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Fire Safety in the Digital Age: Understanding BS 8644 and Regulation 38.

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the construction and fire safety industries have been under intense scrutiny. The introduction of BS 8644-1 (July 2022) and the enforcement of Regulation 38 under the Building Regulations 2010 represent significant steps towards improving fire safety management and compliance.

BS 8644-1: Digital Management of Fire Safety Information

BS 8644-1 is a British Standard that provides guidance on managing fire safety information digitally throughout the lifecycle of a building asset. It was developed to bridge the gap between fire safety and information management sectors, ensuring that a ‘golden thread’ of information is maintained from design and construction to handover, asset management, and emergency response.

The standard encourages familiarity with the BS EN ISO 19650 series, which outlines the international standards for managing information over the whole life cycle of a built asset using Building Information Modelling (BIM). BS 8644-1 applies to all parts of the built environment sector and is crucial for both new developments and existing built assets.

Regulation 38: Fire Safety Information

Regulation 38 is part of the Building Regulations 2010 for England and Wales. It requires the person carrying out construction work to provide fire safety information to the responsible person no later than the date of completion of the work or the date of occupation of the building, whichever is earlier. This regulation ensures that critical information necessary for the life safety of people using or working near the building in the event of a fire is communicated effectively.

Importantly, the meaning of ‘Responsible Person’ is detailed in Article (3) of the Regulatory Reform (fire safety) Order 2005’, known as the ‘Fire Safety Order’.

The regulation aims to ensure that the responsible person has sufficient information to:

  • Understand and implement the fire safety strategy of the building.
  • Maintain any fire safety systems provided in the building.
  • Carry out an effective fire risk assessment of the building.
  • The Importance of Compliance

Compliance with BS 8644-1 and Regulation 38 is not just a legal requirement but a moral one. It ensures that relevant, accurate, and accessible fire safety information is available to the right people at the right time. This can significantly reduce the level of business disruption and property loss caused by fire.

Furthermore, the digital management of fire safety information facilitates better coordination among various stakeholders involved in a building’s lifecycle. It promotes a culture of safety and accountability, which is essential for preventing future fire-related disasters.

Who should be contributing towards BS 8644 and Reg 38

This is not an exhaustive list, but highlights many of the parties responsible for providing fire safety information such as:

  • Architects
  • BIM Coordinators
  • Building Occupants
  • Building Services Engineers
  • Clients
  • Construction Contractors
  • Designers
  • Facility Managers
  • Fire & Rescue Services
  • Fire Engineers
  • Information Managers


The digital management of fire safety information, as outlined in BS 8644-1, along with the compliance to Regulation 38, represents a shift in how the construction industry approaches fire safety. By adopting these standards, the industry can ensure a safer built environment and mitigate the risks associated with fire, thereby protecting lives and properties.

This article provides a brief overview of BS 8644 and Regulation 38, emphasizing their roles in enhancing fire safety in the construction industry. By adhering to these regulations, the industry can move towards a more secure and compliant future.

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