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Heritage Buildings

Solutions for Heritage Buildings

Heritage buildings are national treasures that need to be preserved for the benefit of future generations.


Retrofitting to Improve Safety

Heritage buildings were constructed in eras where building and fire codes either didn’t exist or weren’t as rigorous as today; many heritage buildings used combustible materials extensively. Similarly, the life safety systems protecting these buildings and their occupants were limited and unlikely to meet today’s standards. Modern standards and systems need to be applied to protect historic structures, but retrofitting mustn’t damage buildings or compromise their appearance. Since every heritage building is different, performing these upgrades requires specialized expertise and experience to protect them from the ravages of fire.

Fire Safety Management in Heritage Buildings

Fire safety management is a critical aspect that should never be overlooked in heritage buildings. Due to their age and architectural design, these structures often present unique challenges regarding fire safety. As a result, it is important to have an effective fire safety management plan that considers the building’s layout, materials used, and any potential hazards. This plan should include regular inspections, training for staff and occupants, and the installation of appropriate fire suppression and detection systems to ensure adequate fire protection. By taking these steps, we can help preserve our valuable heritage buildings while protecting the safety of those who live or work within them.

Fire Safety in Old Buildings

Historic preservation plays a crucial role in the fire safety of heritage buildings. Retrofitting historic buildings while maintaining common historic features is a challenging task. It requires expertise, knowledge, and sensitivity to the historic character of the building. A written report by a registered design professional or licensed contractor and someone knowledgeable in historic preservation is necessary to start the restoration process for a historical structure. The process must adhere to fire safety standards without compromising the historic integrity of the building.


We offer a full range of fire and life safety services for heritage buildings—to learn more, please download our Solutions for Heritage Buildings info sheet. If you don’t see a particular service, please reach out—we might still be able to help you achieve your safety goals.

please reach out—we might still be able to help you achieve your safety goals.

Our property protection for historic sites include

  • Commissioning
  • Fire alarm system design
  • Sprinkler system design
  • Smoke management system design
  • Fire protection audits
  • Emergency management

For complete service descriptions, please download our Services Guide..

Specialized Expertise in Heritage Buildings Fire Safety

Heritage buildings typically have unique fire protection challenges that often need to be addressed in ways that are quite different from those used in modern structures. Several factors need to be considered when implementing fire protection measures in heritage buildings. Unlike modern buildings, historical buildings need to be preserved, which limits the types of modifications that can be done. Electrical wiring, pipework, and building materials can all pose a fire risk. If buildings have historical significance, preserving them while minimizing the risk of fire is important. This is where specialized expertise in heritage buildings fire safety, including the development of specialized historic building codes, is crucial.

PLC Fire Safety Solutions has extensive experience in retrofitting heritage buildings—our Fire Safety Engineers know how to account for the particular challenges of bringing older buildings up to modern safety standards and will work with you to achieve today’s fire and life safety goals while minimizing the impact on a site’s historical value.

What are the biggest fire safety risks for heritage buildings?

Maintaining fire safety in heritage buildings is a significant challenge due to numerous factors. The primary concerns include outdated electrical systems, insufficient fire compartments, inadequate fire suppression systems, and limited escape routes. These structures often possess historical features that can exacerbate fires and complicate modern fire safety measures. Heritage buildings are also prone to multiple fire risks, including arson, due to the materials used in their construction, such as wood and plaster, which can easily catch fire. Therefore, it is important to implement rigorous fire safety measures specifically designed for heritage buildings to preserve these valuable historical sites. Regular inspections by qualified experts are necessary to identify potential safety hazards and implement necessary precautions for risk mitigation.

Fire detection and suppression

Heritage buildings are integral to our history and culture, but they can be vulnerable to fire. Therefore, implementing proper fire suppression and detection systems can be crucial for their preservation. Fire suppression systems like sprinkler systems and fire hoses can help control the spread of fire until the arrival of firefighters. Additionally, modern fire detection systems can quickly detect a fire and alert authorities to take immediate action, preventing the rapid fire spread and minimizing damage to the building. These measures protect the heritage building and ensure the safety of the people inside it.

Preserving the fire safety of heritage buildings is a crucial issue that needs to be addressed. Due to their unique construction and design, historic buildings may pose a challenge in the event of a fire. It is essential to ensure that fire safety standards are met while preserving the cultural heritage of these buildings. To prevent and control the spread of fire, new items such as fire protection systems should be added to the compartmentation of the structure, such as self-closing doors, shafts, and dampers. Penetrations in fire-rated assemblies must also be appropriately fire-stopped. These measures will help maintain the fire safety of heritage buildings and ensure their preservation for future generations.

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How Can We Help?

We’d love to understand your fire and life safety needs to see how we can help. Please reach out to us to schedule a conversation.

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    Project Spotlight: New Brunswick Legislative Assembly

    The New Brunswick Legislative Assembly has been the seat of provincial government since it opened in 1882. The building was officially declared a protected historic site under the Historic Sites Protection Act. PLC prepared tender documents for the upgrading of the existing dry sprinkler system in the Legislative Assembly Building by replacing the older sections of the sprinkler system.

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