Sample Masters Fire and Construction Assignment

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Construction Fire and Safety Management


Fires are a hazard that can lead to extensive damage, deaths, and injuries. Fire safety and prevention strategies need to be based on clear, specific, and precise goals. This paper aims to study several hazards and fire incidents.

Stardust Disco Fire 1981

The Stardust fire occurred in Stardust nightclub in Artane, Dublin, Ireland, on 14th February 1981. The cause of the fire was a technical problem that occurred after an electrical fault in the room beside the roof space (Gorse & Sturges, 2017). The storage room had dangerous flammable materials, including cooking oil.

Consequently, the fire spread from the rooftop to other areas of the nightclub. An estimated 48 people died, while 214 were injured due to the fire. The effect of the fire was criticism of the nightclub that did not implement proper fire safety practices. Some emergency doors had been locked and blocked on the night of the fire (Gorse & Sturges, 2017).

Additionally, the use of substandard construction materials was identified as increasing the death toll.  Many of the people in the nightclub did not immediately evacuate the facility as they watched the fire develop. They were unaware of the speed with which fire could develop in a confined space.

Emergency lighting did not operate during the fire, while a lack of resources severely plagued the local fire service because they could not inspect the site (Buchanan & Abu, 2017). The authorities were unaware of fire hazards and the positions of some hydrants. A government tribunal recommended that fire and safety should be controlled and directed by the central government so that individual fire brigades can respond to any challenges. A national inspectorate of fire services was proposed to develop a robust response to catastrophic events.

Bradford City Stand Fire

The cause of Bradford City Stand Fire was the accidental dropping of a cigarette by a spectator. The human cause was considered to have resulted in the event.  Some 56 people died in the event, with 256 people being injured in the fire. It is considered the worst fire disaster in the history of British football (Clegg & Challenger, 2015).

Compensation was given to 154 claimants, with £20 million being the highest. Some £4 million has already been paid to the claimants.  An inquiry by Oliver Popplewell was initiated that introduced safety legislation at football grounds. Wooden grandstands were prohibited at all sports facilities and the instant shutting of all wooden stands.

Smoking was banned in wooden stops as part of the Inquiry’s safety changes (Clegg & Challenger, 2015).  Stadiums in the UK prioritize crowd safety as their primary design principle. Exits and entrances are made in such a way to deal with large numbers of people and respond to major incidents. Moreover, concrete, steel, and fire-rated glass are used to reduce risks resulting from fires (Clegg & Challenger, 2015).

Piper Alpha Explosion and Fire

The accident occurred because of the leak in condensates due to maintenance work being done on a safety valve and high-pressure condensate pumps. The pressure safety valve had been removed for maintenance because the condensate pipe remained temporarily sealed (Shallcross, 2013).

The night crew turned on the alternate pump which prevented the blind flange from handling the pressure. The result was several explosions that occurred on the oil platform.  It was human errors that led to the accident. Some 167 people were killed, while 61 workers were able to escape and survive. The platform accounted for 10% of North Sea oil and gas production.

A controversy remained as to whether sufficient time for effective emergency evacuation existed. The personnel with authority to order evacuations had been killed in the first explosion. Platform design did not have blast walls. Moreover, Tartan and Claymore were platforms that continued to send oil and gas to Piper Alpha until the pipeline ruptured in the second explosion (Wang, 2014).

Subsequently, operating equipment, information of platform personnel, design of platforms, and information of emergency services were developed for all oil platforms. The Offshore Installations Regulations 1992 was passed to prevent future disasters.

9/11 World Trade Centre Terrorist Attack

The 9/11 World Trade Center attacks were caused by human terrorism when hijackers piloting civilian airlines crashed them on the towers. Some 2763 civilians, policemen, and passengers of the airlines died during the event (Purkiss & Li, 2013). The impact of the aircraft had caused extensive structural damage and localized collapse. The resulting fires led to a weakening of steel-framed structures that led to the collapse of the buildings.

Subsequent inquiries found that jet fuel causes ignition of fires that were hot but not capable of melting the floors and columns (Purkiss & Li, 2013). It was concluded that the fires had induced additional stresses to the damaged structural frames while diminishing and weakening the frames (Purkiss & Li, 2013). It was recommended that fire resistance should be measured in other buildings when sprinklers are unavailable. The effects of thermal expansion on floor support systems were to be considered a priority by officials.

