Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF), Fire Engineering and Fire Risk Management Consultants
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Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises - Sprinklers - Part 47

Posted by LWF: 08/11/2018 11:17

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 46 of this series, we looked at the tank arrangement for sprinkler systems and how each pump should be arranged to draw water from either tank, so that any one tank or pump can be isolated. In part 47, we continue from that point on the subject of sprinkler systems.

Sprinkler water supplies should, generally speaking, not be used as connections for other services or other fixed fire-fighting systems. Such additional demands on the resource could mean that the sprinkler cannot operate efficiently or at all.
In patient-access areas, the sprinkler system should be a life safety system and as such should be fitted with quick response heads, as per the Fire Protection Association’s ‘LPC sprinkler rules with BS EN12845 combo’ document.

It should be noted that in HTM 05-02, the pre-combination document is the suggested resource.

Where sprinklers are used in some areas, but not in others, those non-sprinklered areas must be separated from the sprinkler installed areas by 60 minute fire-resisting construction (integrity and insulation).

Where sprinklers are installed in parts of a healthcare building, there can be an effect on the provision of other fire precautions and this should be considered in the spirit of cost effectiveness. The addition of sprinklers as per the FPA guidance document, above, can allow modification of the usual requirements as sprinklers are designed to operate at a very early stage of fire development.

Subject to a suitable fire risk assessment and the inclusion of a sprinkler system, other systems and areas of fire protection and fire safety which may be addressed are:

- Progressive horizontal evacuation
- Glazing in sub-compartment walls
- Elements of structure
- Compartmentation
- Fire hazard rooms and areas
- External fire spread
- Number and location of fire-fighting shafts

All proposed changes must be taken into account in the overall fire safety design of the building and approved by all relevant parties including but not limited to local authority planning, fire engineers, architect and design team, insurers etc. All risk assessment details and conclusions must be recorded in the log book and supported by evidence.

In part 48 of this series, LWF will begin to look at the potential for external fire spread and what steps should be taken to ensure this cannot happen. 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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