The LWF Blog

Fire Risk Assessment for Healthcare Premises – Managing Fire Safety – Part 113

November 14, 2022 12:27 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 112 of Fire Risk Assessments for Healthcare Premises, LWF looked at what materials for surface finishes achieve a Class 1 rating and are therefore suitable for areas of healthcare buildings. In part 113, we turn our attention to floor coverings and which are suitable from a fire safety point of view in healthcare buildings.

When considering the suitability of flooring for a healthcare building, it is important to take into account flammability and the potential for it to act as a source of fuel and aid the spread of a fire. HTM 61 ‘Flooring’ is referred to often as the guidance on floor finishes for hospitals, however, HTM 56, 60, 61, 64, 68 and 69 were replaced by HBN 00-10 in 2013.

Health Building Note 00-10 Part A: Flooring outlines the policy and performance requirements for flooring used in healthcare facilities. Choices in the materials and methods of construction are allowed, if they satisfy the performance requirements outlined in the HBN. It should be noted that there are specific design requirements for mental health facilities, which are outlined in Health Building Note 03-01 ‘Adult acute mental health units’.

Some flooring is not, in itself, a fire hazard, but can become one over time by virtue of the finishing products applied to it. Hardwood flooring is one case, where the finish may accumulate over time to constitute a fire hazard. A timber floor has similar issues, where wax polish is applied to the surface. In essence, therefore, the choice of floor should take into account its performance and maintenance in terms of durability and flammability.

In relation to fire resistance of flooring, HBM 00-10 Part A states,

Floor finishes are to meet the performance classifications and periods of fire resistance given in Health Technical Memorandum 05-03 Part C – ‘Textiles and furnishings’”.

It also lays out requirements for durability and surface standards. For example, it would not be acceptable to have flooring which became ‘rucked’ or damaged, meaning that there were difficulties in moving wheeled beds or wheelchairs over the surface, which would be an issue during evacuation of the building in a fire situation.

In Part 114 of LWF’s blog series, LWF will discuss fire-resisting structures. 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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