The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Healthcare Premises – Internal Fire Spread – Part 30

July 12, 2018 2:25 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 29 of this series, we looked at plant areas and how they should be designed with safe evacuation in mind. In part 30, we discuss the potential for fire to spread through internal walls and how this should be avoided.


The standards with regards to internal fire spread through linings are to be compliant with Part B of Schedule 1 of the Building Regulations 2010, which state:


Internal fire spread (linings)




(1) To inhibit the spread of fire within the building, the internal linings shall:


a. Adequately resist the spread of flame over their surfaces; and


b. Have, if ignited, a rate of heat release of a rate of fire growth which is reasonable in the circumstances.


(2) In this paragraph “internal linings” means the materials or products used in lining any partition, wall, ceiling or other internal surface.


The surface finish of a wall or ceiling can worsen a fire situation by contributing to the spread of fire. A finish may allow the rapid surface spread of flame which makes a fire difficult to control, providing additional fuel and increasing both the area and the severity of the fire.


All surface finishes which can be tested effectively for ‘surface spread of flame’ are rated for performance as follows:


Small rooms (no more than 4m2) have national classification 1 and European classification of C-s3,d2.


Circulation spaces have national classification 0 and European classification B-s3,d2.


Other rooms have national classification 0 and European classification B-s3,d2.


The limitations on surface finishes do not apply to:


Demountable sanitary back panels, commonly used in health premises to provide access for maintenance behind washbasins, toilets, showers etc.




Rooms providing a specialist function where other functional criterion dictate the surface finish.


The national classifications do not equate automatically with their European counterparts, therefore products cannot assume a European class based upon the national classification, unless they have been tested accordingly.


When a European classification includes S3,d2, as all the classifications above do, there is no set limit for smoke production and/or flaming droplets or particles.


Roof lights should also meet the requirements laid out in the classifications above, with the exception of plastic roof lights with a Class 3 rating for surface spread, which may be used, with some limitations which will be laid out in Part 31 of this series where the issue of Thermoplastic materials will also be discussed.


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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