COST Action C17: Built Heritage: Fire Loss to Historic Buildings

 

The European Commission funded Cost Action C17 – Fire loss to historic buildings – has been one of the most  important activity on fire safety of historical and cultural buildings developed with EU funds that ended its activity in 2006. The intention of the Action was to address the significant physical and cultural loss of Europe’s built heritage to the damaging effects of fire.

Cover of the Cost C17 action booklet publications fire loss to built heritage
Cover of the Cost C17 action booklet publications fire loss to built heritage

Cost Action C17 (financed by the European Science Foundation under the European project of Cooperation in the field of science and technology program) has been active in the years 2002-2006 and has focused its  work on:

    • establishing a well-documented survey of up-to-date technical expertise to assist in influencing future developments in fire protection technology for use in historic buildings
    • defining an appropriate range of passive and active technical equipment countermeasures
    • considering alternative approaches to assist in stemming current loss levels
    • organising a series of conferences and/or workshops to develop thinking for effective risk assessment techniques and risk mapping using insurance company and other data
    • promoting findings and benefits of relevant risk assessment methodologies and property management support
    • effecting know-how dissemination through publishing proceedings and recommendations

 

The Final Report brochure of the Cost Action C17 may be downloaded from this post: COST Final Report Brochure

 

A presentation on fire protection system that can be used also of cultural heritage buildings based on the use of oxygen depleted atmospheres is the Hypoxic Air. This system has been presented during the Cost C17 Action meetings. In particular, in the downloadable document “Inert_Air_Presentation_for_COST_C17_Ljubljana_May_2006”  (presented during the joint NFPA – Cost C17 action meeting, held in Ljubljana on May 2006), it is possible to find some of the more important information about this system. The presentation has been made by Geir Jensen (COWI AS, Norway) and Jan Holmberg Department (Building Sciences, Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden).

Inert_Air_Presentation_for_COST_C17_Ljubljana_May_2006

Sprinkler systems are common in commercial and industrial buildings. In cultural heritage buildings, there are sometimes concerns about their use. The unintentional activation can damage paper documents or other artifacts that must be protected by moisture. Thus, the study of sprinkler reliability in such kind of building is important to develop a more effective strategy of protection against fire. The paper “Analysis of Sprinkler Failures in Listed Heritage Buildings – Analysis of unintended activations of water based extinguishing systems in Norwegian heritage buildings February 2006” has been written by Geir Jensen, Arvid Reitan and John Ivar Utstrandf for the Riksantikvaren (The Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage – RNDCH) and has been presented during the Cost C17 Action (Fire Loss to Built Heritage). It can be downloaded by this post:

Riksvantikvaren Analysis of Sprinkler Failures in Listed Heritage Buildings

Water mist for fire protection is a relatively new technology with specific advantages to the built heritage. Many fixed installations are commissioned throughout Europe and many research activities are ongoing or being considered.

The standard making processes does not currently address heritage applications, but performance- based codes are favorable for introducing new water mist. The COST Action C17 WG here reports on the experience this far and presents basic knowledge about water mist for the heritage community. Challenges, implications and perspectives of the technology are outlined in order to ensure the best protection of the European heritage possible. A guide on how to accept or approve of mist systems in heritage is given in the white paper (dated July 2004) from Riksantikvaren – The Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage (RNDCH).

Water Mist in Heritage Report 12 July 2004

cost

The Action made it possible to organize several technical meetings in different European venues. In the downloadble publication “CDbooklet” (produced by the Cost c17 Action) it is possible to read the list of the publications associated to the action.

CDbooklet

COST Action C17 “Built Heritage: Fire Loss to Historic Buildings” has contributed to gather a wide variety of publications about fire safety and fire risk assessment of historic buildings. In the downloadble document  Part4_Pages_267-280 (which is one of the parts of the final proceedings of the Action) it is possible to find some of the Cost C17 proceedings Associated Publications.

More on COST C17

Proceedings of the International Workshop “Built Heritage: Fire Loss to Historic Building”, which took place in Varna, Bulgaria on 9-11 September 2004

COST Action C17: “Built Heritage: Fire Loss to Historic Buildings – The Challenge before Us

European Parliament – Policy Department – Structural and Cohesion Policies

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