The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises – External Fire Spread – Part 48

November 15, 2018 1:28 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 47 of this series, LWF took a look at the use of sprinkler protection in healthcare venues and in part 48, we begin to discuss the potential for external fire spread and what precautions should be taken to avoid it.


It should be borne in mind that we proceed on the assumption that compliance with Part B of Schedule 1 of the Building Regulations 2010 is required and the requirement is stated as follows:


“The external walls of the building shall adequately resist the spread of fire over the walls and from one building to another, having regard to the height, use and position of the building.


The roof of the building shall adequately resist the spread of fire over the roof and from one building to another, having regard to the use and position of the building.”


It may be necessary for the walls or roof of a building to be fire-resistant in order to protect adjacent buildings or other parts of the same building from the spread of fire. When considering whether walls require fire-resistance, it can be ascertained by looking at the amount of space between buildings and any unprotected area within the walls.


Roofs generally do not require a level of fire-resistance. This is because a roof is the topmost barrier between the inside of the building and the outside and the general requirement to keep fire inside is not necessary or desirable. However, where a part of a building has a low roof, and this abuts an external wall of a patient-access area of the building, the relevant portions of the roof should provide fire-resistance in order to prevent the fire spreading from the roof to other parts of the same building in different compartments.


Where walls are to be protected by fire-resistance, the minimum period should be as follows:


 Height to the top floor not more than 5m = 30 minutes minimum period of fire resistance.


 Height to the top floor of more than 5m = 60 minutes minimum period of fire resistance.


The figures relate in the main to integrity and load-bearing capacity, rather than to insulation, which is normally set at a minimum of 15 minutes resistance. However, in situations where the external wall is less than 1 metre from a boundary or adjacent building, the rating for insulation must be the same as the necessary rating for integrity and load-bearing capacity.


In part 49 of this series, LWF will continue looking at External Fire Spread by discussing Space Separation. 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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