The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises – Access & Facilities for the Fire Service – Part 58

January 23, 2019 12:16 pm

In LWFs blog series for healthcare professionals, the aim is to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. In part 57 of this series, LWF looked at what access and facilities must be provided for the Fire Service attending a fire at a healthcare venue. In part 58, we will continue from that point by looking at the number and location of fire-fighting shafts required in those healthcare buildings not provided with a hospital street.


When considering the requirements for fire-fighting shafts in healthcare buildings, there are differences between those floors above ground and below ground, whether or not the areas have sprinkler protection and the area and depth/height. Full information can be gained from Table 11 on page 63 of HTM 05-02.


Where a fire-fighting shaft is required to serve basement level floors, it may not be required to service upper floors, above ground, unless they also require a shaft in their own right. The opposite is also true in that where a fire-fighting shaft is required for floors above ground level, the shaft does not have to continue down to serve basement levels unless those levels require the use of a shaft.


However, a fire-fighting lift and staircase should service all intermediate storeys between the highest and lowest storeys served.


It would not be correct to only have a firefighting shaft serving, for instance, above ground floors 1, 3 and 4. In the case where it is required on levels 1 and 4, it must be provided on all floors in between too.


Fire-fighting stairways and lifts should always be approached via a fire-fighting lobby inside the building. Such areas are constructed to ensure that fire cannot encroach into the lift shaft or into the fire-fighting stairway through fire-resistant construction, effectively creating its own compartment.


Fire-fighting shafts must be equipped with fire mains which have outlet connections and valves in every fire-fighting lobby area, with the exception of at ground/access level. Each fire-fighting shaft which includes a fire-fighting lift must also include within the shaft the lift car, the lift well and the lift machinery space, together with the lift control system and the lift communications system. There would be little point encasing the lift itself in the protected shaft if the means to make it work were left outside and in potential danger from the fire.


In part 59, LWF will continue to look at the design and construction of fire-fighting shafts 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 for over 25 years to produce innovative and exciting building projects. If you would like further information on how LWF and fire strategies could assist you, please contact Peter Gyere on 020 8668 8663.


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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