Moving into a new house or maintaining the current one, the first thing that comes to our minds is safety. The safety of our loved ones and homes is the first priority when looking for a home. Thus, architects and construction professionals should design homes to avoid emergencies, including gas leaks.
In this blog post, we will explore how architects and construction professionals can play their role in assuring gas safety. We will understand how these safety standards will help them safeguard their buildings and occupants and boost their business with customer satisfaction.
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Safe home is a necessity
According to a report by the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), the people of the USA and Europe spend 90% of their time indoors. And 65% out of this 90 percent is spent at home. After taking this ratio into account, there’s no doubt why the necessity of a safe and secure home takes the spotlight.
We also understand through this survey that “safety” tops the house preference list of renters and homeowners. This list also includes affordability, market value, energy efficiency, and design or construction. Therefore, (in a building or a house) safety should be the top focus of any construction professional or architect.
Among these safety concerns, gas safety is another problem that often goes unnoticed. Architects and other professionals play a vital role in ensuring the safe design, installation, and maintenance of gas equipment at home.
Paying attention to safety measures and designing while adhering to safety standards offers significant value to the house, homeowners, and renters. It delivers the opportunity for a safe and healthy life and well-being. This secure design will also impact society and market confidence.
Understanding the importance of gas safety
Gas is a commonly used fuel for cooking, heating, hot water, or a source to power other kitchen appliances. However, we underestimate the potential a gas leak has to destroy homes.
A gas leak is dangerous and can be fatal if left unnoticed. Here are a few examples of what a gas leak can do:
- Health risks: A gas leak can reduce the oxygen level in the air (even small leaks), causing health issues such as breathing difficulty, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, and headaches.
- Animal harm: A gas leak (or carbon monoxide poisoning) works the same way for animals as humans. Your pet may seem lazy, nauseous, weak, or have a change in behaviour for no solid reason. If a family member or a pet shows these symptoms, get them in a safe place outside the home and contact relevant authorities.
- Explosions: This goes without saying, but if natural gas comes in contact with any flammable substance, it may blow your home to smithereens.
- Harmful for the Environment: Carbon monoxide gas is a greenhouse gas that adds with other greenhouse gases from the earth and causes heat. Thus, a natural gas leak can add to global warming.
So, we get that gas is convenient. But with improper handling and negligence, it can be life-threatening. As a homeowner, you can get your home inspected for potential gas leaks or faulty installations by applying for a gas safety certificate today. You can visit this page to learn more about gas safety certificates and their importance.
However, for newly constructed or under-construction homes and apartments, the architect is in a position to ensure their safety. They should incorporate gas safety measures into their designs to ensure residents’ safety and reduce the risk of property damage. So, how can architects and construction professionals help with preventing gas leakage? Well, keep reading!
1# compliance with gas regulations
One of the foundations of creating a safe house is understanding the gas safety codes and regulations. These regulations may vary from region to region or one country to another:
- Local Codes: Since these safety codes and measures are particular for each area, research your local code. These regulations will include conditions and what you need for gas instalments, pipeline material, appliance connection, and maintenance procedures. This up-to-date local code will help you ensure adherence to safety measures and a safe environment.
- Engage with Gas Engineer: Get a gas-safety engineer on board to take their advice and suggestions. They are professionals with experience in ensuring the safe installation of gas appliances. Thus, they can provide valuable insights and recommendations on gas pipeline installations and safety measures for kitchens.
Architects and other professionals (included in the construction and development phase) should be familiar with the latest safety regulations of the region. This knowledge is essential to understand the safety requirements of the building. Also, failing to understand these regulations can result in fines, jail time, or health risks.
2# Planning proper ventilation
Adequate ventilation is essential to keep the clean air flowing and reduce the risk of gas accumulation:
- Natural ventilation: Natural ventilation brings beauty and fresh air together. It includes windows, vents, and other small or large openings that may connect you with the world (and allow a flow of fresh air). This ventilation will help combat poisonous gas accumulation.
- Mechanical ventilation:In such areas where openings are not possible or insufficient (such as basements, kitchens, or utility rooms), opt for mechanical ventilation. These areas have gas equipment installed and are susceptible to gas accumulation.
Ventilation is essential for continuous indoor and outdoor air exchange for easy breathing. However, architects should follow gas safety measures and suitable planning to install a ventilation system.
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3# Gas pipeline ventilation
Installing gas pipelines is not a piece of cake. It requires careful consideration and review to get a successful gas pipeline system. Architects can follow the following steps:
- Gas line pathways: Gas line installation requires precisions. Carefully create a route that saves gas lines from construction or other damages.
- Review pipe material:Gas pipeline material, joints, and fittings should adhere to the safety regulations of the region or the manufacturer’s guidelines. Using low-quality material can cause early corrosion or gas leaks.
- Pressure testing:Before letting the house for sale or rent, do a gas test to identify any weak points in installations or gas leaks.
Construction professionals should be able to determine any problems with their gas works and address them accordingly. Dealing with gas work on time will help a lot of trouble in the future.
4# Emergency shutdown systems
For emergencies, it is wise to count on an emergency shut-off system. Architects should be able to include some emergency shutdown systems in their construction designs for safety:
- Main shut-off valves: During gas leak situations, cutting the main gas flow off instead of addressing every gas appliance individually is far better. It will help save time and offer immediate closure of gas. Architects should install visible shut-off valves around the house.
- Gas detection appliancesNatural gas is colourless and odourless. Hence, gas leaks are hard to recognize. A gas detector will work for you and identify even a slight gas leak.
Install these sensors or alarms with gas appliances for early detection.
5# Maintenance and inspection
Nonetheless, gas appliances and pipelines require regular inspection and maintenance. Architects or constructors should encourage homeowners to follow routine maintenance procedures:
- Scheduled inspections: Schedule a gas safety inspection every year. These expert inspections will identify any issues and address them promptly.
- Appliance maintenance: That gas safety inspection also includes checking for gas appliances or a boiler inspection to ensure it is clean and working.
A routine inspection and maintenance will ensure that all the gas appliances and pipelines are appropriately working and safe to use.
Safety is a vital aspect in the construction of any residential or commercial area. Architectures and construction professionals are crucial for ensuring their safe design and construction.
By following the local gas code and suitable planning, they can ensure that your home is safe and support your well-being. Nonetheless, they should also educate buildings and homeowners about gas safety. They can provide gas appliance manuals for maintenance and usage guidance. Or train them to handle a gas leak situation. Identify a gas leak, take suitable action instead of panicking, and call the relevant authorities. The key takeaway is that gas safety is not a luxury but a necessity for every person.