Grenfell Tower Fire

There were multiple causes for the Grenfell Tower Fire. A faulty fridge-freezer was considered as a direct cause because electrical power surges caused appliances to smoke.  The aluminum-polyethylene cladding and PIR insulation plates were inadequate because they failed fire safety tests. Furthermore, cavity barriers were insufficient and incorrectly installed, with the result that they failed to prevent the spread of fire (McKee, 2017).

Additionally, windows were less fire resistant and insufficient size that allowed the fire to spread. The effects of the fire were an extensive debate on fire and safety regulations in the United Kingdom. Flammable cladding on buildings, for instance, needs to be higher than 22 m and require segregated fire-stairs (McKee, 2017). A single staircase in high-rise buildings was criticized as being against fire safety regulations.

Moreover, external walls need to have one hour’s fire resistance to prevent them from spreading. UK building codes focus on preventing horizontal fire spread instead of vertical fire spread. Sprinkler systems and extra escape staircases were recommended as important to reduce losses in future fires (Cowlard et al., 2013).

Area of Similarities

All the events described here point towards the implementation of adequate fire safety and prevention measures. Preventive measures need to be implemented while proper training of personnel to prevent fires from causing extensive deaths and damages (Cowlard et al., 2013).

The terrorist attacks and accidents analysis suggests that fire prevention and safety should be based on having proper evacuation routes and exits. Moreover, emergency lighting and fire alarms must be present to allow people to successfully evacuate the premises. For instance, the Stardust Disco Fire 1981 did not have emergency lighting or fire alarms in the premises damages (Cowlard et al., 2013).

The presence of firefighting equipment can help to mitigate losses and destruction of property. Appropriate facilities for the fire brigade are important, as demonstrated in several of the above events since the rapid reaction can ensure high levels of safety and reduced casualties damages (Cowlard et al., 2013).

Additionally, proper construction materials, evacuation measures, and safety standards need to be implemented for achieving success. Fire safety and management need to be implemented through the use of integrated and coordinated strategies. There is the need for adequate measures that can lead to sound outcomes concerning safety and prevention.

Building codes for buildings and offshore facilities need to be upgraded so that the management can plan proper safety measures and comply with legislation (Purkiss & Li, 2013).  The analysis of several events suggests that a good strategy should identify and develop objectives for means of escape, including travel distances, escape within buildings, escape within common areas, number of escape routes, and final discharge widths based on occupancy load factors (Purkiss & Li, 2013).

Conclusion and Recommendations

Fire safety and management are important as buildings must have proper operating procedures to respond to fires. Moreover, it is important to use proper materials and have adequate fire evacuation protocols to reduce damage and fatalities (Shallcross, 2013). Risk assessment of structures and facilities needs to be undertaken to achieve maximum success in reducing the impact of fires.

The analysis of the above events shows the need for continuous improvement concerning fire and safety regulations. Each event makes it vital for having an engineered fire risk strategy that can identify the extent of fire protection needed in any facility (Shallcross, 2013). Unprotected areas and external wall construction standards must be upgraded while internal and external fire spread should be evaluated properly.

Fire resistance, elements of structure, fire stopping, and fire suppressant systems need to be placed to protect facilities. There must be proper applicable design standards for external vehicle access, hydrants, location and number of access points, fire fighting lifts, internal access, and other areas to ensure that fire services can respond rapidly to any catastrophe (Shallcross, 2013).  Fire safety management must be part of protocols in any facility by identifying proper management issues, control of evacuation, and fire safety planning.


Buchanan, A. H., & Abu, A. K. (2017). Structural design for fire safety. John Wiley & Sons.

Clegg, C. W., & Challenger, R. (2015). Crowd disasters: a socio-technical systems perspective. In Crowds in the 21st Century (pp. 92-109). Routledge.

Cowlard, A., Bittern, A., Abecassis-Empis, C., & Torero, J. (2013). Fire safety design for tall buildings. Procedia Engineering62, 169-181.

Gorse, C., & Sturges, J. (2017). Not what anyone wanted: Observations on regulations, standards, quality, and experience in the wake of Grenfell. Construction Research and Innovation8(3), 72-75.

McKee, M. (2017). Grenfell Tower fire: why we cannot ignore the political determinants of health. BMJ: British Medical Journal (Online)357.

Purkiss, J. A., & Li, L. Y. (2013). Fire safety engineering design of structures. CRC Press.

Shallcross, D. C. (2013). Using concept maps to assess learning of safety case studies–The Piper Alpha disaster. Education for Chemical Engineers8(1), e1-e11.

Wang, Y. C. (2014). Steel and composite structures: Behaviour and design for fire safety. CRC Press

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