Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF), Fire Engineering and Fire Risk Management Consultants
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Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment - Firefighting & External Water Supplies - Part 22

Posted by LWF: 10/01/2019 12:48

In LWFs fire engineering blog series for Architects and others involved in building design, we have been looking at the subject of firefighting. In part 21, the issue of whether a building needs to supply a source of water for the Fire Service to use upon attending a fire was discussed. In part 22, we continue looking at the regulations dealing with water hydrants.

In the UK, BS 5306:1 was published in 1976 (and withdrawn and updated in 2006, replaced by BS 5306:1-2006 and BS 9990:2006 and dealt with water hydrant systems. It recommended that fire hydrants are installed on a ring fire main system and are positioned not more than 70 metres from an entry point of any building on site and not more than 150 metres apart from each other. They should be no closer than 6 metres to the building.

In 2002, following a study, the Local Government Association and Water UK produced a document titled ‘National guidance document on the provision of water for fire fighting’ (PDF) which linked flow rates of water in litres per second to differing structures. It showed that there were significant variations in flow rate even within the same structure groups. It went on to say that if the water supply is not in the control of the building owner (e.g. an owned lake) it is only the water undertaking which can vary the flow from a main.

Another source from the UK – Approved Document B in subsection 15.7 states:

‘Where a building, which has a compartment of 280 m2 in area, is being erected more than 100 metres from an existing fire hydrant, additional hydrants should be provided as follows:

(a) Buildings provided with fire mains - hydrants should be provided within 90 m of dry fire main inlets.

(b) Buildings not provided with fire mains - hydrants should be provided within 90 m of an entry point to the building and not more than 90 m apart.

The implication is that the building owner should arrange and pay for the hydrants as indicated, although it must, once again, be noted that there is no legal requirement for a building owner to provide water sources for fire-fighting by the Fire Service.

LWF’s discussion about issues surrounding fire hydrants and the provision of them will continue in part 23 of this series. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this blog, or wish to discuss your own project with one of our fire engineers, please contact us. 

Lawrence Webster Forrest has been working with their clients for over 25 years to produce innovative and exciting building projects. If you would like further information on how LWF and fire strategies could assist you, please contact Peter Gyere on 020 8668 8663.

While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF's publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.

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