SCDF revises Fire Code with help of computer simulations, data analytics

(From left) Commissioner of the SCDF Eric Yap; Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development Sun Xueling; chairman of the National Fire and Civil Emergency Preparedness Council Alan Loh; and Director
(From left) Commissioner of the SCDF Eric Yap; Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development Sun Xueling; chairman of the National Fire and Civil Emergency Preparedness Council Alan Loh; and Director of Fire Safety & Shelter Department, Senior Assistant Commissioner Christopher Tan launching the revised Fire Code at the annual Fire Safety Seminar held at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre on Aug 21, 2018.PHOTO: SCDF
(From left) Commissioner of the SCDF Eric Yap; Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development Sun Xueling; chairman of the National Fire and Civil Emergency Preparedness Council Alan Loh; and Director
(From left) Commissioner of the SCDF Eric Yap; Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development Sun Xueling; chairman of the National Fire and Civil Emergency Preparedness Council Alan Loh; and Director of Fire Safety & Shelter Department, Senior Assistant Commissioner Christopher Tan launching the revised Fire Code at the annual Fire Safety Seminar held at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre on Aug 21, 2018.PHOTO: SCDF

SINGAPORE - When the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) undertook the task of revising the fire code for buildings, it turned to supercomputers and data analytics.

These helped it determine, among other things, the ideal size and location of smoke vents in an auditorium, so that fumes would not hinder evacuation during a fire.

This was disclosed at the annual Fire Safety Seminar at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre organised by the National Fire and Civil Emergency Preparedness Council and SCDF yesterday.

The latest changes to the Fire Code, which is into its eighth edition, were announced at the event.

They include new smoke detector regulations for new homes.

Under the rule, all single-storey homes must have one device installed in the living room.

Multi-storey homes need at least one device on each floor, and floors that are larger than 70 sq m will require two smoke detectors.

The rule, which was first revealed in November, affects homes for which building plans were submitted to the SCDF after June 1.

To give the building industry time to adapt to the revised code, there will be a six-month grace period.

The SCDF also used data analytics of past fire incidents and conducted studies comparing local fire code and those overseas, said Ms Sun Xueling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and National Development.

Findings from the studies were presented to the Fire Code review committee, which was chaired by the SCDF and included representatives from the building industry, government agencies and professional institutions such as the Singapore Institute of Architects.

Ms Sun also said that the SCDF will be launching an online, interactive version of the Fire Code known as the E-Fire Code

, which will be ready by the end of next February.

Engineers will no longer have to manually refer to multiple documents and annexes, as the code will use links for easy referencing to other clauses, she added.

The E-Fire Code will also include search functions for specific clauses, and any changes made will be noted with a time stamp.

She added that the revised code is also easier to understand. "We need to rely on the building industry and fire safety practitioners like yourselves, to ensure that buildings are compliant... and to ensure that building occupants are ready to respond in the event of a fire."