The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering for Healthcare Premises – The use of fire engineering – Part 8

November 11, 2020 11:16 am

In LWF’s blog series for healthcare professionals, our aim is to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 7 of Fire Engineering for Healthcare Premises, LWF considered the advantages and disadvantages of fire safety engineering, before beginning to discuss fire engineering in the context of healthcare premises. In part 8, we will continue to look at where and how fire engineering might be used in healthcare buildings, before discussing fire engineering issues.

Fire engineered solutions in healthcare are most commonly found in new hospitals incorporating non-standard layouts, large developments or buildings with atria. Fire engineering is also useful particularly in non-standard healthcare buildings like university hospitals, ambulatory care and diagnostic centres and treatment centres.

While less common, due to the challenges of retrospectively addressing fire protection methods, some of which may relate to the building fabric, fire engineering can be used in existing hospitals, particularly in instances where compliance with Firecode is impossible, or where such compliance would be overly costly. The premises most commonly falling into this category include high-rise hospitals, hospitals on restricted sites and healthcare premises designed for older people and persons with mental health problems.

The efficacy of a fire engineered solution will be based upon equivalency and how it fulfils the requirements set out by the prescriptive codes.
The fire engineering process involves a qualitative design review, an assessment of the design and the presentation of sufficient detail to undertake a quantitative analysis. These elements were laid out in more detail in previous parts of this blog series.

The design fires should be clearly outlined as an important part of any fire safety engineered design. Steady state fires are assumed to encompass all fires up to the size of the design for an indefinite time. Transient fires will have a realistic growth phase and are required to allow the design team to calculate a reasonable to time to detection and values of Available Safe Egress Time (ASET) – the amount of time as a maximum that building designers have allowed for occupants to evacuate to a place of safety.

In Part 9 of LWF’s blog series, LWF will look at fire growth in terms of the heat release rate and the laws of thermodynamics. 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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