Many of us grew up singing this popular nursery rhyme without giving much thought to its origins or meaning. If the history books are correct, then this children’s playground song was a result of one of Britain’s greatest tragedy’s.
The Great Fire of London swept through the City in September 1666. The record books will identify that as many as 13,200 houses were lost in the fire in addition to 87 parish churches, St Pauls Cathedral and most of the City authorities. Of the estimated 80,000 people who resided within London, 70,000 are suggested to have lost their homes.
The origin of the fire is believed to be traced to a bakery within Pudding Lane. However, the real fault of the fire lay not with the location of the ignition, but with the design and construction of London in the 1600’s. Many of the buildings and structures were constructed using timber with thatch roofs. In addition to these extremely combustible materials, the buildings were erected within direct proximity to one another, often within narrow, winding alleys. The City was described as “unplanned and make shift which was the result of organic growth and unregulated urban sprawl”.
The Building Surveyor
The result of the tragedy was the introduction of regulations to prevent a repeat incident. Along with Architects and Engineers, the Building Surveying profession helped implement design guidelines to ensure buildings were safe and fit for purpose.
Over the years, materials and building methods have changed considerably from dangerous combustible materials to masonry, concrete and steel which frequent our skylines today. Setbacks between buildings and boundaries are strictly regulated, as is fire rated construction associated with buildings within close proximity.
The role of the Building Surveyor has expanded greatly since this inception. Today’s Building Surveyor takes a more holistic approach to the health and safety of a buildings occupier. A building must be energy efficient, it must be structurally sound and it must safe and useable for people who frequent the building.
A Building Surveyor has extensive knowledge of the Building Code of Australia and over 90 Australian, New Zealand and international Standards which are applicable to the compliant construction of a building or structure.
If you are interested in further details on the design requirements in relation to fire safety of a building or any other service undertaken by the Building Surveyor, please feel free to drop us a line.
The Australian Institute of Building Surveyors (AIBS) recently released a special feature on the ‘The Birth of Building Surveying’. Follow the link if you are interested to learn more.