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Fire Engineering for Healthcare Premises – Examples of Fire-Engineered Healthcare – Part 74

February 21, 2022 1:39 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 73 of Fire Engineering for Healthcare Premises, LWF discussed the case of an atrium as the centre of a district general hospital. In Part 74, we will begin to consider the case of a temporary structure integrated into a high-rise hospital for an endoscopy unit.

Budget and time constraints sometimes mean that a temporary solution has to be found to a healthcare site problem. In this example, the hospital site needed to be extended to include an endoscopy unit. The proposed solution was a prefabricated unit situated adjacent to the existing building on the 7th floor. The prefab would be mounted on top of a temporary steel tower and would need to suffice for a period of a year, after which a more permanent solution would be provided.

The steel structure built was sited 450 mm away from the existing hospital structure, with the base sited on split levels in the service yard of the hospital. From a fire safety point of view, the overriding issue was the potential for fire to break out on a floor of the existing hospital building and, through window apertures, to affect the stability of the steel tower structure.

Three fire engineered strategies were developed and proposed, based upon a time equivalent method to mitigate the hazard. They were:

  • Protect the exposed steel structure of the tower
  • Wired Georgian glass to be fitted to all windows at levels overlooking the steel structure
  • No change to protection offered, but an early warning fire alarm so that the endoscopy unit could be evacuated quickly

The steel structure itself had an inherent fire resistance of less than 18 minutes without any of the changes being implemented. This means that the structure had the potential for instability after only a short period of exposure to fire. While steel structures can be reinforced to resist fire through a proprietary fire-resistance system, it was deemed too costly for a temporary structure.

In Part 75 of LWF’s blog series, LWF will look at how each of the fire engineered strategies was considered and which, ultimately, was chosen. 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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