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Fire Safety for Facilities Management Personnel – Means of Escape – Part 128

December 13, 2021 12:47 pm

Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF) is a specialist fire engineering and fire risk management consultancy whose aim is to give information on best practice in fire safety for facilities management personnel through this blog series. In parts 126 and 127, LWF discussed means of escape and stage one and two of the three stages of escape. In part 128, we will continue by looking at the requirements for dead-end corridors, as part of stage two of the three stages of escape.

Stage 2: Travel to a storey exit

Dead-end Corridors

All requirements given for any other corridor will also apply to dead-end corridors, but because of the increased fire safety risk of a corridor with only one possible exit, some additional requirements are necessary:

  • The corridor must always be a protected route. This means all doors opening onto the corridor should be fire-resisting, smoke-resistant and self-closing.
  • Enclosing walls and partitions should be fire-resisting and extend from slab to slab and through any false ceiling or floor.
  • A limited travel distance applies.
  • At the point of travel where alternative means of escape is reached, each alternative should be separated from the other by fire-resisting, self-closing doors resistant to the passage of smoke.
  • Dead-end corridors must not contain any ignition sources, fire hazards or combustible materials. They should also be kept clear of any obstructions.

Open Plan Areas

Open plan areas are subject to a number of requirements to ensure safety to occupants during evacuation due to fire.

  • A travel distance limitation should be applied.
  • Adequate exit capacity for the number of occupants should be provided, assuming one exit is impassable.
  • The 45 degree rule applies.
  • It is always preferable that exit doors open in the direction of escape and where there are a significant number of persons (e.g. 60 or more), or where rapid fire growth is possible, this is obligatory.
  • The flammability of wall and ceiling linings is usually restricted.

It should be noted that a fire engineered solution may be employable to vary certain aspects of the requirements, often involving the use of sprinkler systems or other fire suppression systems.

In part 129 of this series, LWF will begin to look at Stage 3 of the three stages of escape – vertical travel down a stairway. In the meantime, if you have any queries about your own facilities or wish to discuss this blog series, please contact LWF on freephone 0800 410 1130.

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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