The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment – Firefighting – Part 64

October 21, 2019 1:18 pm

In LWF’s Fire Engineering blog series for Architects and others involved in building design, we have been looking at the provisions which should be made for firefighting activities. In part 63, LWF began a general overview of firefighting in relation to building design and provision for firefighters. In part 64, we continue from that point.

One element of fire safety provision remains constant, whether the building is small and has low staffing levels or a high-rise with high occupancy levels. The means of escape provided should be such that people can make their own way unaided to a place of safety and that people with mobility issues or who need help can remain in a place of relative safety until they can be assisted with their escape to a place of ultimate safety.

A Fire Service Pumping Appliance should be able to stop within approx. 20 metres of each fire attack access door to a building, and within sight of the access door.

With regards to the distance the firefighters must travel into the compartment of fire origin, a reasonable fixed figure is 50 metres, and that distance will determine the number of firefighting shafts needed.

For buildings with a floor up to 18 metres above Fire Service access level, it is recommended that one or more firefighting shafts are provided and should comprise a protected staircase without a firefighting lobby.

In buildings with a floor over 18 metres above Fire Service access level, at least one firefighting shaft should be provided and it/they should consist of a protected staircase and a firefighting lift, with access available to the accommodation through a firefighting lobby.

In the case of buildings which have basement levels, one or more firefighting shafts should be provided with each comprising a protected staircase with access gained to the accommodation through a firefighting lobby.

Consideration is required in relation to the floor areas of the firefighting lobbies. Lobbies should be large enough to enable the Fire Service adequate room to commence their operations, however the lobby should not be so big that it is likely to be used for ad-hoc storage, which introduces risk to what is required to be a ‘fire sterile’ space.

In part 65, LWF will continue discussing the provisions which should be made in buildings for firefighting activities. 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 the LWF office on 0800 410 1130.

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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