The LWF Blog

Facilities Management & Fire Safety – Fire & Rescue Service Facilities – Part 3

November 30, 2017 12:01 pm

In LWF’s blog series for those who work in Facilities Management, or who have an interest in and responsibility for fire safety, we have been looking at the requirements of the Fire Service in relation to facilities provided within a building.


In part 2, we gave an overview of such terms as fire-fighting lift, fire-fighting staircase and talked about how they can be used on a day-to-day basis within the building, only becoming for the use of firefighters when they attend a fire. In Part 3, the recommendations for building specifications will be laid out.


BS 9999:2017 – Fire safety in the design, management and use of buildings – Code of practice provides guidance on the construction and provision of fire-fighting shafts, in support of the building regulations.


It is recommended that in all buildings over 18m in height, a firefighting shaft is provided which will incorporate a fire-fighting staircase, a fire-fighting lift and a fire-fighting lobby with a rising or falling water main. This recommendation also applies to any buildings which are more than 10m below ground.


A fire-fighting shaft is also required for any shop, factory or storage building which exceeds 7.5m in height and which incorporates any floor above the ground storey that has an area of 900m2 or more. The shaft itself must contain all the elements named above, with the exception of a fire-fighting lift. This also applies to any building of that area size if there are two or more basement levels.


Buildings which exceed 11m in height will contain one or more storeys than can be reached by the ladders carried on fire appliances. Such buildings should be provided with an escape stair with an unventilated lobby (as per the requirements, it may be ventilated if the design calls for it) and a fire main.


Buildings with a large footprint may need more than one fire-fighting shaft. A shaft should be provided for every 900m2 and the distance between any point in a storey to the door of the nearest fire-fighting shaft should not exceed 60m, measured as the hose would be expected to reach. In a tall (or deep) building, all upper and lower floors should be served by the fire-fighting shaft, although this may be relaxed, dependent upon design, if sprinklers are installed.


In Part 4, we’ll look at the power supply needed to ensure a fire-fighting lift continues to work in a fire situation. In the meantime, if you have any queries about your own facilities or wish to discuss this blog series, please contact Peter Gyere in the first instance on 0208 668 8663.


Lawrence Webster Forrest is a fire engineering consultancy based in Surrey with over 25 years’ experience, which provides a wide range of consultancy services to professionals involved in the design, development and construction and operation of buildings. 


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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