The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering for Healthcare Premises – Examples of Fire-Engineered Healthcare – Part 73

February 14, 2022 1:48 pm

LWF’s blog series for healthcare professionals aims to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 72 of Fire Engineering for Healthcare Premises, LWF began to discuss the case of an atrium as the centre of a district general hospital. In Part 73 we will continue discussing the fire design for an atrium as the centre of a district general hospital by looking at powered ventilation option B.

Three fire-engineered options were prepared and considered for the design, as an alternative to the prescriptive guidance methods available.

The third option of powered ventilation for the atrium at the centre of a district general hospital was named powered ventilation option B (it being the second of two powered ventilation designs). It proposed a mechanical smoke-extraction system be fitted to the atrium to extract smoke. The system would ensure that the smoke layer was continually no more than 3 metres above the floor of the atrium and would keep the smoke temperature at less than 200oC.

As this smoke control solution would allow the smoke layer to descend past the upper-storey windows of the atrium, the windows would be required to have fire-resistant glazing and only be operable by the Fire Service. The glazing would be required to withstand 200oC as a minimum. The air-inlet area would be located on the ground floor and the air-inlet speed in escape doorways must not exceed 5 ms.

For all the options provided – a) the sterile tube; b) powered smoke ventilation option A; and c) powered smoke ventilation option B – a high degree of quantification was provided in support of each strategy, which allowed for a full assessment of each method to determine the level of protection offered by each.

While HTM 05-03 does not reveal which fire-engineered solution was adopted for the project, it does illustrate that there were three viable alternatives enabling the design team to construct the healthcare building as per the architect design in a fire safe manner, even though the initial design would have been deemed unsuitable or impractical if the prescriptive guidance had to be followed.

In Part 74 of LWF’s blog series, LWF will begin to consider the case laid out in HTM 05-03 of a temporary structure integrated into a high-rise hospital for an endoscopy unit. 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 LWF on freephone 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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