The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering for Healthcare Premises – Overview – Part 1

September 21, 2020 1:44 pm

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 1 of Fire Engineering for Healthcare Premises, LWF will begin to look at HTM 05-03 Part J, which is concerned with the application of fire engineering principles in healthcare premises.

Fire engineering is the application of engineering and scientific principles to protect people and property from the effects of fire. It’s often considered an alternative approach to the prescriptive building standards for fire safety and in that context, the approach is one that provides a tailor-made fire safety solution for a building. It is also regularly utilised to find solutions for design problems. Commonly, it is used alongside and in support of performance-based regulation.

HTM 05-03 Part J provides guidance on the application of fire engineering principles to the fire safety of healthcare premises. It is relevant whether a new healthcare building is being planned, a new extension, alterations, change of use into a healthcare building or for those parts of a building used as means of escape from a new part of the building.

The knowledge base underpinning the design must be constantly developed and re-evaluated to ensure faults or failures in design are avoided. A fire safety system is one where any issues may only become obvious during a fire emergency. A failure in those circumstances could be catastrophic.

It should also be noted that Part J mainly deals with the protection of life, rather than the protection of property. HTM 05-02 provides guidance on the protection of property along with the continuous provision of patient care. Where a fire engineered solution is sought, it should consider the potential impacts of both sets of guidance.

Part J and this blogged overview are intended as a reference to those interested and relevant parties, such as directors of estates and facilities in NHS trusts, healthcare fire advisers, practising fire-safety engineers, building control officials, fire prevention officers and any person with a responsibility for fire safety in a healthcare environment.

It is not intended or for use as a manual in providing solutions to fire-engineering problems during the design of a healthcare building, but rather as a guidance on where and how fire engineered solutions might be appropriate.

In LWF’s next blog – Part 2 of this series – we will look at the scope of Part J and how to approach using an alternative approach to fire safety. 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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