The LWF Blog

Fire Safety Engineering for Design – Designing Fire Precautions – Part 33

June 14, 2021 11:49 am

LWF’s Fire Safety Engineering blog series is written for Architects, building designers and others in the construction industry to highlight and promote discussion on all topics around fire engineering. In part 32, LWF looked at the fire precautions used in domestic dwellings with emphasis on fire safety in high-rise buildings. In part 33, we will consider fire protection in institutional residential buildings.

An institutional residential building is likely to have various factors which should be taken into account when planning fire safety.

There will be a high life risk, as multiple occupants will be on site at any time. In addition, the occupants may be asleep. The institutional residential building is likely to have a purpose which will affect the typical occupancy; it may be that the residents are infirm or have mobility or sensory impairments.

Structural fire protection, such as compartmentation is necessary along with active fire protection measures such as fire detection systems.

There is, generally speaking, a well-established and consistent fire load and trained staff are likely to be on site.

When considering fire precautions for institutional residential buildings, the guidance provides sub-divisions, as follows:

Group A relates to premises designed to house people with infirmities, including healthcare premises.

Group B is for properties which are more likely to house able-bodied persons, such as hotels and guest houses, although it should be borne in mind that a typical occupant in this category cannot be assumed to be able-bodied and facilities should be designed to cater for all types of occupant.

Fire precautions for Group A premises require greater controls than Group B and these are likely to involve progressive horizontal evacuation procedures, compartmentation and a fire detection system designed to minimise the number of false alarms.

In healthcare premises in particular, care must be taken to ensure compartmentation is maintained to a high standard and not compromised in any way, due to the amount of piped and wired services between compartments. The integrity of each compartment helps to ensure fire and smoke/hot gases cannot pass between areas for a set amount of time, which should be sufficient for the Fire Service to attend and put out the fire.

In part 34 of LWF’s series on fire engineering, we will continue discussing fire precautions in residential institutional buildings. 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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