The LWF Blog

Fire Risk Assessment for Healthcare Premises – Fire Protection Measures Solutions – Part 133

April 11, 2023 10:55 am

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 132 of Fire Risk Assessments for Healthcare Premises, LWF discussed the sixth example – Delayed evacuation of very high dependency patients. In part 133, we examine the seventh example of alternative solutions given in HTM 05-03 – ‘Hospitals designed to the Nucleus standards’.

A Nucleus hospital is one which was designated as conforming to the Nucleus concept by submission to the Department of Health. A Nucleus hospital generally exhibits standard departmental designs with minor modifications which are agreed locally with the fire authority.

Some Nucleus extensions were built to existing hospitals and were classified as conforming to Nucleus principles in the same way.

Some hospitals were not designed as per HTM 05-02, but instead were designed to Nucleus principles for fire precautions. The Nucleus fire precaution strategy is based upon providing life safety not property protection.

Nucleus hospitals differ from other hospitals in seven main ways:

  • Management
  • Fire detection and alarm
  • Means of Escape
  • Fire and smoke containment
  • Smoke dispersal
  • Separation of fire hazards
  • Fire-fighting provisions

The Nucleus design allowed fire precautions to be an integral part of the hospital system. The design strategy addressed the control and containment of fire, as well as the safe evacuation of patients and other building occupants. Approved Document B and HTM 05-02 both assume that there will be only one fire at a time within the hospital complex.

The Nucleus design offers a high standard of fire safety. The fire safety measures and fire protection measures that were part of the original Nucleus design must be managed and maintained to the original standard. As built fire plans should be available for reference and to ensure adequate maintenance provision is made. As with all fire safety provisions, effective fire safety management of the site is essential.

NHS trusts with hospitals that have incorporated Nucleus fire precautions should maintain their records and drawings to inform the fire risk assessment of the premises.

Some hospitals were loosely termed ‘Nucleus-related’ and used the cruciform template for planning. However, hospitals in this class did not fully-adopt the Nucleus principles and were not designed as Nucleus by the Department of Health. The fire precautions in such hospitals were designed to comply with HTM and Nucleus fire precaution recommendations should not be used.

In Part 134 of LWF’s blog series, LWF will begin to look at the use of electronic locks on doors in healthcare buildings. 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 since 1986 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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