The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises – Compartmentation & Protected Lobbies – Part 38

September 6, 2018 9:52 am

In LWF’s blog series for healthcare professionals, our aim is to give information on best practice of fire safety in hospitals and other healthcare premises. Recently, we have been looking at compartmentation and its use to limit the spread of fire. In part 37, the subject of sub-compartment walls was laid out, along with protected shafts. In part 38, we discuss standards relating to protected lobbies before moving on to look at fire stopping.


Where a protected shaft is in place to protect a stairway or lift, each should be provided with a protected lobby, unless the stairway or lift is situated directly off hospital street. This is to ensure that any persons attempting to access the stairway or lift are protected if they have to wait and to avoid the spread of fire or smoke from that area into another, or another area into the lobby and will ultimately help avoid smoke or fire from entering the protected shaft.


Protected lobbies cannot be located as a part of a through route. A protected lobby cannot be located across the width of the corridor where the corridor will continue after the lobby.


The dimensions for internal lobbies are provided in ‘Designing stairways, lifts and corridors in healthcare buildings (HBN 00-04)’. Amongst other recommendations, the guidance says that where swing doors are in use, a minimum clear length (clear of the area the door will swing into) should be 1.570 m for general traffic access and at least 4.100 m for bed and trolley access.


Protected lobbies should have the same level of fire-resistance as the protected shaft and should be constructed from materials of limited combustibility. They should contain no other accommodation except that allowed for protected shafts (i.e., no plant containers, seating etc.)

Fire Stopping


It should be noted that joints between fire-separating elements such as walls and floors must be fire-stopped and this should be to the same standard and duration as the fire-resistance of the parts it joins. All openings for pipes, ducts, conduits and cables should be kept as minimal as possible both in terms of how many openings are made and the size of the opening itself. Each opening must be fire-stopped and in the case of a pipe or duct, should allow thermal movement.


Guidance on passive fire protection in terms of design, installation and maintenance is available in ‘Ensuring best practice for passive fire protection in buildings’ ISBN: 1 87040 919 1, which is produced by the Association for Specialist Fire Protection.


In part 39 of this series, LWF will look at fire hazard rooms and areas. 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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