The LWF Blog

Fire Risk Assessment for Healthcare Premises – Managing Fire Safety – Part 118

December 19, 2022 1:03 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 117 of Fire Risk Assessments for Healthcare Premises, LWF considered elements of structure and fire resistance and sandwich panels. In part 118, we continue talking about sandwich panels.

As mentioned in the previous blog in this series, the core of a sandwich panel can vary from non-combustible to very highly-combustible and it’s difficult to identify the material that makes up the panel’s central core (once the panel is in-situ – panels are labelled and differentiated prior to purchase). For this reason, any potential additional risk should be mitigated by operating in terms of best practice:

  • The storage of any highly-combustible materials near the panels is to be avoided
  • Heating appliances should not be installed adjacent to the panels
  • Potential sources of ignition close to the panels should be controlled or removed
  • Any damage to panels and sealed joints should be repaired immediately
  • Ensure jointing compounds and gaskets used around the edges of panels are maintained
  • Openings in panels for doors, windows, cables and ducts are sealed effectively
  • Check regularly for damage caused by day-to-day wear and tear or collisions
  • Do not place any load weight from storage or equipment, for example, unless the panels have been designed to perform a load-bearing function

It is essential that panels used in healthcare buildings are installed by a competent installer in accordance with industry guidance.

Where possible, any panels installed should be those with a non-combustible core, as use of panels with combustible cores can impact upon the fire risk assessment and any increased risk resulting will need to be mitigated, or the panels removed/replaced.

Health Technical Memorandum 05-02 contains further guidance on insulated core panels and their use in healthcare buildings. It also gives information on the panel-labelling scheme.

In Part 119 of LWF’s blog series, LWF will begin to discuss external envelope protection and how this might impact a healthcare building in close proximity to adjacent 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.

Share this post