Building and fire safety codes in hotel development

Local building codes must be incorporated into each hotel design of course, yet the important step of ensuring all furniture, fittings and interior finishes are as fire and flame resistant as desired is perhaps not on the radar screen sufficiently enough during the design process for many independents, who do not have the support structure of a brand development team.

One important topic on this subject, and probably the most and single largest fire hazard in a hotel is the choice of all furniture, fixtures and interior finishes, with beddings at the top of the list where many fires over the years have initiated from.

The rating for all these materials is based on their ability to reduce the spread of fire and minimize smoke. All this is a bit complicated, as there obviously is a fine balance between the choices of visual attractiveness, wear and tear, and fire spread ability.

The importance of the Interior Designer, with the major responsibilities associated with this topic is more important in hotels than other building types. Hoteliers use what is called the coordination matrix, a tool to ensure that all responsibilities in the relationship between the architect and the interior designer are taken into account. The biggest issue is usually within the fixed décor, the finishes that apply to walls, ceilings, and millwork, and the make up of the guest bedroom.

So for all those smaller independent developers, not associated with brands and therefore unable to use their development teams who have years of experience in advising owners and developers, the responsibility is on their shoulders to ensure the right questions are asked to get the right results.

All interior finishing should have a smoke development rating less than 300. In cruise ships it is far less than that.

I wonder how many small independent hotel developers and operators have even thought about this in some parts of the world, let alone implemented it 90% correctly.

Add to that, budget limitations, capacity of exits, fire breaks in design, occupant load issues, travel distance to protected area, fire resistive and fire-retardant and other non flammable materials and you get the point – do not take short cuts with the quality appointment of the Interior Designer and a Hotel Consultant to guide him or her.

For hotel development support, working with your Interior Designer to get it all right, contact

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