The LWF Blog

Fire Risk Assessment for Healthcare Premises – Managing Fire Safety – Part 114

November 21, 2022 12:55 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 113 of Fire Risk Assessments for Healthcare Premises, LWF looked at floor coverings and which are suitable from a fire safety point of view in healthcare buildings. In part 114, we discuss fire-resisting structures.

Fire hazard rooms and areas should be identified based on the following:

  • Sources of fuel that may be present
  • Sources of ignition that may be present
  • Sources of oxygen that may be present (beyond breathable air)

The potential resulting hazards should be identified and methods to eliminate or reduce (to a level as low as reasonably possible (ALARP)).

The process of identification should be subject to the checklist detailed in HTM 05-03 which asks specific questions relating to the potential hazards, such as if the room activity involves processes such as cooking, welding or frictional heat.

Fire hazard rooms should be enclosed in fire-resisting construction to ensure the additional risk they pose is not extended to other areas and would therefore constitute a serious fire hazard. Where enclosure in fire-resisting construction is not possible or desirable, the risk may be mitigated by use of an automatic fire-suppression system, such as sprinklers.

Any non-patient area of complex healthcare premises which presents as a hazard due to fires starting outside the assessment area should not be within the same compartment as an assessment area.

In addition, where dependent or very high dependency patients are to be housed in a compartment adjoining a non-patient access area (either horizontally or vertically), it may be necessary to implement additional fire precautions and measures. In certain circumstances, the adjacency may not be permissible. Further information on these circumstances can be found in Table 1 of HTM 05-02.

An assessment area should have boundaries which are compartment or sub-compartment walls. A compartment should have a fire-resisting floor with a minimum period of fire resistance of 60 minutes. The compartment should be entirely contained in fire-resisting construction of 60 minutes duration to avoid the potential of fire spread into that area from an adjacent area, or out of that area should a fire start within.

In Part 115 of LWF’s blog series, LWF will continue to discuss compartmentation and the requirements for 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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