25 February 2020: It is critical for modern buildings to have the necessary fire detection and protection systems in order to comply fully with the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act, 1977 (Act 103 of 1977), Fire Protection, as set out in SANS 10400 Part T: 2011. However, ensuring that a building is compliant often requires the involvement of a fire-engineering specialist such as ASP Fire right from the initial design phase, according to CEO Michael van Niekerk.
“The first question is what value we can add? If we are engaged early enough, we can often help architects avoid often costly mistakes when it comes to either over- or under-specifying fire-protection systems. This is largely due to the vast experience and track record we have in this regard,” van Niekerk comments.
While few architectural firms have the luxury of being able to work on a full range of projects, and invariably focus on a particular market sector, if they do secure a building type out of their normal area of specialisation, it is best to bring an expert like ASP Fire on-board.
“We have been involved with a number of high-profile building projects where we are able to reduce the total spend on fire protection by up to a tenth of the total budget, simply due to our innovative fire-engineering design recommendations.
“We understand how buildings work, and can collaborate with the entire professional team, from the architects to the mechanical and electrical engineers, as well as specialist areas such as hazardous storage and access control,” van Niekerk highlights. Smaller architectural practices are also unlikely to have an in-house fire engineer, which is where ASP Fire can play a vital role.
“One of our main aims is not only to make architects aware of the role of fire engineering in building design, but how important it is in terms of cost-efficiency to engage with an expert such as us from the outset. Where we have worked with architects in this regard, we quickly become integrated with the professional team,” van Niekerk stresses.
ASP Fire has worked on a wide range of projects, including industrial projects, and even packing houses in the agricultural industry. “In every instance, we have been able to make a significant contribution to the design, and also reduce the overall project cost. Architects also have peace of mind that their buildings are fully compliant, and have the correct fire detection and protection systems installed,” van Niekerk concludes