The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering for Healthcare Premises – Examples of Fire-Engineered Healthcare – Part 75

February 28, 2022 12:55 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 74 of Fire Engineering for Healthcare Premises, LWF began to look at the case of a temporary structure integrated into a high-rise hospital for an endoscopy unit. In part 75, we continue to discuss this project by considering the second and third options for a fire-engineered solution.

The use of a temporary structure to house an endoscopy unit at a high-rise hospital was proposed. The structure would be supported by a temporary steel structure allowing the unit to be adjacent to the building on the seventh floor. Several fire engineered strategies were proposed to protect the structure from fire. The first involved protecting the tower with a proprietary fire-resistance system enclosing the tower, it would be an expensive option.

The second option was based on the rooms which would have openings (windows) on the side adjacent to the tower and which were the likely sources of fire exposure to the tower. They were assessed and surveyed. It was ascertained that if 6 mm thick-wired Georgian glass was used, it would provide 60 minutes’ fire protection. This would mean, in essence, that the steel tower structure would not be exposed to excessive heat or flame through the openings for a sufficient amount of time for the Fire Service to attend and control the fire.

The time allowed would also be sufficient to allow the occupants of the endoscopy unit to evacuate through the main building.

The third option concentrated on the frequency of fires in the year the structure was constructed. It was suggested that if the new structure was fitted with an extension of the existing fire alarm system, then evacuation from the endoscopy unit could be achieved in less than three minutes. This would mean, in essence, that the steel tower could remain unprotected.

While this option would mean that it was fire safe from the point of view of the occupants – they would make a safe escape, it would still mean that the tower could collapse with the potential to harm people at ground level and to hamper the Fire Service’s operations.

Additionally, although this was not a fire safety consideration, but a commercial and service-based one, the endoscopy unit would be lost if the tower were to collapse.

The second of the three options was chosen as the most appropriate for the project. The 6 mm Georgian wired glass was installed in each of the facing openings to the tower. It was chosen because of its suitability, cost and also, bearing in mind that temporary structures employed for a year are often in use beyond that time.

In Part 76 of LWF’s blog series, LWF will begin to look at the available guidance on fire risk assessments in complex healthcare premises, as per HTM 05-03. 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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