxic release fume where all of these consequences is potential to cause fatalities, injuries of the workers and nearby people surrounding of the incident place including property damages.

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Through the FSDP report, the competent practitioner will determine the appropriate fire prevention system to be successfully designed, install and tested with the clarified hazardous materials processing involve, bulk storage and production, a complex industrial chemicals and petrochemicals process and production, power plant facilities and others where the needs of installation of this fire prevention system is not clearly defined in prescriptive code (UBBL,1984-10th schedule) or (SBO-By Law,1994-Schedule J). Determination of the appropriate fire prevention system is made by the assessment of the fire hazard and risk which existed inside the premises.

The needs for FSDP preparation

In line with the allotment of Uniform Building By-Law (1984), By-Law 236, where the Director-General of Fire-Rescue Department of Malaysia ( FRDM ) could request any building owners to have a fixed installation system of special fire detection and extinguishing systems if the said premises have a potential hazard and risk due to its large storage, trend, occupancy or its size.

Moreover, referring to the 10th schedule of UBBL-By Law or Schedule J of SBO By-Law also indicate that the purpose group for factory (VI) which running the hazardous material processing and production or bulk storage requires providing a fixed prevention and suppression system. Unfortunately, both allotment (By-Law 236 & 10th schedule/ Schedule J) does not clearly define the types of firefighting and fire safety installation systems required. Hence, the FSDP assessment is needed to overcome this matter.

The purpose of FSDP is to determine the best appropriate firefighting and fire prevention system of the premises based on hazard and risk assessment conducted inside the premises considering various factors as explained in the above paragraph. It also serves as a guideline to FRDM personnel (Fire Safety Officer) during plan processing and documents verification for architectural and M&E plan approval.

Here are building categories that are required for submitting the FSDP report which are; dangerous/high-risk buildings, dangerous/high-risk industrial buildings, industrial chemicals and petrochemical plants, power plant generating facilities, any buildings not categorized in the purpose group of UBBL By-Law/SBO By-Law and buildings with unique, complex and special design.

Processing plan involved with FSDP

The principal submitting person (PSP) or architect will inform the FRDM regarding the proposed development plan and would officially apply to meet up for a technical discussion in order to determine the firefighting and fire prevention system proposed for the project development. The PSP together with the consultant or known as submitting person (SP) will present the technical presentation to FRDM regarding the proposed development plan.

Normally, the content of the discussion in the earlier stage is merely focused on the proposed project development introduction, the design concept of the building, the exact location of the proposed site and the activity of the business including fire prevention requirements.

From the above discussion, the appointed SP will prepare the FSDP accordingly and will present the outcome to FRDM again to finalize the proposed firefighting and fire prevention system of FSDP based on hazard and risk assessment conducted. In FESDES, one of our methods for the assessment is by using special design software to run a simulation, such as computational fluids dynamics (CFD).

The compiled document (hard copy) later on will be submitted officially to FRDM if there is no amendment to be made after the presentation for written approval by FRDM. Then, the architectural and M&E plan will be submitted according to the FSDP report for plan approval.

The content of the FSDP

As an Experienced and Registered Fire Engineering Firm in Malaysia, FESDES is allowed by FRDM to conduct the FSDP studies and the report is prepared only by a Professional and registered Fire Safety Engineer, Mechanical Engineer and Chemical Engineer with a minimum of 5 years in the related field. The content of the FSDP, in general, is listed below:

  • Introduction
  • List of Consultants
  • Finish Products and Raw Materials
  • Building and Structures
  • Product Processes
  • Hazard and Risk Analysis
  • Fire Protection System including Fire Hydrant and Access Road
  • Water Supply Requirements for Fire Control and Extinguishment
  • Emergency Response Set-up
  • Maintenances of Fire Protection Systems
  • Fire Safety Training
  • Codes and Standards for System Design
  • Conclusion

As part of any design and development process, hazard and risk identification are required to determine the different levels of hazards and fire risk areas. National Fire Protection Association 704 (NFPA 704) will be adopted as a tool for these purposes.

Part 2

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