Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF), Fire Engineering and Fire Risk Management Consultants
Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF), Fire Engineering and Fire Risk Management Consultants



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Lawrence Webster Forrest
Legion House
Lower Road
Kenley
Surrey
CR8 5NH

Tel: +44 (0)20 8668 8663 Fax: +44 (0)20 8668 8583
E-mail: fire@lwf.co.uk

Case Study: West Middlesex University Hospital - Fire safety strategy, Fire engineering

LWF were commissioned, by developers Bouygues (UK), to develop a fully cohesive fire safety strategy for a major new-build hospital incorporating the re-development of an existing adjoining hospital wing.

The primary core of the project is a new-build acute healthcare premises contained over four storeys (levels ­01 to 03) with the lower level (basement) containing plant/services, with the remaining floors containing patient accommodation. The main entrance to the hospital is located at one extremity of the new build section and enables direct access to the hospital's main double height circulation space. This space dissects the hospital lengthways with patient accommodation positioned to either side (horizontally & vertically). The existing Medical Block, also contained over four storeys, is of a relatively square footprint and is constructed using the traditional cellular approach with means of escape to sub-compartments and from there to stairs located in a central staircase core arrangement. The block contains a mixture of both patient accommodation and staff offices. Together the buildings are to be considered integral in operational terms with the augmentation of site services.

Both the new-build and existing structure are primarily to be designed under the guidance contained within HTM 81 ­ 'Fire precautions in new hospitals'. However, of particular note is the difference between the philosophies demonstrated within the Medical Block building. NHS Estates Firecode acknowledges the merits and practicalities of permitting the use of different legislation between connecting hospital buildings where one is solely used for staff admin/offices etc. and the other is that of acute patient care (ie. the use of Approved Document B for the staff only access areas). However, the medical block building has been assessed at the next level in this approach by allowing differing standards of fire precautions to be used upon the same floors where these contain two differing types of occupation. Although this theory is not actively promoted by the NHS Firecode documentation, it is stated that their recommendations describe only one way of achieving an acceptable standard of fire safety within hospitals and that an alternative solution may be sought by adopting a fire engineering approach provided that a similar standard of fire safety is demonstrated. As such, the development of the strategy expands upon an existing, and widely accepted practice, and where any short-comings in the scheme were identified, engineering solutions were developed.

Such an innovative solution has proved both cost effective and functionally acceptable to the client, whilst still providing a satisfactory level of fire safety provision that is acceptable to the relevant authorities.

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FIRE SAFETY BLOGS

  • Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment - Firefighting & The Fire Service - Part 18

    In LWF's Fire Engineering blog series for Architects and others involved in building design, we have been looking at firefighting. In part 17, we began to look at how firefighting is undertaken by the Fire Service and their objectives and modes of operation when arriving at a fire. In part 19, tactical firefighting is discussed.While the general objectives of tactical firefighting were given in the last blog, there are various methods used by firefighters...

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  • Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises - Open-sided Car Parks - Part 52

    In LWFs blog series for healthcare professionals, the aim is to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 51 of this series, we were looking at the potential for fire spread from one area of a building to another through external surfaces, before moving on to begin to look at the necessary arrangements for car parks. In part 52, we continue on that theme by considering...

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  • Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment - Firefighting & The Fire Service - Part 17

    In LWF’s fire engineering blog series for Architects and others in the business of building design, we have been looking at firefighting. In part 16, we discussed first-aid firefighting by the occupancy and the use of hose reels to do so. In part 17, we will begin to look at firefighting from the point of view of the Fire Services.The particular objectives of the Fire Service in a given situation will be decided upon...

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  • Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises - External Fire Spread - Part 51

    In LWF’s blog series for healthcare professionals, the aim is to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 50 of this series, we discussed the potential for external fire spread including calculating unprotected areas and consideration of the surfaces of external walls and roofs. In part 51, we continue looking at external fire spread, starting with junctions of different elements.At the junction of wall and...

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General Bulletins

Fire - The External Risk
When we consider fire safety, our focus is normally from within, what can we do to prevent the occurrence of fire and how we can limit its damage.  Whilst this is the correct stance to take, we m...

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Technical Bulletins

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Evacuation of buildings can be analyzed in different ways. Approved Document B (ADB) which provides guidance on meeting the requirements of the England and Wales Building Regulations with regard to fi...

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