The LWF Blog

Fire Risk Assessment for Healthcare Premises – Managing Fire Safety – Part 111

October 31, 2022 12:54 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 110 of Fire Risk Assessments for Healthcare Premises, LWF discussed signs and notices and fire signs and notices. In part 111, we begin to talk about surface finishes in healthcare buildings and the potential fire hazards they present.

The finishes applied to walls and ceilings can impact on the level of fire risk in an area. The wrong type of finish can assist fire in spreading across surfaces at a rapid rate. The surface finishing itself can provide additional fuel and increase the severity and range of the fire.

Classifications are applied to surface finishes to indicate spread of flame and are rated for performance.

Class 0 is the highest product performance classification, but it’s not identified in any British Standard test. Class 0 is defined in Approved Document B of the Building Regulations.

BS 476-7 classifies surface finishes 1, 2, 3, or 4 with Class 1 being the highest in terms of performance.

The class of finish used in healthcare premises should be Class 0 or Class 1 (or corresponding BS EN classifications).

Specific locations are permitted to use Class 0 or Class 1 surface finishes in healthcare buildings. Class 0 products may be applied in circulation space walls or floors and the walls of rooms over 4m2. Class 1 products may be applied to the ceiling of rooms over 4m2 and the walls and ceiling of rooms under 4m2.

The following types of material are identified as a Class 0 product rating:

  • Any product tested as non-combustible as per BS 476-4
  • Brickwork, concrete, blockwork and ceramic tiles
  • Plasterboard (may be painted, or with a PVC facing less than 0.5mm thick) with or without an air gap, or fibrous or cellular insulating material behind
  • Wood-wool cement slabs
  • Mineral fibre tiles or sheets with cement or resin binding

The following may achieve a Class 0 rating, but must be verified by test evidence:

  • Aluminium-faced fibre-insulating boards
  • Flame-retardant decorative laminates on calcium-silicate board
  • Thick polycarbonate sheeting
  • Phenolic sheet
  • Unplasticised polyvinyl chloride (uPVC)

In Part 112 of LWF’s blog series, LWF will look at what materials for surface finishing achieve a Class 1 rating and are therefore suitable for areas of 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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