The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises – Car Parks – Part 53

December 20, 2018 1:24 pm

In LWF’s 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 52 of this series, we looked at the provision of open-sided car parks and how it must achieve compliance with all relevant regulations. In part 53, we continue from that point by looking at car parks that are not open-sided and natural ventilation.


Where a car park does not meet the criteria laid out for an open-sided car park, a different standard of fire resistance is required. Approved Document B contains Table A2 ‘Minimum Period of Fire Resistance’ (PDF) (Page 126 of 172), which details the relevant provisions.


A car park which has been deemed ‘not open-sided’ may have some natural ventilation but will require additional means, either natural or mechanical in order to be fire safe. It should be noted that this means that all the provisions made in the previous blog post in relation to open-sided car parks also apply.


Additional natural ventilation in car parks can take the form of ventilation by permanent openings at ceiling level and at each car parking level. The aggregated free-vent area must be not less than 1/40th of the floor area of the level in question, and the ventilation should be split equally between two walls on opposite sides of the car park level. Approved Document F gives guidance on the normal ventilation of car parks.


Additional mechanical ventilation in car parks is most commonly found where the car park in question is enclosed or situated at basement level, because it would be impossible to implement the necessary level of natural ventilation openings.


A mechanical ventilation system should be independent of any other ventilation system in use at the premises and be a dedicated system for the purpose of car park smoke ventilation. It can be incorporated into a system which provides ventilation under normal circumstances in the car park. Such systems must be designed to operate at 10 air changes per hour in a fire situation. Approved Document F can provide further guidance.


The Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises blog series will continue in part 54 by continuing to explore the ventilation of car parks which are not open-sided, including the provision of further sources of guidance, before introducing the subject of the access and facilities which are required by the Fire Service upon attendance at a fire at a healthcare venue. 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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