Fire regulations allow for the use of alternative solutions to those prescribed in regulations if equivalent outcomes are achieved. Regulatory flexibility promotes architectural creativity and engineering innovation.
The CSTB uses its recognized expertise in fire safety engineering to support stakeholders developing new solutions. Fire safety engineering is a performance-based approach to fire safety by contrast with prescriptive approaches. It is appropriate during the design of innovative construction works, renovation of older buildings or those with complex geometry or uses, and evaluate the effectiveness of fire safety solutions. It can be used by architects, consulting firms, clients and operators looking for the optimal balance between cost and safety consistent with the architectural design and intended use of the work.
For a global approach to innovation beyond the matter of fire safety, lthe Technical Experimentation Assessment (ATEx) procedure provides an expert opinion on all technical concerns related to an innovation.
Technical Experimentation Assessment (ATEx) and regulatory flexibility
For residential buildings
To promote architectural creativity and the use of technological innovations, article 105 of the order of January 31, 1986, amended on June 19, 2015, allows the use of construction devices or systems not covered by the order, subject to meeting the same requirements.
The use of those devices or systems not covered by the order is subject to a joint request for approval submitted to the Interior Ministry and Construction ministry.
The request includes a laboratory evaluation of the resistance or reaction to fire and/or a fire safety engineering study of fire resistance, reaction to fire and smoke removal. Before performing the engineering study, the objectives are validated by the ministries responsible for issuing the approval. Acting as the lead body approved by the Interior Ministry, the CSTB is authorized to perform all these services.
For high-rise buildings and premises open to the public
Authorizations, in compliance with fire regulations, can prescribe extensions or limitations to the requirements based on an application submitted by the client. This makes it possible to offer solutions that differ from those prescribed in the regulations, thus fostering architectural creativity and innovation while adhering to the same safety requirements.
The justifications for the request for approval or authorization from the Interior Ministry are submitted in accordance with the provisions of articles R122-11-1 and R123-13 of the French Building and Housing Code, in addition to the provisions of article GN4 of the order of June 25, 1980.