Fire safety models for high-rise residential buildings in Malaysia
Yatim, Yahya Mohamad
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This research investigated the effects of escape route design and specification, and time taken on evacuation process in high-rise residential buildings in Malaysia. The aim is to produce a fire safety model on how fire safety standards in high-rise residential buildings can be achieved by investigating the relationship between human behaviour and structural design, particularly escape route design and specification. In Malaysia, research on fire safety is very new, particularly research on provision of fire safety in high-rise residential buildings. The number of fire cases involved residential buildings is significantly high compared to other building types. Thus, escape routes in high-rise residential buildings should be designed and constructed to enable the occupants to evacuate the building as soon as fire has been detected. Mixed methodologies i.e. quantitative and qualitative methods were adopted in this research. There are three research methods adopted i.e. observation, simulation and questionnaire. Observations were carried out to identify any problems encountered and to develop the study models for further analysis. Investigations of the effects of escape route design and specification on evacuation process were carried out using specialist software, i.e. Simulex, which simulates the evacuation of people from the building. The aim is to study escape route specifications i.e. staircase, fire door and corridor. Questionnaire surveys were than carried out to investigate the occupant’s characteristics, behaviours, perceptions and motivation factors to evacuate the building. From this research, fire safety models proposed for high-rise residential buildings as follows, (1) Fire safety model to achieve fire safety standard in high-rise residential buildings, (2) Escape route designs and specifications, and, (3) Human behaviour model. There are five fire safety components that need to be enhanced i.e. (1) Fire Safety Awareness, (2) Fire Safety Design, (3) Fire Safety Equipments and Evacuation Skill, (4) Fire Safety Audit, and (5) Fire Safety Enforcement. Besides, there are four factors which highly influence the evacuation process, fire and casualty risk i.e.: (1) People behaviour – knowledge and experience, (2) building element and escape routes design, (3) active fire protection system, and (4) legislation and enforcement.