Historic buildings face the same fire risks and fall within the same fire safety legislation as their modern counterparts.

Properties listed as Grade 1 or Grade 2* are not immune from the requirements of the law.

Constructed long before the introduction of current regulations and Codes of Practice, our built heritage requires an innovative approach that is sympathetic to the need for conservation whilst ensuring that the benchmark standards of safety are achieved.

Over recent years Turnbull Fire Consultancy Ltd has been involved in fire safety consultancy for, and has carried out fire risk assessments in, heritage buildings performing a variety of purposes - including theatre buildings, factories and workshops, shops and restaurants, schools (including boarding schools), private homes and buildings divided into flats.

IFE Heritage SIG

The IFE Heritage Special Interest Group consists of people who have a particular interest in heritage buildings, and has determined that the work of the group will be:

To provide a focus for IFE activities in relation to heritage;

To ensure that IFE members can be involved in these activities and that the Institution and its membership (as a whole) will benefit from the outcome of these activities;

To identify and monitor existing research and guidance available;

To develop strands of work related to the type and use of heritage and historic buildings that do not have the benefit of comprehensive guidance documents;

To establish an annual work plan, to be agreed by the Technical Strategy and Advisory Committee of the IFE, that identifies the work to be undertaken during the course of each year;

To raise awareness of issues affecting fire safety in heritage and historic buildings and providing guidance that addresses these issues.

The Group is currently in the process of publishing the guidance documents Fire Safety in Historic Churches and the Guide to Fire Safety in Thatched Buildings. These guides will support the sensible application of fire safety principles that are sympathetic to the historical fabric of our communities.

National Trust

In 2005 Paul Turnbull was invited to spend a period of time seconded to the National  Trust with the following remit 

- Review
the management of fire safety within the Trust

- Audit the implementation of fire safety policies within historic properties

- Review the suitability of the Fire Standards Manual in the light of new legislation

On completion of the reviews Paul assisted the Senior Fire Officer for the Trust as he re-drafted the fire safety policy documents to align with the Fire Safety Order and the current set of guidance documents published by Central Government.  He also assisted in the creation of new fire risk assessment proformas to better suit the needs of the variety of premises managed by the organisation.

Paul drew together a team of fire safety specialists to develop two training packages specifically for the National Trust.  One of these packages was designed to train all members of staff in fire safety, fire-fighting and evacuation procedures.  The other package involved a higher understanding of fire safety principles and was aimed at those nominated as the Responsible Person within each of the wide variety of historic buildings throughout England and Wales.

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