The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment – Firefighting & External Water Supplies – Part 23

January 17, 2019 1:03 pm

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 22, we gave information on some of the regulations and guidance documents which deal with the issue of provision of fire hydrants. In part 23, we continue from that point by looking at who should provide them and where they should be placed in relation to the building.


The Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004, which applies to England and Wales (with similar acts applying to Scotland and Northern Ireland),  states that the Fire and Rescue Authority must secure an adequate supply of water in the event of a fire. The requirement for hydrants may be a public requirement or in some instances where hydrants are deemed to be a private main, this is likely to affect who is responsible for the cost of the hydrant provision.


Neither Approved Document B (referenced in part 22) or The Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 differentiate between hydrants which are on private land or those which are placed on public land.


Realistically, the Fire Service have a standard policy that they will not meet the expense of providing water supplies for special premises which are out of proportion to the remainder of risk in an area. It would therefore be usual for hydrants on private land to be funded by the developer or owner.


BS 9999:2017 – Fire safety in the design, management and use of buildings. Code of practice deals with guidance on water hydrants in a general way. It recommends that hydrants should be placed close to building entry points, including those entry points which are firefighting shafts containing water mains, and fire appliance parking positions. Further, it says that water mains and hydrants should be capable of delivering a sufficient flow of water to enable firefighting to be effective.


BS 9999 also recommends that any relevant water legislation for the area is referenced and early consultation with the relevant water authority, fire and rescue service and building control body should be undertaken about the nature of the water supply and quantities or capacity that might be required.


Part 24 of this blog series will continue looking at those standards which are recommended for water hydrants and how the locations of water hydrants can be decided upon within the bounds of the guidance offered. 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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